Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces autophagy-associated apoptotic cell death in wild-type p53 cancer cells via regulation of p53. The present study investigated the effects of DHA on PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines harboring mutant p53. Results show that, in addition to apoptosis, DHA increased the expression levels of lipidated form LC3B and potently stimulated the autophagic flux, suggesting that DHA induces both autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells expressing mutant p53. DHA led to the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), as shown by the mitochondrial ROS-specific probe mitoSOX. Similarly, pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly inhibited both the autophagy and the apoptosis triggered by DHA, indicating that mitochondrial ROS mediate the cytotoxicity of DHA in mutant p53 cells. Further, DHA reduced the levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR in a concentration-dependent manner, while NAC almost completely blocked that effect. Collectively, these findings present a novel mechanism of ROS-regulated apoptosis and autophagy that involves Akt-mTOR signaling in prostate cancer cells with mutant p53 exposed to DHA.
The anticancer properties and mechanism of action of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-PUFAs) have been demonstrated in several cancers; however, the mechanism in lung cancer remains unclear. Here, we show that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a ω3-PUFA, induced apoptosis and autophagy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. DHA-induced cell death was accompanied by AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation and inactivated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Knocking down AMPK and overexpressing Akt increased mTOR activity and attenuated DHA-induced cell death, suggesting that DHA induces cell death via AMPK- and Akt-regulated mTOR inactivation. This was confirmed in Fat-1 transgenic mice, which produce ω3-PUFAs. Lewis lung cancer (LLC) tumor cells implanted into Fat-1 mice showed slower growth, lower phospho-Akt levels, and higher levels of apoptosis and autophagy than cells implanted into wild-type mice. Taken together, these data suggest that DHA-induced apoptosis and autophagy in NSCLC cells are associated with AMPK activation and PI3K/Akt inhibition, which in turn lead to suppression of mTOR; thus ω3-PUFAs may be utilized as potential therapeutic agents for NSCLC treatment.
The present study identified that ω-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) demonstrate anti-proliferative effects in lung cancer A549 cells. MTS and cytotoxicity assays were conducted to confirm that ω-3 PUFAs induced cell death. Autophagy-associated gene and signaling pathways were also detected. Microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3) expression was found to be increased subsequent to treatment with DHA and EPA, and the expression of LC3-II was particularly increased. mRFP-GFP-LC3 fluorescence staining and p62 expression levels were used to detect autophagic flux. The present results indicate that DHA and EPA block autophagic flux, suggesting autophagosome accumulation. Subsequent to treatment with DHA and EPA, which interfered with autophagosomes, the expression of Beclin 1 was significantly decreased, while the expression of phosphorylated Akt and phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin was significantly increased. Therefore, DHA and EPA exert anti-proliferative effects by inhibiting autophagy in A549 cells, which highlights the potential of DHA and EPA for use in the prevention or treatment of lung cancer.
ω-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; autophagy; Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin
Despite recent advances in the therapy of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the chemotherapy efficacy against NSCLC is still unsatisfactory. Previous studies show the herbal antimalarial drug dihydroartemisinin (DHA) displays cytotoxic to multiple human tumors. Here, we showed that DHA decreased cell viability and colony formation, induced apoptosis in A549 and PC-9 cells. Additionally, we first revealed DHA inhibited glucose uptake in NSCLC cells. Moreover, glycolytic metabolism was attenuated by DHA, including inhibition of ATP and lactate production. Consequently, we demonstrated that the phosphorylated forms of both S6 ribosomal protein and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), and GLUT1 levels were abrogated by DHA treatment in NSCLC cells. Furthermore, the upregulation of mTOR activation by high expressed Rheb increased the level of glycolytic metabolism and cell viability inhibited by DHA. These results suggested that DHA-suppressed glycolytic metabolism might be associated with mTOR activation and GLUT1 expression. Besides, we showed GLUT1 overexpression significantly attenuated DHA-triggered NSCLC cells apoptosis. Notably, DHA synergized with 2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2DG, a glycolysis inhibitor) to reduce cell viability and increase cell apoptosis in A549 and PC-9 cells. However, the combination of the two compounds displayed minimal toxicity to WI-38 cells, a normal lung fibroblast cell line. More importantly, 2DG synergistically potentiated DHA-induced activation of caspase-9, -8 and -3, as well as the levels of both cytochrome c and AIF of cytoplasm. However, 2DG failed to increase the reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels elicited by DHA. Overall, the data shown above indicated DHA plus 2DG induced apoptosis was involved in both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways in NSCLC cells.
Artemisinin, a powerful antimalarial medicine, is extracted from the Chinese herb, Artemisia annua L., and has the ability to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. Dihydroartemisinin (DHA), the major active metabolite of artemisinin, is able to inhibit the growth of a variety of types of human cancer. However, the effect of DHA on human glioma cells remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of DHA on the proliferation of glioma cells, and whether DHA was able to enhance temozolomide (TMZ) sensitivity in vitro and in vivo. In total, 10 human glioma cell lines were used to analyze the growth inhibition ability of DHA by MTT assay. The typical autophagic vacuoles were monitored by the application of the autofluorescent agent, monodansylcadaverine. Western blotting was used to detect markers of apoptosis and autophagy, namely Caspase-3, Beclin-1 and LC3-B. The combination efficiency of DHA and TMZ was assessed in vitro and in vivo. The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of DHA differed among the ten human glioma cell lines. The number of autophagic vacuoles was higher in DHA-treated SKMG-4 cells; this was highest of all cell lines analyzed. The expression of autophagy molecular markers, Beclin-1 and LC3-B, was increased following DHA treatment, while no significant alteration was detected in the expression of apoptotic marker Caspase-3. When combined with DHA, the IC50 of TMZ decreased significantly in the four glioma cell lines analyzed. Furthermore, DHA enhanced the tumor inhibition ability of TMZ in tumor-burdened mice. The results of the present study demonstrated that DHA inhibited the proliferation of glioma cells and enhanced the tumor inhibition efficacy of TMZ in vitro and in vivo through the induction of autophagy.
dihydroartemisinin; temozolomide; glioma; autophagy
Autophagy is a complex “self-eating” process and could be utilized for cell survival under stresses. Statins, which could reduce apoptosis in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) during both ischemia and hypoxia/serum deprivation (H/SD), have been proved to induce autophagy in some cell lines. We have previously shown that atorvastatin (ATV) could regulate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a positive modulator of autophagy, in MSCs. Thus, we hypothesized that autophagy activation through AMPK and its downstream molecule mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) may be a novel mechanism of ATV to protect MSCs from apoptosis during H/SD. Here, we demonstrated that H/SD induced autophagy in MSCs significantly as identified by increasing acidic vesicular organelle–positive cells, type II of light chain 3 (LC3-II) expression, and autophagosome formation. The levels of H/SD-induced apoptosis were increased by autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) while decreased by rapamycin, an autophagic inducer. ATV further enhanced the autophagic activity observed in MSCs exposed to H/SD. Treatment with 3-MA attenuated ATV-induced autophagy and abrogated the protective effects of ATV on MSC apoptosis, while rapamycin failed to cause additional effects on either autophagy or apoptosis compared with ATV alone. The phosphorylation of AMPK was upregulated whereas the phosphorylation of mTOR was downregulated in ATV-treated MSCs, which were both attenuated by AMPK inhibitor compound C. Further, treatment with compound C reduced the ATV-induced autophagy in MSCs under H/SD. These data suggest that autophagy plays a protective role in H/SD-induced apoptosis of MSCs, and ATV could effectively activate autophagy via AMPK/mTOR pathway to enhance MSC survival during H/SD.
Saturated fatty acids like palmitate contribute to muscle atrophy in a number of conditions (e.g., Type II diabetes) by altering insulin signaling. Akt is a key modulator of protein balance that inhibits the FoxO transcription factors (e.g., FoxO3) which selectively induce the expression of atrophy-inducing genes (atrogenes) in the ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosome systems. Conversely, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have beneficial effects on insulin signaling and may preserve muscle mass. In an earlier report, the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) protected myotubes from palmitate-induced atrophy; the mechanisms underlying the alterations in protein metabolism were not identified. This study investigated whether DHA prevents a palmitate-induced increase in proteolysis by restoring Akt/FoxO signaling. Palmitate increased the rate of protein degradation, while co-treatment with DHA prevented the response. Palmitate reduced the activation state of Akt and increased nuclear FoxO3 protein while decreasing its cytosolic level. Palmitate also increased the mRNAs of two FoxO3 atrogene targets, the E3 ubiquitin ligase atrogin-1/MAFbx and the autophagy mediator Bnip3. DHA attenuated the effects of palmitate on Akt activation, FoxO3 localization, and atrogene mRNAs. DHA, alone or in combination with palmitate, decreased the ratio of LC3B-II:LC3B-I protein as well as the rate of autophagosome formation, as indicated by reduced LC3B-II protein in the presence of 10 mmol/L methylamine, suggesting an independent effect of DHA on the macroautophagy pathway. These data indicate that palmitate induces myotube atrophy, at least in part, by activating multiple proteolytic systems and that DHA counters the catabolic effects of palmitate by restoring Akt/FoxO signaling.
palmitate; docosahexaenoic acid; muscle atrophy; proteolysis; macroautophagy; FoxO3
Vitamin E succinate (VES), a potential cancer therapeutic agent, potently induces apoptosis and inhibits the growth of various cancer cells. Autophagy has been supposed to promote cancer cell survival or trigger cell death, depending on particular cancer types and tumor microenvironments. The role of autophagy in the growth suppressive effect of VES on gastric cancer cell is basically unknown. We aimed to determine whether and how autophagy affected the VES-induced inhibition of SGC-7901 human gastric carcinoma cell growth. SGC-7901 cells were treated with VES or pre-treated with autophagy inhibitor, chloroquine (CQ) and 3-methyladenine (3-MA). Electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy and Western blot were used to study whether VES induced autophagy reaction in SGC-7901 cells. Western blot evaluated the activities of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) axis. Then we used 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and flow cytometry to detect the level of cell viability and apoptosis. Collectively, our data indeed strongly support our hypothesis that VES treatment produced cytological variations that depict autophagy, increased the amount of intracellular green fluorescent protein—microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 (GFP-LC3) punctate fluorescence and the number of autophagic vacuoles. It altered the expression of endogenous autophagy marker LC3. VES activated the suppression of mTOR through inhibiting upstream regulators p38 MAPK and Akt. mTOR suppression consequently inhibited the activation of mTOR downstream targets p70S6K and 4E-BP-1. The activation of the upstream mTOR inhibitor AMPK had been up-regulated by VES. The results showed that pre-treatment SGC-7901 with autophagy inhibitors before VES treatment could increase the capacity of VES to reduce cell viability and to provoke apoptosis. In conclusion, VES-induced autophagy participates in SGC-7901 cell protection by inhibiting mTOR axis phosphorylation. Our findings not only strengthen our understanding of the roles of autophagy in cancer biology, but may also be useful for developing new treatments for gastric cancer patients.
Anticancer properties and mechanisms of mimulone (MML), C-geranylflavonoid isolated from the Paulownia tomentosa fruits, were firstly elucidated in this study. MML prevented cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent way and triggered apoptosis through the extrinsic pathway in A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells. Furthermore, MML-treated cells displayed autophagic features, such as the formation of autophagic vacuoles, a primary morphological feature of autophagy, and the accumulation of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) puncta, another typical maker of autophagy, as determined by FITC-conjugated immunostaining and monodansylcadaverine (MDC) staining, respectively. The expression levels of LC3-I and LC3-II, specific markers of autophagy, were also augmented by MML treatment. Autophagy inhibition by 3-methyladenine (3-MA), pharmacological autophagy inhibitor, and shRNA knockdown of Beclin-1 reduced apoptotic cell death induced by MML. Autophagic flux was not significantly affected by MML treatment and lysosomal inhibitor, chloroquine (CQ) suppressed MML-induced autophagy and apoptosis. MML-induced autophagy was promoted by decreases in p53 and p-mTOR levels and increase of p-AMPK. Moreover, inhibition of p53 transactivation by pifithrin-α (PFT-α) and knockdown of p53 enhanced induction of autophagy and finally promoted apoptotic cell death. Overall, the results demonstrate that autophagy contributes to the cytotoxicity of MML in cancer cells harboring wild-type p53. This study strongly suggests that MML is a potential candidate for an anticancer agent targeting both autophagy and apoptotic cell death in human lung cancer. Moreover, co-treatment of MML and p53 inhibitor would be more effective in human lung cancer therapy.
Insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 is associated with tumorigenesis; its levels are elevated in several human cancers. IRS-1 protein binds to several oncogene proteins. Oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in the initiation and progression of cancers. Cancer cells produce greater levels of ROS than normal cells do because of increased metabolic stresses. However, excessive production of ROS kills cancer cells. Autophagy usually serves as a survival mechanism in response to stress conditions, but excessive induction of autophagy results in cell death. In addition to inducing necrosis and apoptosis, ROS induces autophagic cell death. ROS inactivates IRS-1 mediated signaling and reduces intracellular IRS-1 concentrations. Thus, there is a complex relationship between IRS-1, ROS, autophagy, and cancer. It is not fully understood how cancer cells grow rapidly and survive in the presence of high ROS levels.
Methods and results
In this study, we established mouse NIH/3T3 cells that overexpressed IRS-1, so mimicking cancers with increased IRS-1 expression levels; we found that the IRS-1 overexpressing cells grow more rapidly than control cells do. Treatment of cells with glucose oxidase (GO) provided a continuous source of ROS; low dosages of GO promoted cell growth, while high doses induced cell death. Evidence for GO induced autophagy includes increased levels of isoform B-II microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), aggregation of green fluorescence protein-tagged LC3, and increased numbers of autophagic vacuoles in cells. Overexpression of IRS-1 resulted in inhibition of basal autophagy, and reduced oxidative stress-induced autophagy and cell death. ROS decreased the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase signaling, while overexpression of IRS-1 attenuated this inhibition. Knockdown of autophagy-related gene 5 inhibited basal autophagy and diminished oxidative stress-induced autophagy and cell death.
Our results suggest that overexpression of IRS-1 promotes cells growth, inhibits basal autophagy, reduces oxidative stress-induced autophagy, and diminishes oxidative stress-mediated autophagy-dependent cell death. ROS-mediated autophagy may occur via inhibition of IRS-1/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mTOR signaling. Our data afford a plausible explanation for IRS-1 involvement in tumor initiation and progression.
Insulin receptor substrate; Oxidative stress; Autophagy; Cell death; Cancer; Mammalian target of rapamycin; p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase; Reactive oxygen species; Glucose oxidase
c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNKs) are strongly activated by a stressful cellular environment, such as chemotherapy and oxidative stress. Autophagy is a protein-degradation system in which double-membrane vacuoles called autophagosomes are formed. The autophagy-related gene Beclin 1 plays a key role in this process. We previously found that autophagy was induced by dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in pancreatic cancer cells. However, little is known about the complex relationship between ROS, JNK activation, autophagy induction, and Beclin 1 expression.
Cell viability and CCK-8 assays were carried out to determine the cell proliferation; small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were used to knockdown c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNK1/2) genes; western blot was performed to detect the protein expression of LC3, JNK, Beclin 1, caspase 3 and β-actin; production of intracellular ROS was analyzed using FACS flow cytometry; autophagy induction was confirmed by electron microscopy.
In the present study, we explored the role of DHA and Beclin 1 expression in autophagy. DHA-treated cells showed autophagy characteristics, and DHA also activated the JNK pathway and up-regulated the expression of Beclin 1. Conversely, blocking JNK signaling inhibited Beclin 1 up-regulation. JNK activation was found to primarily depend on reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting from the DHA treatment. Moreover, JNK pathway inhibition and Beclin 1 silencing prevented the induction of DHA-induced autophagy.
These results suggest that the induction of autophagy by DHA is required for JNK-mediated Beclin 1 expression.
c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase; Beclin 1; Apoptosis; LC3; Autophagy; Pancreatic cancer; Dihydroartemisinin
Autophagy is an indispensable lysosomal self-digestion process involved in the degradation of aggregated proteins and damaged organelles. Autophagy is associated with the several pathological processes, including cancer. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play significant roles in cancer initiation, progression and drug resistance. Recent studies have demonstrated the antitumor activities of plant-derived chemopreventive agent rottlerin (Rott). However, the molecular mechanism by which Rott induces autophagy in breast CSCs has not been investigated.
The objectives of this study were to examine the molecular mechanism by which Rott induces autophagy which leads to apoptosis in breast CSCs. Treatment of breast CSCs with Rott for 24 h resulted in a concentration dependent induction of autophagy, followed by apoptosis as measured by flow cytometry. Electron microscopy confirmed the presence of autophagosomes in Rott treated breast CSCs. Western blot analysis showed that Rott treatment increased the expression of LC3, Beclin-1 and Atg12 that are accumulated during autophagy. Prolonged exposure of breast CSCs to Rott caused apoptosis which was associated with the suppression of phosphorylated Akt and mTOR, upregulation of phosphorylated AMPK, and downregulation of anti-apoptosis Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, XIAP and cIAP-1. Knock-down of Atg7 or Beclin-1 by shRNA inhibited Rott-induced autophagy at 24 h. Our study also demonstrates that pre-treatment of breast CSCs with autophagosome inhibitors 3-methyladenine and Bafilomycin, as well as protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide inhibited Rott-induced autophagy and apoptosis. Rott induces autophagy via extensive cytoplasmic vacuolization in breast CSCs. Molecular docking results between C2-domain of protein kinase C-delta and Rott indicated that both hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions contributed significantly for ligand binding with minimum binding affinity of ≈ 7.5 Kcal/mol. Although, autophagy inhibitors suppress the formation of cytoplasmic vacuolization and autophagy in breast CSCs, the potency of Rott to induce autophagy and apoptosis might be based on its capability to activate several pathways such as AMPK and proteasome inhibition.
A better understanding of the relationship between autophagy and apoptosis would eventually allow us to discover novel drugs for the treatment of breast cancer by eliminating CSCs.
3-methyladenine (3-MA); Autophagy; Bafilomycin (Baf); Beclin-1; Cycloheximide (CHX); LC3; AMPK; Atg12
Proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells is a characteristic of pathological vascular remodeling and represents a significant therapeutic challenge in several cardiovascular diseases. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a member of the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, was shown to inhibit proliferation of numerous cell types, implicating several different mechanisms. In this study we examined the molecular events underlying the inhibitory effects of DHA on proliferation of primary human smooth muscle cells isolated from small pulmonary artery (hPASMCs). DHA concentration-dependently inhibited hPASMC proliferation, induced G1 cell cycle arrest, and decreased cyclin D1 protein expression. DHA activated the unfolded protein response (UPR), evidenced by increased mRNA expression of HSPA5, increased phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α, and splicing of X-box binding protein 1. DHA altered cellular lipid composition and led to increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. DHA-induced ROS were dependent on both intracellular Ca2+ release and entry of extracellular Ca2+. Overall cellular ROS and mitochondrial ROS were decreased by RU360, a specific inhibitor of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. DHA-induced mitochondrial dysfunction was evidenced by decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and decreased cellular ATP content. DHA triggered apoptosis as found by increased numbers of cleaved caspase-3- and TUNEL-positive cells. The free radical scavenger Tempol counteracted DHA-induced ROS, cell cycle arrest, induction of UPR, and apoptosis. We conclude that Ca2+-dependent oxidative stress is the central and initial event responsible for induction of UPR, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in DHA-treated hPASMCs.
► DHA induces ROS production, cell cycle arrest, UPR and apoptosis in hPASMC. ► Ca2+ and mitochondria are required for DHA-mediated induction of ROS. ► DHA alters cellular lipid composition and decreases ΔΨm and cellular ATP content. ► Free radical scavenger Tempol counteracts DHA effects in hPASMC.
ATF6, activating transcription factor 6; DHA, docosahexaenoic acid; ΔΨm, mitochondrial membrane potential; eIF2α, eukaryotic initiation factor 2α; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; FCS, fetal calf serum; hPASMC, human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell; HSPA5, heat shock 70-kDa protein 5; IRE1α, inositol-requiring enzyme 1α; n-3 PUFA, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; PERK, protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase; PC, phosphatidylcholine; PE, phosphatidylethanolamine; PTP, permeability transition pore; ROS, reactive oxygen species; TG, triglyceride; UPR, unfolded protein response; XBP-1, X-box binding protein 1; Oxidative stress; Unfolded protein response; n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; Apoptosis; Mitochondria; Cell cycle; Free radicals
It was previously reported that docosahexanoic acid (DHA) reduces TNF-α-induced necrosis in L929 cells. However, the mechanisms underlying this reduction have not been investigated. The present study was designed to investigate cellular and biochemical mechanisms underlying the attenuation of TNF-α-induced necroptosis by DHA in L929 cells.
L929 cells were pre-treated with DHA prior to exposure to TNF-α, zVAD, or Necrostatin-1 (Nec-1). Cell death and survival were assessed by MTT and caspase activity assays, and microscopic visualization. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured by flow cytometry. C16- and C18-ceramide were measured by mass spectrometry. Lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) was evaluated by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry using Acridine Orange. Cathepsin L activation was evaluated by immunoblotting and fluorescence microscopy. Autophagy was assessed by immunoblotting of LC3-II and Beclin.
Exposure of L929 cells to TNF-α alone for 24 h induced necroptosis, as evidenced by inhibition of cell death by Nec-1, absence of caspase-3 activity and lamin B cleavage, and morphological analysis. DHA attenuated multiple biochemical events associated with TNF-α-induced necroptosis, including ROS generation, ceramide production, lysosomal dysfunction, cathepsin L activation, and autophagic features. DHA also attenuated zVAD-induced necroptosis but did not attenuate the enhanced apoptosis and necrosis induced by combination of TNF-α with Actinomycin D or zVAD, respectively, suggesting that its protective effects might be limited by the strength of the cell death insult induced by TNF-α.
DHA effectively attenuates TNF-α-induced necroptosis and autophagy, most likely via its ability to inhibit TNF-α-induced sphingolipid metabolism and oxidative stress. These results highlight the role of this Omega-3 fatty acid in antagonizing inflammatory cell death.
DHA; L929 cells; lysosomes; necroptosis; oxidative stress; inflammation; TNF-α
The apoptotic effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and other ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been documented in cell and animal studies. The molecular mechanism by which DHA induces apoptosis is unclear. Although there is no direct evidence, some studies have suggested that DNA damage generated through lipid peroxidation may be involved. Our previous studies showed that DHA, because it is high degree of unsaturation, can give rise to the acrolein-derived 1,N2-propanodeoxyguanosine (Acr-dG) as a major class of DNA adducts via lipid oxidation. As a first step to investigate the possible role of oxidative DNA damage in apoptosis induced by DHA, we examined the relationships between oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis caused by DHA in human colon cancer HT-29 cells. The apoptosis and oxidative DNA damage, including Acr-dG and 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) formation, in cells treated with DHA and ω-6 PUFAs, including arachidonic acid (AA) and linoleic acid (LA), were measured. DHA induced apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner with a concentration range from 0 to 300 µM as indicated by increased caspase-3 activity and PARP cleavage. In contrast, AA and LA had little or no effect at these concentrations. The Acr-dG levels were increased in HT-29 cells treated with DHA at 240 and 300µM, and the increases were correlated with the induction of apoptosis at these concentrations, while no significant changes were observed for 8-oxo-dG. Because proteins may compete with DNA to react with Acr, we then examined the effects of BSA on the DHA induced apoptosis and oxidative DNA damage. The addition of BSA to HT-29 cell culture media significantly decreases Acr-dG levels with a concomitant decrease in the apoptosis induced by DHA. The reduced Acr-dG formation is attributed to the reaction of BSA with acrolein as indicated by increased levels of total protein carbonyls. Similar correlations between Acr-dG formation and apoptosis were observed in HT-29 cells directly incubated with 0 to 200µM of acrolein. Additionally, DHA treatment increased level of DNA strand breaks and caused cell cycle arrested at G1 phase. Taken together, these results demonstrate the parallel relationships between the Acr-dG level and apoptosis in HT-29 cells, suggesting that the formation of Acr-dG in cellular DNA may contribute to apoptosis induced by DHA.
polyunsaturated fatty acids; apoptosis; chemoprevention; colon cancer; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); arachidonic acid (AA); linoleic (LA); acrolein; 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal; cyclic deoxyguanosine adducts; oxidative DNA damage; 32P-postlabeling
On the basis of our previous reports that cardioprotection induced by ischaemic preconditioning induces autophagy and that resveratrol, a polyphenolic antioxidant present in grapes and red wine induces preconditioning-like effects, we sought to determine if resveratrol could induce autophagy.
Methods and results
Resveratrol at lower doses (0.1 and 1 µM in H9c2 cardiac myoblast cells and 2.5 mg/kg/day in rats) induced cardiac autophagy shown by enhanced formation of autophagosomes and its component LC3-II after hypoxia–reoxygenation or ischaemia–reperfusion. The autophagy was attenuated with the higher dose of resveratrol. The induction of autophagy was correlated with enhanced cell survival and decreased apoptosis. Treatment with rapamycin (100 nM), a known inducer of autophagy, did not further increase autophagy compared with resveratrol alone. Autophagic inhibitors, wortmannin (2 µM) and 3-methyladenine (10 mM), significantly attenuated the resveratrol-induced autophagy and induced cell death. The activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) was differentially regulated by low-dose resveratrol, i.e. the phosphorylation of mTOR at serine 2448 was inhibited, whereas the phosphorylation of mTOR at serine 2481 was increased, which was attenuated with a higher dose of resveratrol. Although resveratrol attenuated the activation of mTOR complex 1, low-dose resveratrol significantly induced the expression of Rictor, a component of mTOR complex 2, and activated its downstream survival kinase Akt (Ser 473). Resveratrol-induced Rictor was found to bind with mTOR. Furthermore, treatment with Rictor siRNA attenuated the resveratrol-induced autophagy.
Our results indicate that at lower dose, resveratrol-mediated cell survival is, in part, mediated through the induction of autophagy involving the mTOR-Rictor survival pathway.
Autophagy; Cell survival; Rictor; mTOR; Resveratrol; Cardioprotection
Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC), a constituent of edible cruciferous vegetables, inhibits growth of breast cancer cells but the mechanisms underlying growth inhibitory effect of BITC are not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that BITC treatment causes FoxO1-mediated autophagic death in cultured human breast cancer cells. The BITC-treated breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, MDA-MB-468, BT-474, and BRI-JM04) and MDA-MB-231 xenografts from BITC-treated mice exhibited several features characteristic of autophagy, including appearance of double-membrane vacuoles (transmission electron microscopy) and acidic vesicular organelles (acridine orange staining), cleavage of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), and/or suppression of p62 (p62/SQSTM1 or sequestosome 1) expression. On the other hand, a normal human mammary epithelial cell line (MCF-10A) was resistant to BITC-induced autophagy. BITC-mediated inhibition of MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cell viability was partially but statistically significantly attenuated in the presence of autophagy inhibitors 3-methyl adenine and bafilomycin A1. Stable overexpression of Mn-superoxide dismutase, which was fully protective against apoptosis, conferred only partial protection against BITC-induced autophagy. BITC treatment decreased phosphorylation of mTOR and its downstream targets (P70s6k and 4E-BP1) in cultured MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells and MDA-MB-231 xenografts, but activation of mTOR by transient overexpression of its positive regulator Rheb failed to confer protection against BITC-induced autophagy. Autophagy induction by BITC was associated with increased expression and acetylation of FoxO1. Furthermore, autophagy induction and cell growth inhibition resulting from BITC exposure were significantly attenuated by small interfering RNA knockdown of FoxO1. In conclusion, the present study provides novel insights into the molecular circuitry of BITC-induced cell death involving FoxO1-mediated autophagy.
Macro-autophagy is associated with drug resistance in various cancers and can function as an adaptive response to maintain cell survival under metabolic stresses, including androgen deprivation. Androgen deprivation or treatment with androgen receptor (AR) signaling inhibitor (ARSI), Enzalutamide (MDV-3100, ENZA) or bicalutamide induced autophagy in androgen-dependent and in castration-resistant CaP (castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)) cell lines. The autophagic cascade triggered by AR blockage, correlated with the increased light chain 3-II/I ratio and ATG-5 expression. Autophagy was observed in a subpopulation of C4-2B cells that developed insensitivity to ENZA after sustained exposure in culture. Using flow cytometry and clonogenic assays, we showed that inhibiting autophagy with clomipramine (CMI), chloroquine or metformin increased apoptosis and significantly impaired cell viability. This autophagic process was mediated by AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK) activation and the suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) through Raptor phosphorylation (Serine 792). Furthermore, small interfering RNA targeting AMPK significantly inhibited autophagy and promoted cell death in CaP cells acutely or chronically exposed to ENZA or androgen deprivation, suggesting that autophagy is an important survival mechanism in CRPC. Lastly, in vivo studies with mice orthotopically implanted with ENZA-resistant cells demonstrated that the combination of ENZA and autophagy modulators, CMI or metformin significantly reduced tumor growth when compared with control groups (P<0.005). In conclusion, autophagy is as an important mechanism of resistance to ARSI in CRPC. Antiandrogen-induced autophagy is mediated through the activation of AMPK pathway and the suppression of mTOR pathway. Blocking autophagy pharmacologically or genetically significantly impairs prostate cancer cell survival in vitro and in vivo, implying the therapeutics potential of autophagy inhibitors in the antiandrogen-resistance setting.
Dietary intake of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) has been reported to decrease several markers of lymphocyte activation and modulate monocyte susceptibility to apoptosis. However most human studies examined the combined effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) using relatively high daily amounts of n-3 PUFA. The present study investigated the effects of increasing doses of DHA added to the regular diet of human healthy volunteers on lymphocyte response to tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA) plus ionomycin activation, and on monocyte apoptosis induced by oxidized LDL (oxLDL). Eight subjects were supplemented with increasing daily doses of DHA (200, 400, 800 and 1600mg) in a triacylglycerol form containing DHA as the only PUFA, for two weeks each dose. DHA intake dose-dependently increased the proportion of DHA in mononuclear cell phospholipids, the augmentation being significant after 400mg DHA/day. The TPA plus ionomycin-stimulated IL-2 mRNA level started to increase after ingestion of 400mg DHA/day, with a maximum after 800mg intake, and was positively correlated (P<0.003) with DHA enrichment in cell phospholipids. The treatment of monocytes by oxLDL before DHA supplementation drastically reduced mitochondrial membrane potential as compared with native LDL treatment. OxLDL apoptotic effect was significantly attenuated after 400mg DHA/day and the protective effect was maintained throughout the experiment, although to a lesser extent at higher doses. The present results show that supplementation of the human diet with low DHA dosages improves lymphocyte activability. It also increases monocyte resistance to oxLDL-induced apoptosis, which may be beneficial in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
DHA enrichment; interleukin-2; mitochondrial membrane potential; oxidized LDL
Breast cancer is a collection of diseases in which molecular phenotypes can act as both indicators and mediators of therapeutic strategy. Therefore, candidate therapeutics must be assessed in the context of multiple cell lines with known molecular phenotypes. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and curcumin (CCM) are dietary compounds known to antagonize breast cancer cell proliferation. We report that these compounds in combination exert a variable antiproliferative effect across multiple breast cell lines, which is synergistic in SK-BR-3 cells and triggers cell signaling events not predicted by the activity of either compound alone.
Dose response curves for CCM and DHA were generated for five breast cell lines. Effects of the DHA+ CCM combination on cell proliferation were evaluated using varying concentrations, at a fixed ratio, of CCM and DHA based on their individual ED50. Detection of synergy was performed using nonlinear regression of a sigmoid dose response model and Combination Index approaches. Cell molecular network responses were investigated through whole genome microarray analysis of transcript level changes. Gene expression results were validated by RT-PCR, and western blot analysis was performed for potential signaling mediators. Cellular curcumin uptake, with and without DHA, was analyzed via flow cytometry and HPLC.
CCM+DHA had an antiproliferative effect in SK-BR-3, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-361, MCF7 and MCF10AT cells. The effect was synergistic for SK-BR-3 (ER- PR- Her2+) relative to the two compounds individually. A whole genome microarray approach was used to investigate changes in gene expression for the synergistic effects of CCM+DHA in SK-BR-3 cells lines. CCM+DHA triggered transcript-level responses, in disease-relevant functional categories, that were largely non-overlapping with changes caused by CCM or DHA individually. Genes involved in cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, inhibition of metastasis, and cell adhesion were upregulated, whereas genes involved in cancer development and progression, metastasis, and cell cycle progression were downregulated. Cellular pools of PPARγ and phospho-p53 were increased by CCM+DHA relative to either compound alone. DHA enhanced cellular uptake of CCM in SK-BR-3 cells without significantly enhancing CCM uptake in other cell lines.
The combination of DHA and CCM is potentially a dietary supplemental treatment for some breast cancers, likely dependent upon molecular phenotype. DHA enhancement of cellular curcumin uptake is one potential mechanism for observed synergy in SK-BR-3 cells; however, transcriptomic data show that the antiproliferation synergy accompanies many signaling events unique to the combined presence of the two compounds.
To overcome drug resistance caused by apoptosis deficiency in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), there is a need to identify other means of triggering apoptosis-independent cancer cell death. We are the first to report that isogambogenic acid (iso-GNA) can induce apoptosis-independent autophagic cell death in human NSCLC cells. Several features of the iso-GNA-treated NSCLC cells indicated that iso-GNA induced autophagic cell death. First, there was no evidence of apoptosis or cleaved caspase 3 accumulation and activation. Second, iso-GNA treatment induced the formation of autophagic vacuoles, increased LC3 conversion, caused the appearance of autophagosomes and increased the expression of autophagy-related proteins. These findings provide evidence that iso-GNA induces autophagy in NSCLC cells. Third, iso-GNA-induced cell death was inhibited by autophagic inhibitors or by selective ablation of Atg7 and Beclin
1 genes. Furthermore, the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin increased iso-GNA-induced cell death by enhancing autophagy. Finally, a xenograft model provided additional evidence that iso-GNA exhibited anticancer effect through inducing autophagy-dependent cell death in NSCLC cells. Taken together, our results demonstrated that iso-GNA exhibited an anticancer effect by inducing autophagy-dependent cell death in NSCLC cells, which may be an effective chemotherapeutic agent that can be used against NSCLC in a clinical setting.
The role of autophagy in cisplatin anticancer action was investigated using human U251 glioma, rat C6 glioma and mouse L929 fibrosarcoma cell lines. A dose- and time-dependent induction of autophagy was observed in tumour cells following cisplatin treatment, as demonstrated by up-regulation of autophagy-inducing protein beclin-1 and subsequent appearance of acridine orange-stained acidic autophagic vesicles. The presence of autophagosomes in cisplatin-treated cells was also confirmed by electron microscopy. Inhibition of autophagy with lysosomal inhibitors bafilomycin A1 and chloroquine, or a PI3 kinase inhibitor wortmannin, markedly augmented cisplatin-triggered oxidative stress and caspase activation, leading to an increase in DNA fragmentation and apoptotic cell death. The mechanisms underlying the protective effect of autophagy apparently involved the interference with cisplatin-induced modulation of Bcl-2 family proteins, as inhibition of autophagy potentiated cisplatin-mediated up-regulation of proapoptotic Bax and down-regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2. Autophagy induction in cisplatin-treated cells was preceded by activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and concomitant down-regulation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-mediated phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase. The ability of cisplatin to trigger autophagy was reduced by small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated AMPK silencing, while transfection with mTOR siRNA was sufficient to trigger autophagy in tumour cells. Finally, siRNA-mediated AMPK down-regulation and AMPK inhibitor compound C increased cisplatin-induced tumour cell death, while mTOR siRNA and AMPK activator metformin protected tumour cells from cisplatin. Taken together, these data suggest that cisplatin-triggered activation of AMPK and subsequent suppression of mTOR activity can induce an autophagic response that protects tumour cells from cisplatin-mediated apoptotic death.
cisplatin; cancer; autophagy; apoptosis; AMPK; mTOR
Plumbagin (PLB) has been shown to have anticancer activities in animal models, but the role of PLB in prostate cancer treatment is unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of PLB on apoptosis and autophagy and the underlying mechanisms in human prostate cancer cell lines PC-3 and DU145. Our study has shown that PLB had potent pro-apoptotic and pro-autophagic effects on PC-3 and DU145 cells. PLB induced mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and autophagy in concentration- and time-dependent manners in both PC-3 and DU145 cells. PLB induced inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways and activation of 5′-AMP-dependent kinase (AMPK) as indicated by their altered phosphorylation, contributing to the pro-autophagic activity of PLB. Modulation of autophagy altered basal and PLB-induced apoptosis in both cell lines. Furthermore, PLB downregulated sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), and inhibition of Sirt1 enhanced autophagy, whereas the induction of Sirt1 abolished PLB-induced autophagy in PC-3 and DU145 cells. In addition, PLB downregulated pre-B cell colony-enhancing factor/visfatin, and the inhibition of pre-B cell colony-enhancing factor/visfatin significantly enhanced basal and PLB-induced apoptosis and autophagy in both cell lines. Moreover, reduction of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level attenuated the apoptosis- and autophagy-inducing effects of PLB on both PC-3 and DU145 cells. These findings indicate that PLB promotes apoptosis and autophagy in prostate cancer cells via Sirt1- and PI3K/Akt/mTOR-mediated pathways with contribution from AMPK-, p38 MAPK-, visfatin-, and ROS-associated pathways.
AMPK; visfatin; PC-3; DU145; ROS
Our previous study has shown that ampelopsin (AMP), a flavonol mainly found in Ampelopsis grossedentata, could induce cell death in human breast cancer cells via reactive oxygen species generation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway. Here, we examined whether autophagy is activated in AMP-treated breast cancer cells and, if so, sought to find the exact role and underlying molecular profile of autophagy in AMP-induced cell death. Our results showed that AMP treatment activated autophagy in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells, as evidenced by the accumulation of autophagosomes, an increase of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta-2 (LC3B-II) and the conversion of LC3B-I to LC3B-II, the degradation of the selective autophagic target p62/SQSTM1, and the formation of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-LC3 puncta. Blockage of autophagy augmented AMP-induced cell death, suggesting that autophagy has cytoprotective effects. Meanwhile, AMP treatment suppressed Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway as evidenced by dose- and time-dependent decrease of the phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR and ribosomal protein S6 kinase (p70S6K), whereas Akt activator insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) pretreatment partially restored Akt-mTOR pathway inhibited by AMP and decreased AMP-inuduced autophagy, signifying that AMP activated autophagy via inhibition of the Akt-mTOR pathway. Additionally, blocking ER stress not only reduced autophagy induction, but also alleviated inhibition of the Akt-mTOR pathway induced by AMP, suggesting that activation of ER stress was involved in induction of autophagy and inhibition of the Akt-mTOR pathway. Taken together, these findings indicate that AMP induces protective autophagy in human breast cancer cells through Akt-mTOR pathway via ER stress.
Ampelopsin; autophagy; breast cancer; endoplasmic reticulum stress; mammalian target of rapamycin
Background. Accumulation of free fatty acids leads to lipid-toxicity-associated skeletal muscle atrophy. Palmitate treatment reduces myoblast and myotube growth and causes apoptosis in vitro. It is not known if omega-3 fatty acids will protect muscle cells against palmitate toxicity. Therefore, we examined the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on skeletal muscle growth. Methods. Mouse myoblasts (C2C12) were differentiated to myotubes, and then treated with 0 or 0.5 mM palmitic acid or 0 or 0.1 mM DHA. Results. Intramyocellular lipid was increased in palmitate-treated cells but was prevented by DHA-palmitate cotreatment. Total AMPK increased in DHA+ palmitate-treated compared to palmitate only cells. RpS6 phosphorylation decreased after palmitate (−55%) and this was blunted by DHA+ palmitate (−35%) treatment. Palmitate treatment decreased PGC1α protein expression by 69%, but was increased 165% with DHA+ palmitate (P = 0.017) versus palmitate alone. While palmitate induced 25% and 90% atrophy in myotubes (after 48 hours and 96 hours, resp.), DHA+ palmitate treatment caused myotube hypertrophy of ~50% and 100% after 48 and 96 hours, respectively. Conclusion. These data show that DHA is protective against palmitate-induced atrophy. Although DHA did not activate the AMPK pathway, DHA treatment restored growth-signaling (i.e., rpS6) and rescued palmitate-induced muscle atrophy.