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Extracellular matrix components of benign ovarian tumours (cystadenoma, adenofibroma, cystadenofibroma) were analysed. The investigated tumours contained twice as much collagen than control ovarian tissues. Significant alterations in mutual quantitative relationships between collagens of various types were observed. The proportion of type I collagen decreased and that of type III collagen increased. The accumulation of collagen was accompanied by a reduction in sulphated glycosaminoglycan content whereas the amount of hyaluronic acid was not changed. Dermatan sulphate was the most abundant glycosaminoglycan component. It is suggested that the accumulation of collagen (natural barrier to the migration of tumour cells) and underexpression of glycosaminoglycans/proteoglycans (binding some growth factors and interleukins) may exert an inhibitory effect on tumour growth.
The verotoxin receptor globotriaosyl ceramide (Gb3) is overexpressed in an ovarian tumour resistant to chemotherapy. An overlay of frozen tumour sections shows extensive staining of the tumour cells with verotoxin B subunit. In addition, blood vessels within the tumour mass are stained. The sensitivity of ovarian tumour cells in vitro to verotoxin can be modulated by culturing the cells in sodium butyrate to obtain an approximatly 5000-fold increase in susceptibility. This increased susceptibility is correlated with the intracellular targeting of verotoxin as monitored by using FITC-VT B subunit, in that prior to sodium butyrate treatment the toxin is internalized to a juxtanuclear (likely) Golgi location whereas, following butyrate treatment the intracellular toxin is distributed around the nucleus, consistent with endoplasmic reticulum and nuclear envelope location. This perinuclear location is similar to that found for drug-resistant variants of ovarian tumour cell lines. These results suggest that intracellular targeting of verotoxin to the perinuclear area results in increased cytotoxicity. Potentially such targeting may also occur in other human tumours.
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