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Am J Cancer Res. 2019 Dec 1;9(12):2730-2748. eCollection 2019.

Compensatory upregulation of aldo-keto reductase 1B10 to protect hepatocytes against oxidative stress during hepatocarcinogenesis.

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State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Disease Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center Beijing 100191, P. R. China.
Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine 913 N, Rutledge Street, Springfield, IL 62794, USA.
Peking University People's Hospital, Peking University Hepatology Institute Beijing 100044, P. R. China.


Aldo-keto reductase 1B10 (AKR1B10), a member of aldo-keto reductase superfamily, contributes to detoxification of xenobiotics and metabolization of physiological substrates. Although increased expression of AKR1B10 was found in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the role of AKR1B10 in the development of HCC remains unclear. This study aims to illustrate the role of AKR1B10 in hepatocarcinogenesis based on its intrinsic oxidoreduction abilities. HCC cell lines with AKR1B10 overexpression or knockdown were treated with doxorubicin or hydrogen peroxide to determinate the influence of aberrant AKR1B10 expression on cells' response to oxidative stress. Using Akr1b8 (the ortholog of human AKR1B10) knockout mice, diethylnitrosamine (DEN) induced liver injury, chronic inflammation and hepatocarcinogenesis were explored. Clinically, the pattern of serum AKR1B10 relevant to disease progression was investigated in a patient cohort with chronic hepatitis B (n=30), liver cirrhosis (n=30) and HCC (n=40). AKR1B10 expression in HCC tissues was analyzed using both the TCGA database (n=371) and our collected HCC samples (n=67). AKR1B10 overexpression reduced hepatocyte injury while AKR1B10 knockdown augmented reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation and apoptotic cell death. Consistently, Akr1b8 deficiency in mice promoted DEN-induced hepatocyte damage and liver inflammation characterized by increased phospho-H2AX, serum alanine aminotransferase, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha level, myeloid cell infiltration and led to more severe hepatocarcinogenesis and metastasis compared with wild type mice due to significant alteration on detoxification and oxidoreduction. AKR1B10 was compensatory expressed and gradually upregulated in the process of liver disease progression in HCC and increased oxidative stress upregulated AKR1B10 through NRF2. Our results here suggested that through oxidoreduction and detoxification, AKR1B10 played an important role in protecting hepatocytes from damage induced by ROS. Deficiency of AKR1B10 might accelerate hepatotoxin and inflammation-associated hepatocarcinogenesis. AKR1B10 expression elevation in HCC could be a result of compensatory upregulation, rather than a driver of malignant transformation during the development of HCC.


AKR1B10; Hepatocarcinogenesis; ROS; oxidoreduction


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