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J Hepatol. 1996 Oct;25(4):454-64.

Expression of Fas and anti-Fas-mediated apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines.

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First Department of Pathology, Kurume University School of Medicine, Japan.



Fas transduces apoptotic signals upon cross-linking with the Fas ligand, which is experimentally replaced by anti-Fas antibodies. Because little is known about Fas expression and function in hepatocellular carcinoma, these issues are addressed in the current article.


We examined Fas expressions at protein and mRNA levels, and susceptibility to anti-Fas-mediated apoptosis, on six hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines.


Two cell lines constitutively expressed high levels of Fas both on their cell surface and in their cytoplasm, whereas the other four cell lines expressed Fas mainly in their cytoplasm. Fas mRNA of normal size was detected in all cell lines in reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analyses. Although a Fas mRNA variant, suggesting a soluble Fas molecule, was detected in the two cell lines expressing high levels of Fas, its amount was very small compared to that of normal-sized Fas transcript. Anti-Fas dose-dependently induced apoptosis exclusively in the two cell lines which constitutively express high levels of cell surface Fas. However, after preincubation with interferon-gamma, one cell line with low surface Fas expression became anti-Fas sensitive equivalent to the two cell lines expressing surface Fas at high levels. Studies of two clonally related cell lines showed that dedifferentiated clones had lower Fas expression and resistance to anti-Fas, suggesting deterioration of Fas system after clonal cell dedifferentiation.


These findings suggest sensitivity to anti-Fas is virtually relevant to cell surface Fas, but not to cytoplasmic Fas expression. However, its expression level does not correlate to sensitivity to anti-Fas.

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