Dickkopf-related protein 3 (Dkk3) is the third member of the Dkk gene family and identical to the gene, whose expression was reduced in immortalized cells. Therefore, its another name is reduced expression in immortalized cells. Since the intratumoral introduction of Dkk3 inhibits tumor growth in mouse models of cancers, Dkk3 is likely a tumor suppressor gene. However, the functions of Dkk3 in vivo remain unclear. As the first step to decipher the physiological roles of this gene, we examined the expression pattern of Dkk3 in various tissues from adult mice. In situ hybridization showed that Dkk3 mRNA was detected in the brain, retina, heart, gastrointestinal tract, adrenal glands, thymus, prostate glands, seminal vesicles, testes, and ovaries in a regionally specific manner. Furthermore, we raised anti-mouse Dkk3 antibody and performed immunohistochemistry. Cytoplasmic localization of Dkk3 protein was observed in the cells of the adrenal medulla, while Dkk3 immunoreactivity was observed in the lumen of the stomach and intestine, implying that the Dkk3 protein may be secreted into the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract. These results suggest that Dkk3 has pleiotropic roles for a secretory glycoprotein that acts primarily in the gastrointestinal tract, thymus, endocrine and reproductive organs of the mouse.
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