N-Methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) is a direct-acting alkylating agent that interacts with DNA. Accumulation of mutations may enhance cancer risk in target organs or cause cell death in susceptible tissues or cells when excessive DNA damage is not repaired. MNU targets various organs in a variety of animal species. MNU-induced carcinogenesis can be used as organ-specific animal models for human cancer, and MNU has been most extensively utilized for the induction of mammary cancer in rats. MNU-induced rat mammary tumors possess many similarities to those of human breast cancer, and the model is utilized for screening cancer modulators. MNU-induced cell disruption is also seen in several organs and tissues, especially when MNU is applied before maturity. However, photoreceptor cells in adults are highly sensitive to MNU, which causes cell death due to apoptosis. MNU-induced photoreceptor apoptosis mimics human retinitis pigmentosa and can be used for studies of therapeutic intervention. In this review, the targets of MNU in various animal species are described, and special emphasis is given to therapeutic trials against MNU-induced mammary cancer and retinal degeneration in animal models.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)