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1.  Docosahexaenoic acid-induced apoptosis is mediated by activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases in human cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:481.
Background
The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-PUFAs) in cancer prevention has been demonstrated; however, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the anticancer activity of ω3-PUFAs are not fully understood. Here, we investigated the relationship between the anticancer action of a specific ω3-PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and the conventional mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 whose dysregulation has been implicated in human cancers.
Methods
MTT assays were carried out to determine cell viability of cancer cell lines (PA-1, H1299, D54MG and SiHa) from different origins. Apoptosis was confirmed by TUNEL staining, DNA fragmentation analysis and caspase activity assays. Activities of the conventional MAPKs were monitored by their phosphorylation levels using immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry analysis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured by flow cytometry and microscopy using fluorescent probes for general ROS and mitochondrial superoxide.
Results
DHA treatment decreased cell viability and induced apoptotic cell death in all four studied cell lines. DHA-induced apoptosis was coupled to the activation of the conventional MAPKs, and knockdown of ERK/JNK/p38 by small interfering RNAs reduced the apoptosis induced by DHA, indicating that the pro-apoptotic effect of DHA is mediated by MAPKs activation. Further study revealed that the DHA-induced MAPKs activation and apoptosis was associated with mitochondrial ROS overproduction and malfunction, and that ROS inhibition remarkably reversed these effects of DHA.
Conclusion
Together, these results indicate that DHA-induced MAPKs activation is dependent on its capacity to provoke mitochondrial ROS generation, and accounts for its cytotoxic effect in human cancer cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-481
PMCID: PMC4094407  PMID: 24993937
Docosahexaenoic acid; Reactive oxygen species; Mitogen-activated protein kinases; Apoptosis; Cancer
2.  PMA synergistically enhances apicularen A-induced cytotoxicity by disrupting microtubule networks in HeLa cells 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:36.
Background
Combination therapy is key to improving cancer treatment efficacy. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), a well-known PKC activator, increases the cytotoxicity of several anticancer drugs. Apicularen A induces cytotoxicity in tumor cells through disrupting microtubule networks by tubulin down-regulation. In this study, we examined whether PMA increases apicularen A-induced cytotoxicity in HeLa cells.
Methods
Cell viability was examined by thiazolyl blue tetrazolium (MTT) assays. To investigate apoptotic potential of apicularen A, DNA fragmentation assays were performed followed by extracting genomic DNA, and caspase-3 activity assays were performed by fluorescence assays using fluorogenic substrate. The cell cycle distribution induced by combination with PMA and apicularen A was examined by flow cytometry after staining with propidium iodide (PI). The expression levels of target proteins were measured by Western blotting analysis using specific antibodies, and α-tubulin mRNA levels were assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). To examine the effect of combination of PMA and apicularen A on the microtubule architecture, α-tubulin protein and nuclei were visualized by immunofluorescence staining using an anti-α-tubulin antibody and PI, respectively.
Results
We found that apicularen A induced caspase-dependent apoptosis in HeLa cells. PMA synergistically increased cytotoxicity and apoptotic sub-G1 population induced by apicularen A. These effects were completely blocked by the PKC inhibitors Ro31-8220 and Go6983, while caspase inhibition by Z-VAD-fmk did not prevent cytotoxicity. RNA interference using siRNA against PKCα, but not PKCβ and PKCγ, inhibited cytotoxicity induced by combination PMA and apicularen A. PMA increased the apicularen A-induced disruption of microtubule networks by further decreasing α- and β-tubulin protein levels in a PKC-dependent manner.
Conclusions
These results suggest that the synergy between PMA and apicularen A is involved by PKCα activation and microtubule disruption, and that may inform the development of novel approaches to treat cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-36
PMCID: PMC3901760  PMID: 24447339
PMA; Apicularen A; PKCα; Cell death; Microtubule disruption
3.  The Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid DHA Induces Simultaneous Apoptosis and Autophagy via Mitochondrial ROS-Mediated Akt-mTOR Signaling in Prostate Cancer Cells Expressing Mutant p53 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:568671.
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.
doi:10.1155/2013/568671
PMCID: PMC3691929  PMID: 23841076
4.  Docosahexaenoic acid induces autophagy through p53/AMPK/mTOR signaling and promotes apoptosis in human cancer cells harboring wild-type p53 
Autophagy  2011;7(11):1348-1358.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been reported to induce tumor cell death by apoptosis. However, little is known about the effects of DHA on autophagy, another complex well-programmed process characterized by the sequestration of cytoplasmic material within autophagosomes. Here we show that DHA increased both the level of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 and the number of autophagic vacuoles without impairing autophagic vesicle turnover, indicating that DHA induces not only apoptosis but also autophagy. We also observed that DHA-induced autophagy was accompanied by p53 loss. Inhibition of p53 increased DHA-induced autophagy and prevention of p53 degradation significantly led to the attenuation of DHA-induced autophagy, suggesting that DHA-induced autophagy is mediated by p53. Further experiments showed that the mechanism of DHA-induced autophagy associated with p53 attenuation involved an increase in the active form of AMP-activated protein kinase and a decrease in the activity of mammalian target of rapamycin. In addition, compelling evidence for the interplay between autophagy and apoptosis induced by DHA is supported by the findings that autophagy inhibition suppressed apoptosis and further autophagy induction enhanced apoptosis in response to DHA treatment. Overall, our results demonstrate that autophagy contributes to the cytotoxicity of DHA in cancer cells harboring wild-type p53.
doi:10.4161/auto.7.11.16658
PMCID: PMC3242799  PMID: 21811093
DHA; autophagy; apoptosis; p53; cancer; mTOR; AMPK; p27
5.  Protein-bound polysaccharide from Phellinus linteus inhibits tumor growth, invasion, and angiogenesis and alters Wnt/β-catenin in SW480 human colon cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:307.
Background
Polysaccharides extracted from the Phellinus linteus (PL) mushroom are known to possess anti-tumor effects. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the anti-tumor properties of PL remain to be explored. Experiments were carried out to unravel the anticancer effects of PL.
Methods
The anti-cancer effects of PL were examined in SW480 colon cancer cells by evaluating cell proliferation, invasion and matrix metallo-proteinase (MMP) activity. The anti-angiogenic effects of PL were examined by assessing human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) proliferation and capillary tube formation. The in vivo effect of PL was evaluated in an athymic nude mouse SW480 tumor engraft model.
Results
PL (125-1000 μg/mL) significantly inhibited cell proliferation and decreased β-catenin expression in SW480 cells. Expression of cyclin D1, one of the downstream-regulated genes of β-catenin, and T-cell factor/lymphocyte enhancer binding factor (TCF/LEF) transcription activity were also significantly reduced by PL treatment. PL inhibited in vitro invasion and motility as well as the activity of MMP-9. In addition, PL treatment inhibited HUVEC proliferation and capillary tube formation. Tumor growth of SW480 cells implanted into nude mice was significantly decreased as a consequence of PL treatment, and tumor tissues from treated animals showed an increase in the apoptotic index and a decrease in β-catenin expression. Moreover, the proliferation index and microvessel density were significantly decreased.
Conclusions
These data suggest that PL suppresses tumor growth, invasion, and angiogenesis through the inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in certain colon cancer cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-307
PMCID: PMC3154178  PMID: 21781302
6.  Activity and expression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator and matrix metalloproteinases in human colorectal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:211.
Background
Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) are involved in colorectal cancer invasion and metastasis. There is still debate whether the activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 differs between tumors located in the colon and rectum. We designed this study to determine any differences in the expression of MMP-2, MMP-9 and uPA system between colon and rectal cancer tissues.
Methods
Cancer tissue samples were obtained from colon carcinoma (n = 12) and rectal carcinomas (n = 10). MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels were examined using gelatin zymography and Western blotting; their endogenous inhibitors, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), were assessed by Western blotting. uPA, uPAR and PAI-1 were examined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The activity of uPA was assessed by casein-plasminogen zymography.
Results
In both colon and rectal tumors, MMP-2, MMP-9 and TIMP-1 protein levels were higher than in corresponding paired normal mucosa, while TIMP-2 level in tumors was significantly lower than in normal mucosa. The enzyme activities or protein levels of MMP-2, MMP-9 and their endogenous inhibitors did not reach a statistically significant difference between colon and rectal cancer compared with their normal mucosa. In rectal tumors, there was an increased activity of uPA compared with the activity in colon tumors (P = 0.0266), however urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) showed no significant difference between colon and rectal cancer tissues.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that uPA may be expressed differentially in colon and rectal cancers, however, the activities or protein levels of MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, PAI-1 and uPAR are not affected by tumor location in the colon or the rectum.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-211
PMCID: PMC1563482  PMID: 16916471

Results 1-6 (6)