Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)

Absence of glutathione peroxidase 4 affects tumor angiogenesis through increased 12/15-lipoxygenase activity.

PMID 20234819


The selenoenzyme glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPx4) has been described to control specific cyclooxygenases (COXs) and lipoxygenases (LOXs) that exert substantiated functions in tumor growth and angiogenesis. Therefore, we hypothesized a putative regulatory role of GPx4 during tumor progression and created transformed murine embryonic fibroblasts with inducible disruption of GPx4. GPx4 inactivation caused rapid cell death in vitro, which could be prevented either by lipophilic antioxidants or by 12/15-LOX-specific inhibitors, but not by inhibitors targeting other LOX isoforms or COX. Surprisingly, transformed GPx4(+/-) cells did not die when grown in Matrigel but gave rise to tumor spheroids. Subcutaneous implantation of tumor cells into mice resulted in knockout tumors that were indistinguishable in volume and mass in comparison to wild-type tumors. However, further analysis revealed a strong vascular phenotype. We observed an increase in microvessel density as well as a reduction in the number of large diameter vessels covered by smooth muscle cells. This phenotype could be linked to increased 12/15-LOX activity that was accompanied by an up-regulation of basic fibroblast growth factor and down-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor A protein expression. Indeed, pharmacological inhibition of 12/15-LOX successfully reversed the tumor phenotype and led to "normalized" vessel morphology. Thus, we conclude that GPx4, through controlling 12/15-LOX activity, is an important regulator of tumor angiogenesis as well as vessel maturation.