Immunohistochemistry of Caspase3/CPP32 in human stomach and its correlation with cell proliferation and apoptosis

Tatsuya Hoshi, Hironobu Sasano, Katsuaki Kato, Noritaka Yabuki, Shuichi Ohara, Ryo Konno, Shigeru Asaki, Takayoshi Toyota, Hiroo Tateno, Hiroshi Nagura

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Caspase3/CPP32 is a member of the interleukin-1β-converting enzyme (ICE) or cell death effector (CED)-3 family, which is involved in the iduction of apoptosis and has been considered to be correlated with apoptosis because of the most downstream enzyme in their apoptosis inducing pathway. We immunolocalized Caspase3/CPP32 in both normal and neoplastic human gastric mucosa. We then correlated the findings with cell proliferation studied by Ki67 immunostaining and apoptosis, which was tested for by DNA fragmentation in situ using TdT-mediated dUTP biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) method in order to examine possible biological significance in cell turnover of normal and pathological human gastric tissues. Caspase3/CPP32 immunoreactivity was detected in both the cytoplasm and nuclei of glandular epithelial cells, predominantly in the Ki67 positive proliferative zone and TUNEL positive foveolar epithelium of normal non-neoplastic gastric mucosa (n = 10) and tumor cells of both adenoma (n = 17) and carcinoma (n = 33). We determined the labeling index (LI) of Ki67, Caspase3/CPP32 and TUNEL positive cells by evaluating the number of positive cells in the same areas of serial tissue sections using computer-assisted image analysis. Ki67 LI in adenocarcinoma (78.6 ± 12.6%) was significantly [p < 0.0001] higher than that of adenoma (43.8 ± 8.9%) and non-neoplastic gastric mucosa (24.2 ± 9.0%). Caspase3/CPP32 LI in adenocarcinoma (17.1 ± 10.3%) was significantly lower [p < 0.0001] than that of gastric adenoma (33.1 ± 19.8%) and non-neoplastic gastric mucosa (42.4 ± 15.8%). TUNEL LI in adenocarcinoma (1.9 ± 2.1%) was significantly [p < 0.0001] lower than that of non-neoplastic gastric mucosa (6.0 ± 3.5%), but not significantly different from that of adenoma (3.0 ± 29%). These results indicate that gastric adenocarcinoma is associated with an inhibition of apoptosis and the augmentation of proliferative activity of tumor cells compared to non-neoplastic gastric mucosa. There was a tendency to a positive correlation between the Caspase3/CPP32 and TUNEL LI and an inverse correlation between the Caspase3/CPP32 and Ki67 LI, when evaluating all the specimens, although the correlation did not reach statistical significance. These results also suggest that Caspase3/CPP32 is involved in the development or regulation of apoptotic cell death in cell turnover of normal and neoplastic mucosa of the human stomach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4347-4353
Number of pages7
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number6 A
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Apoptosis
  • Carcinoma
  • Caspase3/CPP32
  • Cell proliferation
  • Ki67
  • Stomach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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