Madewell BR, Gandour-Edwards R, Edwards BF, et al.
The bcl-2 family of genes encodes proteins that influence apoptosis. In the present immunohistochemical study, the topographic distribution of bcl-2 protein was examined in healthy feline fetal, neonatal, and adult tissues, a feline renal cell line, and feline tumors obtained from a veterinary hospital. The topographic distribution of bcl-2 in healthy tissues was similar to that described in human tissues. In lymphoid tissues, follicular mantle cells strongly expressed bcl-2. In complex and differentiating epithelium, bcl-2 expression was detected in stem cell and proliferation zones. Bcl-2 expression was also detected in lower crypts of the intestine and in skin basal layers. The feline Crandell kidney cells expressed bcl-2 diffusely throughout the cytoplasm. Of 180 tumors examined, bcl-2 was expressed almost uniformly in cutaneous basal cell tumors, thyroid adenomas, and mammary carcinomas and in 50% of the lymphomas examined. Bcl-2 may play a role in blocking apoptotic cell death in a broad range of normal feline tissues, whereas dysregulated bcl-2 may extend the life of certain tumors or render certain tumors resistant to therapy because most chemotherapeutic and radiotherapeutic agents eliminate tumor cells by triggering apoptosis.