Arginase (ARG) is a metabolic enzyme present in two isoforms that hydrolyze l-arginine to urea and ornithine. In humans, ARG isoform 1 is also expressed in cells of the myeloid lineage. ARG activity promotes tumour growth and inhibits T lymphocyte activation. However, the two ARG transgenic mouse lines produced so far failed to show such effects. We have generated, in two different genetic backgrounds, transgenic mice constitutively expressing ARG1 under the control of the CD68 promoter in macrophages and monocytes. Both heterozygous and homozygous transgenic mice showed a relevant increase in mortality at early age, compared with wild-type siblings (67/267 and 48/181 versus 8/149, respectively, both P < 0.005). This increase was due to high incidence of haematologic malignancies, in particular myeloid leukaemia, myeloid dysplasia, lymphomas and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), diseases that were absent in wild-type mice. Atrophy of lymphoid organs due to reduction in T-cell compartment was also detected. Our results indicate that ARG activity may participate in the pathogenesis of lymphoproliferative and myeloproliferative disorders, suggest the involvement of alterations of L-arginine metabolism in the onset of DIC and confirm a role for the enzyme in regulating T-cell homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research