Obesity has increased dramatically over the past 30 years in the USA and has been associated with pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, as well as other cancers. A potential mechanistic link between obesity and cancer susceptibility is insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 has also been shown to be a principal mediator of the anti-cancer effects of calorie restriction (CR), a potent anti-obesity and cancer preventive intervention in a number of model systems. It is hypothesized that obesity will enhance, and CR will inhibit, pancreatitis and pancreatic lesions via activation of the IGF-1 pathway, which subsequently enhances proliferation and inflammation. This hypothesis will be tested in a new model of pancreatitis/pancreatic adenocarcinoma, a keratin 5 (K5)-driven cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) transgenic mouse, referred to as K5.COX-2. In this model,100% of the mice develop pancreatitis that progresses to pancreatic adenocarcinoma by 6 months. This model is relevant because COX-2 is upregulated in human pancreatitis and pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Aim 1 will focus on determining the effects of dietary energy balance on the development of pancreatic lesions and demonstrating a causal role for IGF-1 in obese mice. K5.COX-2 mice will be fed diets that result in lean, overweight and obese phenotypes and assessed for extent and type of pancreatic lesions. K5.COX-2 mice will also be crossed with mice deficient in liver-specific expression of IGF- 1 (LID transgenic mice) and the effect of reduced IGF-1 levels on obesity-induced pancreatic neoplasia determined. The studies in Aim 2 will determine the extent to which obesity-inducing diets enhance, and CR inhibits, inflammation (circulating cytokine levels and inflammatory cell infiltration), the contribution of IGF-1 to inflammation, and the contribution of inflammation to the development of pancreatic tumorigenesis. To determine the importance of cytokines to pancreatic tumorigenesis, an inhibitor of cytokine synthesis, pentoxifylline, will be administered to K5.COX-2 mice on CR, normal or obesity-inducing diets. To determine whether IGF-1 alone induces inflammation, K5.COX-2 mice on normal or CR diets will be administered IGF-1 and circulating cytokines and inflammatory cell infiltration assessed.
Aim 3 will test whether IGF-1, insulin, or the cytokines TNF1 or IL-12, are direct mitogens in pancreatic tumor cells, the pathway(s) by which IGF-1 and insulin signal and whether energy balance affects IGF-1 or insulin receptor expression.
Aim 4 is focused on determining whether inhibition of either the PI3-K/mTOR pathway and/or the MAPK pathway of IGF-1R signaling will reduce obesity-induced pancreatic cancer. This will be done by administering either the Akt inhibitor Rad001 and/ or the MAPK inhibitor Cl-0140 to K5.COX-2 mice and assessing lesion development, inflammatory cell infiltration and markers of proliferation. The overall goal of this proposal is to determine how obesity enhances pancreatic cancer development and to identify molecular targets that reduce the effect of obesity on pancreatic cancer.
The studies proposed should provide new information on how obesity contributes to the development of pancreatic cancer. This information should be useful in designing approaches or treatments that will counteract the effect of obesity on this very fatal human disease.
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