Estrogen-dependent gallbladder carcinogenesis in LXRβ-/- female mice

Chiara Gabbi, Hyun Jin Kim, Rodrigo Barros, Marion Korach-Andrè, Margaret Warner, Jan Åke Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Gallbladder cancer is a highly aggressive disease with poor prognosis that is two to six times more frequent in women than men. The development of gallbladder cancer occurs over a long time (more than 15 y) and evolves from chronic inflammation to dysplasia/metaplasia, carcinoma in situ, and invasive carcinoma. In the present study we found that, in female mice in which the oxysterol receptor liver X receptor-β (LXRβ) has been inactivated, preneoplastic lesions of the gallbladder developed and evolved to cancer in old animals. LXRβ is a nuclear receptor involved in the control of lipid homeostasis, glucose metabolism, inflammation, proliferation, and CNS development. LXRβ-/- female gallbladders were severely inflamed, with regions of dysplasia and high cell density, hyperchromasia, metaplasia, and adenomas. No abnormalities were evident in male mice, nor in LXRα-/- or LXRα-/-β-/- animals of either sex. Interestingly, the elimination of estrogens with ovariectomy prevented development of preneoplastic lesions in LXRβ-/- mice. The etiopathological mechanism seems to involve TGF-β signaling, as the precancerous lesions were characterized by strong nuclear reactivity of phospho-SMAD-2 and SMAD-4 and loss of E-cadherin expression. Upon ovariectomy, E-cadherin was reexpressed on the cell membranes and immunoreactivity of pSMAD-2 in the nuclei was reduced. These findings suggest that LXRβ in a complex interplay with estrogens and TGF-β could play a crucial role in the malignant transformation of the gallbladder epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14763-14768
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 17 2010


  • Cancer
  • E-cadherin
  • Hormone
  • Oxysterols
  • SMAD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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