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Pediatr Surg Int. 2008 Oct;24(10):1087-94. doi: 10.1007/s00383-008-2229-2.

The proton pump inhibitor inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in human hepatoblastoma.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Saitama Medical University, 38 Morohongo Moroyama-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama, 350-0495, Japan.



In normal physiology, a vacuolar-type proton pump (V-ATPase) maintains an intracellular acid microenvironment in lysosome, endosome, and other endomembrane systems. Cancer cells overexpress V-ATPase compared with normal cells, and disturbances of the acid environment are thought to significantly impact the cancer cell infiltration and growth. Bafilomycin A1 (Baf-A1) is a specific inhibitor of the proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) V-ATPase. Neoplastic cells are reportedly more sensitive to Baf-A1 than normal cells, and the difference between the susceptibility to Baf-A1 in normal cells and that in cancer cells may become a target in the cancer therapy. With this in mind, we used cells of hepatoblastoma, the cancer type accounting for 80% of all childhood liver cancers, to investigate the effects of Baf-A1 as an inducer of cancer cell apoptosis and inhibitor of cancer cell reproduction


Electron microscopy showed significant morphological change of the hepatoblastoma cells of the Baf-A1-treated group compared with hepatoblastoma cells of the Baf-A1-free group. The rate of the apoptotic cell increased, and cell reproduction was inhibited. Moreover, the analysis of hepatoblastoma cells using the gene Chip gene expression analysis arrays showed that three of the 27 V-ATPase-related transcripts (ATP6V0D2, ATP6V1B1, and ATP6V0A1) were more weakly expressed in the Baf-A1-treated cells than in the Baf-A1-free cells. In normal human hepatic cells, on the other hand, the inhibition of cell growth of the Baf-A1-treated cells was negligible compared to that of the cells without Baf-A1 treatment. The result of apoptotic cell detection by morphological observations and flow cytometry revealed that Baf-A1 inhibits hepatoblastoma cellular reproduction by inducing apoptosis. On the other hand, the Baf-A1-conferred inhibition of cell growth was negligible in normal human hepatocytes


The V-ATPase inhibitor Baf-A1 has been proven to selectively inhibit the reproduction and induce the apoptosis of hepatoblastoma cells without adversely influencing normal hepatic cells. With these effects, V-ATPase inhibitors may hold promise as therapeutic agents for hepatoblastoma. Given that three V-ATPase-related genes (ATP6V0D2, ATP6V1B1, and ATP6V0A1) were more weakly expressed in the hepatoblastoma cells of the Baf-A1-treated group than in the Baf-A1-free cells, drug development targeting V-ATPase gene of hepatoblastomas is expected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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