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Arch Med Res. 2014 Jan;45(1):15-20. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Dec 5.

Alteration of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway is involved in Notch-induced chemoresistance to gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer.

Author information

1
Department of General Surgery, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China.
2
Department of General Surgery, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China; National Laboratory of Medical Molecular Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences/Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China. Electronic address: zhao8028@263.net.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Chemoresistance is a major challenge in pancreatic cancer (PC) treatment. Limited data have shown that members of the Notch signaling pathway are involved in resistance to gemcitabine (GEM) in PC. However, further evidence is needed and the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. The current study aims to investigate the role of alterations of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway in Notch-induced GEM resistance of PC.

METHODS:

The Notch signaling pathway was inhibited or activated in three PC cell lines (AsPC-1, BxPC-3, and MIA PaCa-2) by γ-secretase inhibition and Notch intracellular domain (NICD) overexpression, respectively. Subsequent analyses included inhibition rates of cell proliferation by GEM, cell apoptosis, and expression of proteins involved in the intrinsic apoptosis pathway.

RESULTS:

Hes-1 expression was significantly elevated after GEM treatment, indicating Notch activation. Inhibition of the Notch signaling pathway by DAPT, a γ-secretase inhibitor, resulted in a significant increase of the inhibition rates by GEM in all PC cell lines. In addition, there was more frequent apoptosis, higher caspase-3 activity, up-regulation of Bax, and down-regulation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Conversely, transient transfection of NICD, which enhances the activity of the Notch signaling, caused a remarkable decrease of the chemosensitivity to GEM.

CONCLUSIONS:

An alteration of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway is involved in Notch-induced chemoresistance to GEM in PC cells.

KEYWORDS:

Chemoresistance; Gemcitabine; Intrinsic apoptosis pathway; Notch; Pancreatic cancer

PMID:
24316112
DOI:
10.1016/j.arcmed.2013.10.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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