Original Article

Upregulation of PTEN involved in rosiglitazone-induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Authors: Liang-qi Cao, Xi-lin Chen, Qian Wang, Xiao-hui Huang, Mao-chuan Zhen, Long-juan Zhang, Wen Li, Jiong Bi


Aim: To investigate the effects of rosiglitazone, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonist, on the expression of the phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 gene (PTEN) and cell growth in hepatocellular carcinoma cells, as well as the underlying mechanisms of these effects.
Methods: RT-PCR and Western blotting analyses were performed to detect transcription and the expression of PTEN in Hep3B cells treated with rosiglitazone. 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay was used to evaluate cell growth. Flow cytometry, DNA fragmentation analysis, caspase enzymatic assay, and Hoechst 33258 staining were used to determine cell apoptosis. Furthermore, small interfering RNA was used to suppress PTEN expression.
Results: Rosiglitazone increased the expression of PTEN in a dose-and time-dependent manner through the PPARγ-dependent signal transduction pathway. PTEN upregulation was concomitant with a decreased level of Akt phosphorylation, subsequently resulting in cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in Hep3B cells. PTEN knockdown dramatically blocked these effects of rosiglitazone. Moreover, the exposure of cells to rosiglitazone activated caspases-9 and -3 during apoptotic proceeding.
Conclusion: Thus, upregulation of PTEN is involved in the inhibition of cell growth and the induction of cell apoptosis by rosiglitazone, suggesting that rosiglitazone may be useful in liver cancer therapy via apoptosis.

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