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Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma ligand-mediated apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells depends upon modulation of PI3Kinase pathway independent of Akt

Author(s): Mishra Prajna | Paramasivam Suresh | Thylur Ramesh | Rana Ajay | Rana Basabi

Journal: Journal of Molecular Signaling
ISSN 1750-2187

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 20;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background Ligands of Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) can inhibit growth and promote apoptosis in various cancer cells, and thus have the potential to be utilized as anticancer drugs. This potential however, has been seriously challenged by observations that they can lead to tumor promotion in some cancer models, possibly due to activation of different signaling mechanisms in various tumor environments. Elucidation of the specific signaling events that modulate PPARγ ligand-mediated events is thus critical to increase their efficacy. The studies described here were designed to elucidate the signaling pathway(s) that modulate the apoptotic potential of Troglitazone (TRG), an artificial PPARγ ligand in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Results Our results indicate that the apoptotic potential of TRG was regulated by the presence or absence of serum in the media. When added in serum-containing media, TRG inhibited proliferation and cyclin D1 expression, but was unable to induce any apoptosis. However, TRG's apoptotic potential was induced significantly when added in serum deficient media, as indicated by increased PARP and Caspase-3 cleavage and results from apoptosis assay. Furthermore, TRG-induced apoptosis in serum deficient media was associated with a dramatic reduction in PI3Kinase downstream target AktSer473 and FoxO1Thr24/FoxO3aThr32 phosphorylation. On the contrary, there was an increase of PI3K-induced AktSer473 and FoxO1Thr24/FoxO3aThr32 phosphorylation involving Pak, when TRG was added in serum-containing media. Pharmacological inhibition of PI3Kinase pathway with LY294002 inhibited Aktser473 phosphorylation and sensitized cells towards apoptosis in the presence of serum, indicating the involvement of PI3K in apoptosis resistance. Interestingly, pharmacological inhibition or siRNA-mediated knockdown of Akt or inhibition of Pak was unable to sensitize cells towards TRG-induced apoptosis in the presence of serum. Similarly, TRG was unable to induce apoptosis in the Akt1-KO, Akt1&2-KO MEFs in serum-containing media. Conclusion These studies indicate that TRG-induced apoptosis is modulated by PI3K pathway in a novel Akt-independent manner, which might contribute to its tumor promoting effects. Since PI3K activation is linked with various cancers, combination therapy utilizing TRG and PI3K inhibitors has the potential to not only increase the efficacy of TRG as a chemotherapeutic agent but also reduce its off target effects.
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