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Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Jul 1;53(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.04.021. Epub 2012 May 1.

Inhibition of hydrogen peroxide signaling by 4-hydroxynonenal due to differential regulation of Akt1 and Akt2 contributes to decreases in cell survival and proliferation in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

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University of Colorado Denver, School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 12850 East Montview Blvd, Box C238, Building V20, Room 2131, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


Dysregulation of cell signaling by electrophiles such as 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) is a key component in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory liver disease. Another consequence of inflammation is the perpetuation of oxidative damage by the production of reactive oxidative species such as hydrogen peroxide. Previously, we have demonstrated Akt2 as a direct target of 4-HNE in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. In the present study, we used the hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2 as model to understand the combinatorial effects of 4-HNE and hydrogen peroxide. We demonstrate that 4-HNE inhibits hydrogen peroxide-mediated phosphorylation of Akt1 but not Akt2. Pretreatment of HepG2 cells with 4-HNE prevented hydrogen peroxide stimulation of Akt-dependent phosphorylation of downstream targets and intracellular Akt activity compared with untreated control cells. Using biotin hydrazide capture, it was confirmed that 4-HNE treatment resulted in carbonylation of Akt1, which was not observed in untreated control cells. Using a synthetic GSK3α/β peptide as a substrate, treatment of recombinant human myristoylated Akt1 (rAkt1) with 20 or 40 μΜ 4-HNE inhibited rAkt1 activity by 29 and 60%, respectively. We further demonstrate that 4-HNE activates Erk via a PI3 kinase and PP2A-dependent mechanism leading to increased Jnk phosphorylation. At higher concentrations, 4-HNE decreased both cell survival and proliferation as evidenced by MTT assays and EdU incorporation as well as decreased expression of cyclin D1 and β-catenin, an effect only moderately increased by the addition of hydrogen peroxide. The ability of 4-HNE to exert combinatorial effects on Erk, Jnk, and Akt-dependent cell survival pathways provides additional insight into the mechanisms of cellular damage associated with chronic inflammation.

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