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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Oct;1814(10):1340-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2011.05.015. Epub 2011 May 25.

Sulforaphane induces apoptosis in human hepatic cancer cells through inhibition of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase4, mediated by hypoxia inducible factor-1-dependent pathway.

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Department of Biological Science, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Incheon, Republic of Korea.


The anti-cancer activity of sulforaphane (SFN) has recently been investigated in several cancer cell lines, including human hepatic cancers. However, the mechanism of SFN-induced cell death in human hepatic cancer cells is still not well understood. The aim of the present work is to explore the possible mechanisms of SFN-induced apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma cells using proteomic analysis. A two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE)-based-proteomic analysis was employed for identification of possible target-related proteins of SFN-induced apoptosis. Among eleven proteins identified as regulated, we focused on the down-regulation of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase4 (PFKFB4) protein, which has been known as a key modulator of glycolysis. We also showed that SFN down-regulated the expression of the transcriptional factor, hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), which strongly regulates PFKFB4 expression. In order to obtain a broad understanding of the correlation of HIF-1α and SFN, we observed the inhibition of the activity of mitogen-activated protein kinases, regulators of HIF-1α activity. Our findings suggest that SFN is a potent inducer of apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma cells via PFKFB4-inhibition pathways. HIF-1 pathway inhibition may be mediated by the inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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