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Korean J Intern Med. 2011 Sep;26(3):304-13. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2011.26.3.304. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 dependent overexpression of sulfiredoxin and peroxiredoxin III in human lung cancer.

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Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.



Oxidative stress results in protein oxidation and is implicated in carcinogenesis. Sulfiredoxin (Srx) is responsible for the enzymatic reversal of inactivated peroxiredoxin (Prx). Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) binds to antioxidant responsive elements and upregulates the expression of Srx and Prx during oxidative stress. We aimed to elucidate the biological functions and potential roles of Srx in lung cancer.


To study the roles of Srx and Prx III in lung cancer, we compared the protein levels of Nrf2, Prxs, thioredoxin, and Srx in 40 surgically resected human lung cancer tissues using immunoblot and immunohistochemical analyses. Transforming growth factor-β(1), tumor necrosis factor-α, and camptothecin treatment were used to examine Prx III inactivation in Mv1Lu mink lung epithelial cells and A549 lung cancer cells.


Prx I and Prx III proteins were markedly overexpressed in lung cancer tissues. A significant increase in the oxidized form of a cysteine sulfhydryl at the catalytic site of Prxs was found in carcinogenic lung tissue compared to normal lung tissue. Densitometric analyses of immunoblot data revealed significant Srx expression, which was higher in squamous cell carcinoma tissue (60%, 12/20) than in adenocarcinoma (20%, 4/20). Also, Nrf2 was present in the nuclear compartment of cancer cells.


Srx and Prx III proteins were markedly overexpressed in human squamous cell carcinoma, suggesting that these proteins may play a protective role against oxidative injury and compensate for the high rate of mitochondrial metabolism in lung cancer.


GA-binding protein transcription factor; Lung neoplasms; Peroxiredoxins; Sulfiredoxin

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