A prolonged and exaggerated wound response with elevated ODC activity mimics early tumor development

Candace S. Hayes, Karen DeFeo, Hong Dang, Carol S. Trempus, Rebecca J. Morris, Susan K. Gilmour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Induction of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), a key enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis, in ODC transgenic skin stimulates epidermal proliferation but not hyperplasia, activates underlying stromal cells and promotes skin tumorigenesis following a single subthreshold dose of a carcinogen. Because chronic wounds are a well-recognized risk factor for skin cancer, we investigated the response to a tissue remodeling event in normal skin that is abraded to remove only the epidermal layer in K6/ODC transgenic (follicular ODC expression) and in inducible ODCER transgenic mice (suprabasal ODC expression). When regenerative epidermal hyperplasia was resolved in normal littermates following abrasion, ODC transgenic mice exhibited progressive epidermal hyperplasia with formation of benign tumor growths and maintained an increased epidermal proliferation index and activation of translation-associated proteins at abrasion sites. The epidermal hyperplasia and tumor-like growth was accompanied by activation of underlying stromal cells and prolonged infiltration of inflammatory cells. Treatment with the anti-inflammatory agent dexamethasone did not reduce the high proliferative index in the regenerated epidermis but dramatically reduced the epidermal hyperplasia and prevented the woundinduced tumor growths in abraded ODCER skin. Treatment with α-difluoromethylornithine, a specific inhibitor of ODC activity, normalized the wound response in transgenic mice and decreased wound-induced inflammation if administered from the time of abrasion but not if initiated 4 days following abrasion. These results suggest a role for polyamines in prolonging wound-associated inflammation in addition to stimulating proliferation both of which are sufficient to sustain epidermal hyperplasia and benign tumor growth even in the absence of genetic damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1340-1348
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


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