In this study the small-intestine phenotype in rat colonic tumors was investigated in terms of sucrase and intestinal-type alkaline phosphatase (I- ALP) activity. F344 rats were given intraperitoneal injections of methylazoxymethanol acetate at a dose level of 25 mg/kg body weight once a week for 8 weeks and were killed 40 weeks after the first injection. Sucrase and I-ALP activities in proximal and distal colon adenocarcinomas were significantly higher than those in the normal colon epithelium. In the jejunum, by contrast, normal tissue had significantly higher levels than tumors. Immunohistochemical staining of I-ALP was also strong in striated cell borders of colon adenocarcinoma cells. These data suggest that, whereas absorptive cells of the small intestine lose their own traits with tumor development, colonocytes acquire phenotypic features of the small intestine. Intestinal enzymes associated with the striated-cell border, such as sucrase and I-ALP, may be useful markers for malignant phenotypic expression in colonocytes.
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