The expression levels of bcl-2, mcl-1/EAT, and bax were examined by Northern blot analysis and semi-quantitative RT-PCR method in 25 adrenal tumors, including seven adrenal pheochromocytomas (PHE), seven aldosterone- producing adenomas (APA), four adrenal cortisol-producing adenomas (CS), one deoxycorticosterone-producing adenoma (DOC) and six non-hyperfunctioning adrenal cortical adenomas (NF). Northern blot analysis revealed both bcl-2 and mcl-1/EAT mRNAs in all of the adrenal tumors. The expression levels differed greatly among the tumor samples. Mcl-1/EAT mRNA levels were enhanced in APA and CS compared with those in NF. In contrast, bcl-2 levels in NF were higher than in other tumors. Our results suggest that deregulation of such apoptosis-suppressing genes may contribute to the multistep tumorigenesis of human adrenal tumors and that mcl-1/EAT, one of the bcl-2 family genes, has a different role from that of bcl-2 in such pathways.
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