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Life Sci. 2000 Dec 22;68(5):539-46.

Hepatocyte growth factor protects gastric epithelial cells against ceramide-induced apoptosis through induction of cyclooxygenase-2.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Mibu, Tochigi, Japan.


Forced overexpression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in intestinal cells has been shown to be associated with resistance to apoptosis. However, the role of physiologically-induced COX-2 in the regulation of apoptosis remains unclear. In the present study, we examined whether hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-induced COX-2 affects ceramide-induced apoptosis in RGM-1 gastric epithelial cells. An externally applied cell permeable ceramide analogue, C2-ceramide, caused RGM-1 cell death in a dose-dependent manner, whereas an inactive ceramide analogue, C2-dihydroceramide, did not. TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay showed that the C2-ceramide-induced cell death was apoptosis. Application of HGF rapidly induced the expression of COX-2, and HGF prevented the apoptotic cell death induced by C2-ceramide. However, the anti-apoptotic action of HGF was antagonized by coapplication of NS-398, a selective inhibitor of COX-2. Thus, these results indicate that COX-2 is involved in the survival signaling from HGF in gastric epithelial cells, and suggest a role for physiologically-induced COX-2 in the protection of the cells from apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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