Age dependent increase in prostaglandin pathway coincides with onset of ovarian cancer in laying hens
Chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is the most pro-inflammatory lipid and one of the downstream products of 2 isoforms of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes: COX-1 and COX-2. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy and mainly occurs in older women. The factors that contribute to the correlation of age and ovarian cancer are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the expression of COX enzymes and PGE2 levels in ovaries and correlate them to ovarian cancer and aging. White Leghorn hens aged 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 3.5 years were used. The incidence of ovarian cancer was determined by gross pathology and histology. COX-1 and COX-2 protein and mRNA expression and PGE2 concentrations in ovaries were measured using Western blot, quantitative real-time PCR and ELISA, respectively. Our results indicated an increase in ovarian cancer incidence and expression of both COX enzymes in ovaries of older hens. In correlation with ovarian cancer incidence and COX enzymes expression, PGE2 concentrations were elevated with age. Ovaries with tumor had elevated COX-1 expression and PGE2 concentration compared to normal ovaries. Our findings suggest that the up-regulation of COX enzymes with age is the main contributing factor in the age associated increase in PGE2. Furthermore, elevated PGE2 in ovaries of hens concomitant with age suggests its important role in early stages of ovarian carcinogenesis. These finding may provide the basis for clinical trials utilizing COX specific inhibitors or dietary intervention targeting prostaglandin biosynthesis for the prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer.