Increased skin tumor incidence and keratinocyte hyper-proliferation in a mouse model of down syndrome

Annan Yang, Duane Currier, Jennifer L. Poitras, Roger H. Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra copy of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21). People with DS display multiple clinical traits as a result of the dosage imbalance of several hundred genes. While many outcomes of trisomy are deleterious, epidemiological studies have shown a significant risk reduction for most solid tumors in DS. Reduced tumor incidence has also been demonstrated in functional studies using trisomic DS mouse models. Therefore, it was interesting to find that Ts1Rhr trisomic mice developed more papillomas than did their euploid littermates in a DMBA-TPA chemical carcinogenesis paradigm. Papillomas in Ts1Rhr mice also proliferated faster. The increased proliferation was likely caused by a stronger response of trisomy to TPA induction. Treatment with TPA caused hyperkeratosis to a greater degree in Ts1Rhr mice than in euploid, reminiscent of hyperkeratosis seen in people with DS. Cultured trisomic keratinocytes also showed increased TPA-induced proliferation compared to euploid controls. These outcomes suggest that altered gene expression in trisomy could elevate a proliferation signalling pathway. Gene expression analysis of cultured keratinocytes revealed upregulation of several trisomic and disomic genes may contribute to this hyperproliferation. The contributions of these genes to hyper-proliferation were further validated in a siRNA knockdown experiment. The unexpected findings reported here add a new aspect to our understanding of tumorigenesis with clinical implications for DS and demonstrates the complexity of the tumor repression phenotype in this frequent condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0146570
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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