When a single topical application of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) was performed 12 h before the second application, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) induction by the second application of TPA was markedly suppressed (refractory state). However, at intervals of 96 h between the first and the second application, the ODC activity induced by the second application of TPA was higher (enhanced state) than the activity induced by the single application. When various antitumor promoting agents, i.e. p-bromophenacyl bromide, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, quercetin, 1-tosylamide-2-phenylethyl chloromethyl ketone, retinoic acid and palmitoylcarnitine, were applied concurrently with the first TPA application, the ODC induction in the refractory state was restored only by palmitoylcarnitine, but not by other anti-tumor promoting agents. None of these anti-tumor promoting agents affected the ODC induction in the enhanced state. Stearoylcarnitine also had the restorative effect but was less effective than palmitoylcarnitine. Acetylcarnitine and palmitic acid were not effective. Pretreatment of mice with TPA 12 h or 96 h before the second TPA application resulted in the reduction or the increase in the Vmax values of ODC both for ornithine and pyridoxal-5'-phosphate, respectively. Palmitoylcarnitine restored these reduced Vmax values to the control values. Twelve hours after TPA treatment, the epidermal protein kinase C activity of both cytosol and particulate fractions decreased moderately. At 96 h after TPA application, protein kinase C activities of both cytosol and particulate fractions were fully or at least partially restored to the control levels. Protein kinase C activities both in the cytosol and the particulate fractions tended to be restored by palmitoylcarnitine, but the effect was not always reproducible. The TPA-induced refractory state and the enhanced state for ODC induction appear to result from the changes in the protein kinase C activities caused by TPA. However, it is not known whether such changes in the protein kinase C activities are the major causes for the TPA-induced refractory and/or enhanced state for ODC induction and whether or not the restorative effect of palmitoylcarnitine is due to its modulating action on protein kinase C activity.
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