Background: Previous studies have implicated NF-κB signaling in both cutaneous development and oncogenesis. However, these studies have been limited in part by the lethality that results from extreme over- or under-expression of NF-κB in available mouse models. Even cre-driven tissue specific expression of transgenes, or targeted deletion of NF-κB can cause cell death. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to evaluate a novel mouse model of enhanced NF-κB activity in the skin. Methods: A knock-in homologous recombination technique was utilized to develop a mouse model (referred to as PD mice) with increased NF-κB activity. Results: The data show that increased NF-κB activity leads to hyperproliferation and dysplasia of the mouse epidermis. Chemical carcinogenesis in the context of enhanced NF-κB activity promotes the development of keratoacanthomata. Conclusion: Our findings support an important role for NF-κB in keratinocyte dysplasia. We have found that enhanced NF-κB activity renders keratinocytes susceptible to hyperproliferation and keratoacanthoma (KA) development but is not sufficient for transformation and SCC development. We therefore propose that NF-κB activation in the absence of additional oncogenic events can promote TNF-dependent, actinic keratosis-like dysplasia and TNF-independent, KAs upon chemical carcinogensis. These studies suggest that resolution of KA cannot occur when NF-κB activation is constitutively enforced.
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