BACKGROUND: Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is a familial cancer syndrome that has a dominant inherited pattern which predisposes affected individuals to a variety of tumours. The most frequent tumors are hemangioblastomas of the central nervous system and retina, renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and pheochromocytoma. The recent identification and characterization of the VHL gene on human chromosome 3p and mutational analyses confirms the VHL gene functions as a classical tumor suppressor. Not only are mutations in this gene responsible for the VHL syndrome, but mutations are also very frequent in sporadic RCC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: VHL expression in human kidney and during embryogenesis, was analyzed by in situ mRNA hybridization with 35S-labeled antisense VHL probes, derived from human and mouse cDNAs, on cryosections of human fetal kidney and paraffin sections of murine embryos. RESULTS: In human fetal kidney, there was enhanced expression of VHL within the epithelial lining of the proximal tubules. During embryogenesis, VHL expression was ubiquitous in all three germ cell layers and their derivatives. Expression occurred in the cerebral cortex, midbrain, cerebellum, retina, spinal cord, and postganglionic cell bodies. All organs of the thoracic and abdominal cavities expressed VHL, but enhanced expression was most apparent in the epithelial components of the lung, kidney, and eye. CONCLUSIONS: In human fetal kidney, the enhanced epithelial expression of the VHL gene is consistent with the role of this gene in RCC. There is widespread expression of the VHL gene during embryogenesis, but this is pronounced in areas associated with VHL phenotypes. These findings provide a histological framework for investigating the physiological role of the VHL gene and as basis for further mutational analysis.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - May 1995|