Art, education, and humanities

Mouse Model for Analyzing the Hepatocarcinogenic Function of Astrocyte Flevated Gene-1 (AEG-1)

The technology

The Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) has been extensively documented to associate with tumor pathogenesis and has been identified as a potential marker for a multitude of cancers. Overexpression of AEG-1 has been shown in tumors afflicting a myriad of organs and is indicative of very aggressive cancers. Of cancers, AEG-1 is expressed in 90% of all hepatocarcinomas. While human HCC cell lines expressing AEG-1 exist, they are only effective to study the mediation of gene and protein expression in vitro. Currently, there is no means for studying AEG-1 expression and its effects in vivo.

VCU researchers have developed a transgenic mouse selectively expressing the human AEG-1 oncogene in the liver. Upon induction, AEG-1 expression is shown to induce significant tumor formation in the liver. In a comparison study, all seventeen AEG-1 expressing mice exhibited numerous tumors of increased size, while only two of eleven wild type (WT) mice showed very small nodules. Therefore, researchers are able to selectively express human AEG-1 in a manner similar to the aggressive phenotypes exhibited in human patients. This new line of transgenic mice provides a novel model for studying the effects of AEG-1 expression in vivo as well as study the effects of new therapies designed to treat hepatocarcinomas.