Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR

Acetylated histone H4 is reduced in human gastric adenomas and carcinomas.

PMID 12385581


Acetylation of core histones is closely linked to transcriptional activation of various genes. The acetylation levels of nucleosomal histones can be modified through a balance of histone acetyltransferases and deacetylases. To elucidate the role of histone acetylation in human gastric carcinogenesis, we studied the status of histone H4 acetylation in gastric carcinoma tissues and corresponding non-neoplastic mucosa. The status of histone acetylation was assessed by examining the expression of acetylated histone H4 through Western blotting and immunohistochemistry using an anti-acetylated histone H4 antibody. The levels of acetylated histone H4 expression were obviously reduced in 72% (13/18) of gastric carcinomas in comparison with non-neoplastic mucosa by Western blotting. In immunohistochemistry, acetylated histone H4 was clearly detected in the nuclei of both non-neoplastic epithelial and stromal cells, whereas the levels of acetylated histone H4 were heterogeneous or reduced in 66% (38/57) of gastric carcinomas and 46% (6/13) of gastric adenomas. Reduced expression of acetylated histone H4 was also observed in some areas of intestinal metaplasia adjacent to carcinomas. Reduction in the expression of acetylated histone H4 was significantly correlated with advanced stage, depth of tumor invasion and lymph node metastasis. These results suggest that low levels of histone acetylation may be closely associated with the development and progression of gastric carcinomas, possibly through alteration of gene expression.