Combinations of proteasome inhibitors and histone deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitors appear to be the most potent to produce synergistic cytotoxicity in preclinical trials. We have recently confirmed that L-carnitine (LC) is an endogenous HDAC inhibitor. In the current study, the anti-tumor effect of LC plus proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (velcade, Vel) was investigated both in cultured hepatoma cancer cells and in Balb/c mice bearing HepG2 tumor. Cell death and cell viability were assayed by flow cytometry and MTS, respectively. Gene, mRNA expression and protein levels were detected by gene microarray, quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot, respectively. The effect of Vel on the acetylation of histone H3 associated with the p21cip1 gene promoter was examined by using ChIP assay and proteasome peptidase activity was detected by cell-based chymotrypsin-like (CT-like) activity assay. Here we report that (i) the combination of LC and Vel synergistically induces cytotoxicity in vitro; (ii) the combination also synergistically inhibits tumor growth in vivo; (iii) two major pathways are involved in the synergistical effects of the combinational treatment: increased p21cip1 expression and histone acetylation in vitro and in vivo and enhanced Vel-induced proteasome inhibition by LC. The synergistic effect of LC and Vel in cancer therapy should have great potential in the future clinical trials.
AIM: To determine the effect and molecular mechanism of ezrin-radixin-moesin-binding phosphoprotein-50 (EBP50) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Three human HCC cell lines, i.e., SM-MC7721, HepG2 and Hep3B, were used. We transfected the Pbk-CMV-HA-EBP50 plasmid into SMMC7721 cells with Lipofectamine 2000 to overexpress EBP50. Western blotting were performed to determine the effects of the plasmid on EBP50 expression and to detect the expression of β-catenin and E-cadherin before and after the transfection of the plasmid into SMMC7721 cells. In vitro cell proliferation was assessed with a Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. Cell cycle distribution was assessed with flow cytometry. Invasion and migration ability of before and after the transfection were determined with a transwell assay. Cell apoptosis was demonstrated with Annexin V-FITC. The effect of EBP50 overexpressing on tumor growth in vivo was performed with a xenograft tumor model in nude mice.
RESULTS: The transfection efficiency was confirmed with Western blotting (1.36 ± 0.07 vs 0.81 ± 0.09, P < 0.01). The CCK8 assay demonstrated that the growth of cells overexpressing EBP50 was significantly lower than control cells (P < 0.01). Cell cycle distribution showed there was a G0/G1 cell cycle arrest in cells overexpressing EBP50 (61.3% ± 3.1% vs 54.0% ± 2.4%, P < 0.05). The transwell assay showed that cell invasion and migration were significantly inhibited in cells overexpressing EBP50 compared with control cells (5.8 ± 0.8 vs 21.6 ± 1.3, P < 0.01). Annexin V-FITC revealed that apoptosis was significantly increased in cells overexpressing EBP50 compared with control cells (14.8% ± 2.7% vs 3.4% ± 1.3%, P < 0.05). The expression of β-catenin was downregulated and E-cadherin was upregulated in cells overexpressing EBP50 compared with control cells (0.28 ± 0.07 vs 0.56 ± 0.12, P < 0.05; 0.55 ± 0.08 vs 0.39 ± 0.07, P < 0.05). In vivo tumor growth assay conﬁrmed that up-regulation of EBP50 could obviously slow the growth of HCC derived from SMMC7721 cells (28.9 ± 7.2 vs 70.1 ± 7.2, P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: The overexpression of EBP50 could inhibit the growth of SMMC7721 cells and promote apoptosis by modulating β-catenin, E-cadherin. EBP50 may serve asa potential therapeutic target in HCC.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Ezrin-radixin-moesin-binding phosphoprotein-50; Growth; Migration; Invasion
The anti-tumor antibiotic salinomycin (Sal) was recently identified as a selective inhibitor of breast cancer stem cells; however, the effect of Sal on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not clear. This study aimed to determine the anti-tumor efficacy and mechanism of Sal on HCC. HCC cell lines (HepG2, SMMC-7721, and BEL-7402) were treated with Sal. Cell doubling time was determinated by drawing growth curve, cell viability was evaluated using the Cell Counting Kit 8. The fraction of CD133+ cell subpopulations was assessed by flow cytometry. We found that Sal inhibits proliferation and decreases PCNA levels as well as the proportion of HCC CD133+cell subpopulations in HCC cells. Cell cycle was analyzed using flow cytometry and showed that Sal caused cell cycle arrest of the various HCC cell lines in different phases. Cell apoptosis was evaluated using flow cytometry and Hoechst 33342 staining. Sal induced apoptosis as characterized by an increase in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. Several signaling pathways were selected for further mechanistic analyses using real time-PCR and Western blot assays. Compared to control, β-catenin expression is significantly down-regulated upon Sal addition. The Ca2+ concentration in HCC cells was examined by flow cytometry and higher Ca2+ concentrations were observed in Sal treatment groups. The anti-tumor effect of Sal was further verified in vivo using the hepatoma orthotopic tumor model and the data obtained showed that the size of liver tumors in Sal-treated groups decreased compared to controls. Immunohistochemistry and TUNEL staining also demonstrated that Sal inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in vivo. Finally, the role of Sal on in vivo Wnt/β-catenin signaling was evaluated by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. This study demonstrates Sal inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis of HCC cells in vitro and in vivo and one potential mechanism is inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling via increased intracellular Ca2+ levels.
Plasmalogens play multiple roles in the structures of biological membranes, cell membrane lipid homeostasis and human diseases. We report the isolation and identification of choline plasmalogens (ChoPlas) from swine liver by high performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/MS. The growth and viability of hepatoma cells (CBRH7919, HepG2 and SMMC7721) was determined following ChoPlas treatment comparing with that of human normal immortal cell lines (HL7702). Result indicated that ChoPlas inhibited hepatoma cell proliferation with an optimal concentration and time of 25 μmol/L and 24 h. To better understand the mechanism of the ChoPlas-induced inhibition of hepatoma cell proliferation, Caveolin-1 and PI3K/Akt pathway signals, including total Akt, phospho-Akt(pAkt) and Bcl-2 expression in CBRH7919 cells, were determined by western blot. ChoPlas treatment increased Caveolin-1 expression and reduced the expression of phospho-Akt (pAkt) and Bcl-2, downstream targets of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Further cell cycle analysis showed that ChoPlas treatment induced G1 and G1/S phase transition cell cycle arrest. The expression of essential cell cycle regulatory proteins involved in the G1 and G1/S phase transitions, cyclin D, CDK4, cyclin E and CDK2, were also analyzed by western blot. ChoPlas reduced CDK4, cyclin E and CDK2 expression. Taken together, the results indicate that swine liver-derived natural ChoPlas inhibits hepatoma cell proliferation associated with Caveolin-1 and PI3K/Akt signals.
AIM: To investigate the role of hepatopoietin Cn (HPPCn) in apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and its mechanism.
METHODS: Two human HCC cell lines, SMMC7721 and HepG2, were used in this study. Immunostaining, Western blotting and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay were conducted to identify the expression of HPPCn and the existence of an autocrine loop of HPPCn/HPPCn receptor in SMMC7721 and HepG2. Apoptotic cells were detected using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-conjugated Annexin V and propidium iodide.
RESULTS: The HPPCn was highly expressed in human HCC cells and secreted into culture medium (CM). FITC-labeled recombinant human protein (rhHPPCn) could specifically bind to its receptor on HepaG2 cells. Treatment with 400 ng/mL rhHPPCn dramatically increased the viability of HCC-derived cells from 48.1% and 36.9% to 85.6% and 88.4%, respectively (P < 0.05). HPPCn silenced by small-interfering RNA reduced the expression and secretion of HPPCn and increased the apoptosis induced by trichostatin A. Additionally, HPPCn could up-regulate the expression of myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in HCC cells via mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and sphingosine kinase-1.
CONCLUSION: HPPCn is a novel hepatic growth factor that can be secreted to CM and suppresses apoptosis of HCC cells by up-regulating Mcl-1 expression.
Hepatopoietin Cn; Autocrine; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Apoptosis; Myeloid cell leukemia-1
AIM: To investigate the signaling pathways implicated in phosphatidylethanolamine (PE)-induced apoptosis of human hepatoma HepG2 cells.
METHODS: Inhibitory effects of PE on human hepatoma HepG2 cells were detected by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cell cycle, apoptosis and mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) were analyzed by flow cytometry. Immunocytochemical assay and Western blotting were used to examine Bcl-2, Bax and caspase-3 protein levels in HepG2 cells treated with PE.
RESULTS: PE inhibited the growth of HepG2 cells in a dose- and time- dependent manner. It did not affect the cell cycle, but induced apoptosis. PE significantly decreased δΨm at 0.25, 0.5 and 1 mmol/L, respectively, suggesting that PE induces cell apoptosis by decreasing the mitochondrial transmembrane potential. The Bcl-2 expression level induced by different concentrations of PE was lower than that in control groups. However, the Bax expression level induced by PE was higher than that in the control group. Meanwhile, PE increased the caspase-3 expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner.
CONCLUSION: Exogenous PE induces apoptosis of human hepatoma HepG2 cells via the bcl-2/bax pathway.
Apoptosis; Bcl-2; Bax; Caspase-3; Phosphatidylethanolamine; Human hepatoma HepG2 cell
Urea derivatives have been widely used in biology and medicine. The substituted urea derivative URD12 introduced in this study exhibits cytotoxic activity against the K562 human leukemia and KB human mouth epidermal carcinoma cell lines. To further study the bioactivity of URD12 and examine its feasibility as a new antitumor drug, we applied in vivo and in vitro assays to investigate the antitumor activity of URD12. URD12 was prepared and its cytotoxicity was evaluated using the BGC-823 human gastric carcinoma, MGC-803 human gastric carcinoma, SMMC-7721 human hepatoma and HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines using MTT assays. Antitumor activity in vivo was confirmed in mice bearing H22 hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Organ coefficient was used to further elucidate the cytotoxic mechanisms of URD12. URD12 inhibited the growth of tested tumor cell lines in vitro and the growth of H22 mouse hepatocellular carcinoma in vivo with no effects on the weight, spleen and thymus coefficient of tumor-bearing mice. In conclusion, our findings indicate that URD12 is an effective antitumor agent without evident immunosuppression effects.
morpholine; antitumor; immune; urea derivative
AIM: To study the expression and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1 and ERK2 in multidrug resistant (MDR) hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells.
METHODS: MDR HCC cell lines, HepG2/adriamycin (ADM) and SMMC7721/ADM, were developed by exposing parental cells to stepwise increasing concentrations of ADM. MTT assay was used to determine drug sensitivity. Flow cytometry was employed to analyze cell cycle distribution and measure cell P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multidrug resistant protein 1 (MRP1) expression levels. ERK1 and ERK2 mRNA expression levels were measured by quantitative real-time PCR (QRT-PCR). Expression and phosphorylation of ERK1 and ERK2 were analyzed by Western blot.
RESULTS: MTT assay showed that HepG2/ADM and SMMC7721/ADM were resistant not only to ADM, but also to multiple anticancer drugs. The P-gp expression was over 10-fold higher in HepG2/ADM cells than in HepG2 cells (8.92% ± 0.22% vs 0.88% ± 0.05%, P < 0.001) and over 4-fold higher in SMMC7721/ADM cells than in SMMC7721 cells (7.37% ± 0.26% vs 1.74% ± 0.25%, P < 0.001). However, the MRP1 expression was not significantly higher in HepG2/ADM and SMMC7721/ADM cells than in parental cells. In addition, the percentage of MDR HepG2/ADM and SMMC7721/ADM cells was significantly decreased in the G0/G1 phase and increased in the the S phase or G2/M phase. QRT-PCR analysis demonstrated that the ERK1 and ERK2 mRNA expression increased apparently in HepG2/ADM cells and decreased significantly in SMMC7721/ADM cells. Compared with the expression of parental cells, ERK1 and ERK2 protein expressions were markedly decreased in SMMC7721/ADM cells. However, ERK2 protein expression was markedly increased while ERK1 protein expression had no significant change in HepG2/ADM cells. Phosphorylation of ERK1 and ERK2 was markedly decreased in both HepG2/ADM and SMMC7721/ADM MDR cells.
CONCLUSION: ERK1 and ERK2 activities are down-regulated in P-gp-mediated MDR HCC cells. ERK1 or ERK2 might be a potential drug target for circumventing MDR HCC cells.
Multidrug resistance; Extracellular signal-regulated MAP kinases; Hepatocellular carcinoma; P-glycoprotein; Multidrug resistance-associated protein
Objective: To investigate the effect of berbamine on human hepatoma cell line SMMC7721. Methods: The effects of 24 h and 48 h incubation with different concentrations (0~64 μg/ml) of the berbamine on SMMC7721 cells were evaluated using 3-4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Hoechst 33258 staining was conducted to distinguish the apoptotic cell, and the appearance of sub-G1 stage was determined by PI (propidium iodide) staining, the percentage of apoptotic cell was determined by flow cytometry following annexin V/PI staining. Flow cytometry was performed to analyze the cell cycle distribution and the mitochondrial membrane potential (∆ψ
m); the expression of activated caspase3 and caspase9 was analyzed by Western-blot. Results: The proliferation of SMMC7721 was decreased after treatment with berbamine in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Berbamine could induce apoptosis in SMMC7721 cells and could cause cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase, to induce loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (∆ψ
m) and activate caspase3 and caspase9. Berbamine-induced apoptosis could be blocked by the broad caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk. Conclusion: Berbamine exerts antiproliferative effects on human hepatocellular carcinoma SMMC7721 cells. The anticancer activity of berbamine could be attributed partly to its inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis in cancer cells through loss in mitochondrial transmembrane potential and caspase activation.
Berbamine; Apoptosis; Mitochondrial membrane potential; Caspase; Hepatoma
AIM: To study the antitumor effect of matrine in human hepatoma G2 (HepG2) cells and its molecular mechanism involved in antineoplastic activities.
METHODS: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was used to detect viability of HepG2 cells. The effect of matrine on cell cycle was detected by ﬂow cytometry. Annexin-V-FITC/PI double staining assay was used to detect cellular apoptosis. Cellular morphological changes were observed under an inverted phase contrast microscope. Transmission electron microscopy was performed to further examine ultrastructural structure of the cells treated with matrine. Monodansylcadaverine (MDC) staining was used to detect autophagy. Whether autophagy is blocked by 3-methyladenine (3-MA), an autophagy inhibitor, was evaluated. Expression levels of Bax and Beclin 1 in HepG2 cells were measured by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS: Matrine significantly inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, and induced G1-phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The total apoptosis rate was 0.14% for HepG2 cells not treated with matrine. In contrast, the apoptosis rate was 28.91%, 34.36% and 38.80%, respectively, for HepG2 cells treated with matrine at the concentration of 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 mg/mL. The remarkable morphological changes were observed under an inverted phase contrast microscope. Abundant cytoplasmic vacuoles with varying sizes were observed in HepG2 cells treated with matrine. Furthermore, vacuolization in cytoplasm progressively became larger and denser when the concentration of matrine was increased. Electron microscopy demonstrated formation of abundant autophagic vacuoles in HepG2 cells after matrine treatment. When the specific autophagic inhibitor, 3-MA, was applied, the number of autophagic vacuoles greatly decreased. MDC staining showed that the fluorescent density was higher and the number of MDC-labeled particles in HepG2 cells was greater in matrine treatment group than in control group. Fewer autophagic vacuoles were observed in the combined 3-MA and matrine treatment group when 3-MA was added before matrine treatment, indicating that both autophagy and apoptosis are activated when matrine-induced death of hepatoma G2 cells occurs. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the expression levels of Bax gene, an apoptosis-related molecule, and Beclin 1 gene which plays a key role in autophagy were higher in matrine treatment group than in control group, indicating that Beclin 1 is involved in matrine-induced autophagy and the pro-apoptotic mechanism of matrine may be related to its upregulation of Bax expression.
CONCLUSION: Matrine has potent antitumor activities in HepG2 cells and may be used as a novel effective reagent in treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Matrine; Autophagy; Apoptosis; Bax; Beclin 1; Hepatocellular carcinoma
We have reported previously that overexpression of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) promotes the invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma. However, whether GRP78 knockdown affects the extracellular matrix degradation has not been elucidated. Here we are going to determine whether GRP78 knockdown affect the ECM degradation and the role of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in these process in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line SMMC7721 and HepG2 were cultured in DMEM supplemented with 10% FBS, RT-PCR and western blot were used to detect the endogenous expression of GRP78, MMP-2, MMP-9 and TIMP-2 in SMMC7721 and HepG2. GRP78 shRNAs were transfected using lipofection2000. Transwell assay and wound healing assay were used to analyze the invasion of each transfectant. Gelatin zymography and FITC-gelatin degradation assay were employed to investigate the capabilities of ECM degradation of each transfectant. MTT assay was used to determine the proliferation status. Western blot was employed to detect the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 2(MMP-2), MMP-9, MMP-14, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 2(TIMP-2), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), ERK1/2, JNK and Src.
According to the expression levels of GRP78, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14 and TIMP-1 in hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines SMMC7721 and hepG2, we used SMMC7721 as the in vitro invasion model for further functional analysis. Using this model, we found that GRP78 knockdown decreased the invasion of tumor cells, and this inhibitory effect was independent of cell proliferation. In hepatocellular carcinoma cells, Grp78 knockdown inhibited ECM degradation and the decreased activity and expression of MMP-2, but not MMP-9 contributed largely to this impact. Further analysis revealed that the decreased activity and expression of MMP-2 is mediated by JNK.
Knockdown of GRP78 decreases ECM degradation, and downregulates the expression and activity of MMP-2 and TIMP-2. These results further demonstrate that GRP78 is a potential target for inhibiting the invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
GRP78; ECM degradation; MMP-2; JNK
β-elemene, a natural sesquiterpene extracted from the essential oils of Curcuma aromatica Salisb, has been shown to be effective against a wide range of tumors. In this study, the antitumor effect of β-elemene on a human hepatoma cell line, HepG2, and the mechanism involved have been investigated.
MTT assay was used to determine the growth inhibition of hepatoma HepG2 cells in vitro. Apoptosis of HepG2 cells were demonstrated by fluorescence microscope with Hoechst 33258 staining and flow cytometry with Annexin V-FITC/PI double staining. Flow cytometry was performed to analyze the cell cycle distribution of HepG2 cells. The mRNA and protein expression of Fas and FasL were measured by RT-PCR and Western blot analysis.
MTT results showed that β-elemene could inhibit the proliferation of HepG2 cells in a time- and dose- dependent manner. Our results showed β-elemene had positive effect on apoptosis through fluorescence microscope and flow cytometry assay. Furthermore, β-elemene could induce the cell cycle arrest of the HepG2 cells in the G2/M phase. Fas and FasL expression were obviously increased after β-elemene treatment in both mRNA and protein level.
The present study indicates that β-elemene can effectively inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in hepatoma HepG2 cells, and the apoptosis induction is related with up-regulating of Fas/FasL expression.
Hepatoma; β-elemene; Apoptosis; Fas; FasL
Norcantharidin, the demethylated analog of cantharidin derived from a traditional Chinese medicine, Mylabris, has been used in the treatment of anti-cancer effects. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying this process are generally unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of NCTD-induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells.
The cytotoxicity was measured by MTT assay for cellular viability and by flow cytometry. The mitochondrial membrane potential and reactive oxygen species production was evaluated by flow cytometry analysis. The role of caspase activities were assayed using caspase apoptosis detection kit . Western blot analysis was used to evaluate the level of Cyto-C, Bcl-2, Bax, Bid, caspase 3, -9, -8 and PARP expression
After treatment with NCTD, a decrease in the viability of HepG2 cells and increase in apoptosis were observed. NCTD-induced apoptosis was accompanied by an increase in ROS production, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and release of cytochrome c(cyto-c) from the mitochondria to the cytosol and down-regulation of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 levels with concurrent up-regulation in pro-apoptotic protein Bax levels. However, another pro-apoptotic molecule, Bid, showed no change in such same treatment. NCTD-increased activity of caspase 9,caspase 3 and the subsequent cleavage caspase substrate PARP were also observed. The expression levels of pro-caspase-8 were not changed after NCTD treatment.
These results indicate that NCTD induced cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells by apoptosis, which is mediated through ROS generation and mitochondrial pathway.
Cadmium telluride quantum dots (Cdte QDs) have received significant attention in biomedical research because of their potential in disease diagnosis and drug delivery. In this study, we have investigated the interaction mechanism and synergistic effect of 3-mercaptopropionic acid-capped Cdte QDs with the anti-cancer drug daunorubicin (DNR) on the induction of apoptosis using drug-resistant human hepatoma HepG2/ADM cells. Electrochemical assay revealed that Cdte QDs readily facilitated the uptake of the DNR into HepG2/ADM cells. Apoptotic staining, DNA fragmentation, and flow cytometry analysis further demonstrated that compared with Cdte QDs or DNR treatment alone, the apoptosis rate increased after the treatment of Cdte QDs together with DNR in HepG2/ADM cells. We observed that Cdte QDs treatment could reduce the effect of P-glycoprotein while the treatment of Cdte QDs together with DNR can clearly activate apoptosis-related caspases protein expression in HepG2/ADM cells. Moreover, our in vivo study indicated that the treatment of Cdte QDs together with DNR effectively inhibited the human hepatoma HepG2/ADM nude mice tumor growth. The increased cell apoptosis rate was closely correlated with the enhanced inhibition of tumor growth in the studied animals. Thus, Cdte QDs combined with DNR may serve as a possible alternative for targeted therapeutic approaches for some cancer treatments.
AIM: To investigate the effect of hepatoma cells on up-regulation of programmed cell death-1 (PD-1), and the function of PD-1 on T cells.
METHODS: HepG2 or HepG126.96.36.199 cells were co-cultured with a lymphoma cell line-Jurkat cells. PD-1 expression was detected by flow cytometry. IL-2, INF-γ and IL-10 in culture supernatant were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Cytotoxic action of T cells was determined by MTT reduction assay-direct mononuclear cell cytotoxicity assay.
RESULTS: The PD-1 expression on Jurkat cells increased by 16.17% ± 2.5% and 17.43% ± 2.2% after HepG2 or HepG188.8.131.52 cells were co-cultured for 48 h. The levels of IL-2, INF-γ and IL-10 in the culture supernatant were 202.9 ± 53.0 pg/mL, 88.6 ± 4.6 pg/mL and 63.7 ± 13.4 pg/mL respectively, which were significantly higher than those (102.9 ± 53 pg/mL, 39.3 ± 4.2 pg/mL, and 34.6 ±13.7 pg/mL) in the control group (P < 0.05). The OD value for MTT assay in the blocking group (0.29 ± 0.06) was significantly higher than that (0.19 ± 0.09) in the control group (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: PD-1 expression on Jurkat cells is up-regulated by hepatoma cells, cytokines and cytotoxic action are elevated after PD-1/PD-L1 is blocked.
Hepatoma cell; Programmed cell death-1; Protein expression; T cell function; Cytokine
AIM: To investigate the biological features of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-transfected HepG2.2.15 cells.
METHODS: The cell ultrastructure, cell cycle and apoptosis, and the abilities of proliferation and invasion of HBV-transfected HepG2.2.15 and the parent HepG2 cells were examined by electron microscopy, flow cytometry, 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and trans-well assay. Oncogenicity of the two cell lines was compared via subcutaneous injection and orthotopic injection or implantation in nude mice, and the pathological analysis of tumor formation was performed. Two cytoskeletal proteins were detected by Western blotting.
RESULTS: Compared with HepG2 cells, HepG2.2.15 cells showed organelle degeneration and filopodia disappearance under electron microscope. HepG2.2.15 cells proliferated and migrated slowly in vitro, and hardly formed tumor and lung metastasis in nude mice. Flow cytometry showed that the majority of HepG2.2.15 cells were arrested in G1 phase, and apoptosis was minor in both cell lines. Furthermore, the levels of cytoskeletal proteins F-actin and Ezrin were decreased in HepG2.2.15 cells.
CONCLUSION: HepG2.2.15 cells demonstrated a lower proliferation and invasion ability than the HepG2 cells due to HBV transfection.
HepG2.2.15; HepG2; Hepatitis B virus; Biological feature; Tumor
The purpose of this study is to investigate in vitro and ex vivo effects of matrine on the growth of human lung cancer and hepatoma cells and the cancer cell migration as well as the expressions of related proteins in the cancer cells. Matrine significantly inhibited the in vitro and ex vivo growth of human non-small cell lung cancer A549 and hepatoma SMMC-7721 cells. Matrine induced the apoptosis in A549 and SMMC-7721 cells. Western blot analysis indicated that matrine dose-dependently down-regulated the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and up-regulated the level of pro-apoptotic protein bax, eventually leading the reduction of ratios of Bcl-2/Bax proteins in A549 and SMMC-7721 cells. Furthermore, matrine significantly suppressed the A549 cell migration without reducing the cell viability. In addition, matrine dramatically reduced the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor A in A549 cells. More importantly, matrine markedly enhanced the anticancer activity of anticancer agent trichostatin A (the histone deacetylase inhibitor) by strongly reducing the viability and/or the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax protein in A549 cells. Our findings suggest that matrine may have the broad therapeutic and/or adjuvant therapeutic application in the treatment of human non-small cell lung cancer and hepatoma.
Matrine; Trichostatin A; Non-small cell lung cancer; Hepatoma, growth; Migration; Bcl-2/Bax; Vascular endothelial growth factor
The growth inhibitory effects of D-glucosamine hydrochloride (GlcNH2·HCl), D-glucosamine (GlcNH2) and N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) on human hepatoma SMMC-7721 cells in vitro were investigated. The results showed that GlcNH2·HCl and GlcNH2 resulted in a concentration-dependent reduction in hepatoma cell growth as measured by MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay. This effect was accompanied by a marked increase in the proportion of S cells as analyzed by flow cytometry. In addition, human hepatoma SMMC-7721 cells treated with GlcNH2·HCl resulted in the induction of apoptosis as assayed qualitatively by agarose gel electrophoresis. NAG could not inhibit the proliferation of SMMC-7721 cells. GlcNH2·HCl exhibited antitumor activity against Sarcoma 180 in Kunming mice at dosage of 125~500 mg/kg, dose of 250 mg/kg being the best. GlcNH2·HCl at dose of 250 mg/kg could enhance significantly the thymus index, and spleen index and could promote T lymphocyte proliferation induced by ConA. The antitumor effect of GlcNH2·HCl is probably host-mediated and cytocidal.
D-glucosamine hydrochloride; D-glucosamine; N-acetyl glucosamine; Antitumor; Human hepatoma cell; Sarcoma 180
AIM: To investigate the effects of Annexin A2 (ANXA2) silencing on invasion, migration, and tumorigenic potential of hepatoma cells.
METHODS: Human hepatoma cell lines [HepG2, SMMC-7721, SMMC-7402, and MHCC97-H, a novel human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell line with high metastasis potential] and a normal hepatocyte cell line (LO2) were used in this study. The protein and mRNA expression levels of ANXA2 were analysed by western blotting and real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively. The intracellular distribution profile of ANXA2 expression was determined by immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry. Short hairpin RNA targeting ANXA2 was designed and stably transfected into MHCC97-H cells. Cells were cultured for in vitro analyses or subcutaneously injected as xenografts in mice for in vivo analyses. Effects of ANXA2 silencing on cell growth were assessed by cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay (in vitro) and tumour-growth assay (in vivo), on cell cycling was assessed by flow cytometry and propidium iodide staining (in vitro), and on invasion and migration potential were assessed by transwell assay and wound-healing assay, respectively (both in vitro).
RESULTS: The MHCC97-H cells, which are known to have high metastasis potential, showed the highest level of ANXA2 expression among the four HCC cell types examined; compared to the LO2 cells, the MHCC97-H expression level was 8-times higher. The ANXA2 expression was effectively inhibited (about 80%) by ANXA2-speciﬁc small hairpin RNA (shRNA). ANXA2 expression in the MHCC97-H cells was mainly localized to the cellular membrane and cytoplasm, and some localization was detected in the nucleus. Moreover, the proliferation of MHCC97-H cells was obviously suppressed by shRNA-mediated ANXA2 silencing in vitro, and the tumour growth inhibition rate was 38.24% in vivo. The percentage of MHCC97-H cells in S phase dramatically decreased (to 27.76%) under ANXA2-silenced conditions. Furthermore, ANXA2-silenced MHCC97-H cells showed lower invasiveness (percentage of invading cells decreased to 52.16%) and suppressed migratory capacity (migration distance decreased to 63.49%). It is also worth noting that shRNA-mediated silencing of ANXA2 in the MHCC97-H cells led to abnormal apoptosis.
CONCLUSION: shRNA-mediated silencing of ANXA2 suppresses the invasion, migration, and tumorigenic potential of hepatoma cells, and may represent a useful target of future molecular therapies.
Annexin A2; Small hairpin RNA; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Invasion; Migration; Tumorigenic potential
The aim of this study was to develop an antiGPC3-ultrasuperparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) probe for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma.
GPC3 and AFP receptors were selected as biomarkers and conjugated with USPIO nanoparticles coated by dextran with carboxylate groups to synthesize antiGPC3-USPIO and antiAFP-USPIO probes. HepG2 cells (a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell model with high expression of GPC3) were used along with SMMC-7721 cells (a hepatocellular carcinoma cell model with no expression of GPC3), HeLa cells (a cervical cancer model), and HL-7702 (normal hepatocytes) which were used as controls. After incubation with the probes, the iron content in the cells was calculated, USPIO nanoparticles in cells were observed using transmission electron microscopy, and T1 and T2 relaxation times were measured with a 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner.
AntiGPC3-USPIO probes with a mean hydrodynamic diameter of 47 nm showed good biological compatibility. Transmission electron microscopic images indicated that the amount of USPIO nanoparticles taken up was significantly higher in HepG2 cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO than that in HepG2 cells incubated with antiAFP-USPIO or USPIO nanoparticles and that in the SMMC-7721 or HeLa cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO probes, antiAFP-USPIO probes, or USPIO nanoparticles. The higher the concentration and the longer the incubation time, the greater the number of USPIO nanoparticles found in the cells. No USPIO nanoparticles were found in the HL-7702 cells. All of the HepG2, SMMC-7721, and HeLa cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO, antiAFP-USPIO, or USPIO nanoparticles were able to shorten the T1 and T2 values in agar solution, especially the T2 images of HepG2 cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO probes.
AntiGPC3-USPIO probes can be utilized as a specific magnetic resonance targeting contrast agent for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma. Using a 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner, the optimal time for imaging HepG2 cells was around 2–4 hours after incubation with antiGPC3-USPIO probes.
magnetic resonance imaging; hepatocellular carcinoma; HepG2 cells; superparamagnetic iron oxide antiGPC3-USPIO probe
AIM: To investigate the function of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor θ subunit (GABRQ) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction was used for detecting the expression of GABRQ receptor among HCC cell line HepG2, normal liver cell line L-02, non-malignant Chang’s liver cells, 8 samples of HCC tissues and paired non-cancerous tissues. HepG2 cells were treated with GABA at serial concentrations (0, 1, 10, 20, 40 and 60 μmol/L), and their proliferating abilities were analyzed with the methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay, cell cycle analysis and tumor implanted in nude mice. Small interfering RNA was used for knocking down the endogenous GABRQ in HepG2. Proliferating abilities of these cells treated with or without GABA were analyzed.
RESULTS: We identified the overexpression of GABRQ in HCC cell lines and half of the tested HCC tissues. Knockdown of endogenous GABRQ expression in HepG2 attenuated HCC cell growth, suggesting its role in HCC cell viability. We studied the effect of GABA in the proliferation of GABRQ-positive cell lines in vitro and in vivo, and found that GABA increased HCC growth in a dose-dependent manner. Notably, the addition of GABA into the cell culture medium promoted the proliferation of GABRQ-expressing HepG2 cells, but not GABRQ-knockdown HepG2 cells, which means that GABA stimulates HepG2 cell growth through GABRQ.
CONCLUSION: GABRQ play important roles in HCC development and progression and could be a promising molecular target for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies of HCC.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Proliferation; Gamma-aminobutyric acid; Gamma-aminobutyric receptor θ; small interfering RNA
Although hypoxia is known to promote hepatoma cell invasion and migration, little is known regarding the molecular mechanisms of this process. Our previous research showed that loss of Tg737 is associated with hepatoma cell invasion and migration; therefore, we hypothesized that the Tg737 signal might be required for hypoxia-enhanced invasion and migration.
We established in vitro normoxic or hypoxic models to investigate the role of Tg737 in the hypoxia-enhanced invasion and migration of hepatoma cells. The hepatoma cell lines HepG2 and MHCC97-H were subjected to normoxic or hypoxic conditions, and the cell adhesion, invasion, and migration capabilities were tested. The expression of Tg737 under normoxia or hypoxia was detected using western blot assays; cell viability was determined using flow cytometry. Furthermore, we created HepG2 and MHCC97-H cells that over expressed Tg737 prior to incubation under hypoxia and investigated their metastatic characteristics. Finally, we analyzed the involvement of critical molecular events known to regulate invasion and migration.
In this study, Tg737 expression was significantly inhibited in HepG2 and MHCC97-H cells following exposure to hypoxia. The down regulation of Tg737 expression corresponded to significantly decreased adhesion and increased invasion and migration. Hypoxia also decreased the expression/secretion of polycystin-1, increased the secretion of interleukin-8 (IL-8), and increased the levels of active and total transforming growth factor β 1 (TGF-β1), critical regulators of cell invasion and migration. Moreover, the decrease in adhesiveness and the increase in the invasive and migratory capacities of hypoxia-treated hepatoma cells were attenuated by pcDNA3.1-Tg737 transfection prior to hypoxia. Finally, following the up regulation of Tg737, the expression/secretion of polycystin-1 increased, and the secretion of IL-8 and the levels of active and total TGF-β1 decreased correspondingly.
These data provide evidence that Tg737 contributes to hypoxia-induced invasion and migration, partially through the polycystin-1, IL-8, and TGF-β1 pathway. Taken together, this work suggests that Tg737 is involved in the invasion and migration of hepatoma cells under hypoxia, with the involvement of the polycystin-1, IL-8, and TGF-β1 signaling pathway. Tg737 is a potential therapeutic target for inhibiting the high invasion and migration potential of hepatoma cells in hypoxic regions.
Tg737; Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); Hypoxia; Migration; Invasion
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a high incidence and mortality. Radiotherapy and sorafenib have proven effective for HCC. Here, we investigated whether sorafenib modulated the response of HCC cells to irradiation in vitro, effect of timing of sorafenib, and the underlying mechanisms.
Cell viability of the HCC cell lines, SMMC-7721 and Bel-7402, was examined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2(4-sulfophenyl)-2 H-terazolium (MTT) assays. Clonogenic growth assays of SMMC-7721 and Bel-7402 were determined by colony formation assays. DNA damage was assessed by monitoring γ-HAX foci in irradiated cells with immunofluorescence microscopy, and cell cycle distribution changes were examined by flow cytometry. Effects of sorafenib (15 μM) added 30 min prior to radiation (pre-irradiation sorafenib) of SMMC-7721 and BEL-7402 or 24 h post-irradiation (post-irradiation sorafenib) on irradiated SMMC-7721 and BEL-7402 cells were compared to those of radiation alone or no treatment.
The effect of sorafenib was dependent on its time of addition in relationship to irradiation of cells. Pre-irradiation sorafenib did not significantly affect the viability of SMMC-7221 and BEL-7402 cells compared with irradiation treatment alone. In contrast, post-irradiation sorafenib increased the sensitivity of irradiated SMMC-7221 and BEL-7402 cells significantly in a time-dependent manner. Pre-irradiation sorafenib significantly increased the surviving fraction of SMMC-7221 and BEL-7402 cells in clonogenic assays whereas post-irradiation sorafenib significantly reduced the surviving fractions of SMMC-7221 and BEL-7402 cells. SMMC-7721 cells treated with sorafenib 30 min before irradiation had significantly fewer cells with γ-H2AX foci (23.8 ± 2.9%) than SMMC-7721 cells receiving radiation alone (59.9 ± 2.4; P < 0.001). Similarly, BEL-7402 cells receiving sorafenib prior to irradiation had significantly fewer cells with γ-H2AX foci (46.4 ± 3.8%) than those receiving radiation alone (25.0 ± 3.0%; P < 0.001). In addition, irradiation (6 Gy) caused a significant increase in the percentage of both SMMC-7721 and BEL-7402 cells in G2/M at 12 to 16 h post irradiation, which was markedly delayed by pre-irradiation sorafenib.
Sorafenib combined with irradiation exerted a schedule-dependent effect in HCC cells in vitro, which has significant implications for the combined use of sorafenib and radiotherapy for HCC patients.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Radiation; Sorafenib; Apoptosis; DNA damage repair
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common solid cancers, representing the third cause of cancer-related death among cirrhotic patients. Treatment of advanced HCC has become a very active area of research. Perifosine, a new synthetic alkylphospholipid Akt inhibitor, has shown anti-tumor activity by inhibition of Akt phosphorylation. In this study, the effect of perifosine on the cell proliferation and apoptosis in hepatoma cells has been investigated. Cell growth inhibition was detected by MTT assay, cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometry, AnnexinV-FITC apoptosis detection kit was used to detect cell apoptosis, and protein expression was examined by Western blotting analysis. Our present studies showed that Akt phosphorylation was inhibited by perifosine in HepG2 and Bel-7402 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Perifosine inhibited the growth of HepG2 cells and Bel-7402 cells in a dose-dependent manner, and arrested cell cycle progression at the G2 phase. Apoptosis induction became more effective with increasing perifosine concentration. The caspase cascade and its downstream effectors, Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), were also activated simultaneously upon perifosine treatment. The proapoptotic effect of perifosine was in part depending on regulation of the phosphorylation level of ERK and JNK. Perifosine cotreatment substantially increased cytotoxic effects of cisplatin in HepG2 cells. Down-regulating the expression of Bcl-2 and up-regulating the level of Bax may be the potential mechanism for this synergistic effect. Our findings suggest that the small molecule Akt inhibitor perifosine shows substantial anti-tumor activity in human hepatoma cancer cell lines, and is a good candidate for treatment combinations with classical cytostatic compounds in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Perifosine; PI3 K/Akt; Apoptosis; Caspase; Bcl-2
AIM: To investigate the anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) water extract on human hepatoma cell lines, HepG2 and Hep3B cells.
METHODS: The cytotoxicity of Chaga extract was screened by 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Morphological observation, flow cytometry analysis, Western blot were employed to elucidate the cytotoxic mechanism of Chaga extract.
RESULTS: HepG2 cells were more sensitive to Chaga extract than Hep3B cells, as demonstrated by markedly reduced cell viability. Chaga extract inhibited the cell growth in a dose-dependent manner, which was accompanied with G0/G1-phase arrest and apoptotic cell death. In addition, G0/G1 arrest in the cell cycle was closely associated with down-regulation of p53, pRb, p27, cyclins D1, D2, E, cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) 2, Cdk4, and Cdk6 expression.
CONCLUSION: Chaga mushroom may provide a new therapeutic option, as a potential anticancer agent, in the treatment of hepatoma.
Inonotus obliquus; Cell cycle; G0/G1 arrest; Apoptosis