Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 23;276(12):9101-7. Epub 2000 Oct 26.

Role of mitochondria and caspases in vitamin D-mediated apoptosis of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Author information

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556, USA.


Vitamin D(3) compounds are currently in clinical trials for human breast cancer and offer an alternative approach to anti-hormonal therapies for this disease. 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3)), the active form of vitamin D(3), induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells and tumors, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly characterized. In these studies, we focused on the role of caspase activation and mitochondrial disruption in 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3)-mediated apoptosis in breast cancer cells (MCF-7) in vitro. The effect of 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) on MCF-7 cells was compared with that of tumor necrosis factor alpha, which induces apoptosis via a caspase-dependent pathway. Our major findings are that 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) induces apoptosis in MCF-7 cells by disruption of mitochondrial function, which is associated with Bax translocation to mitochondria, cytochrome c release, and production of reactive oxygen species. Moreover, we show that Bax translocation and mitochondrial disruption do not occur after 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) treatment of a MCF-7 cell clone selected for resistance to 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3)-mediated apoptosis. These mitochondrial effects of 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) do not require caspase activation, since they are not blocked by the cell-permeable caspase inhibitor z-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone. Although caspase inhibition blocks 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3)-mediated events downstream of mitochondria such as poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, external display of phosphatidylserine, and DNA fragmentation, MCF-7 cells still execute apoptosis in the presence of z-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone, indicating that the commitment to 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3)-mediated cell death is caspase-independent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center