Suppression of Nrf2-driven heme oxygenase-1 enhances the chemosensitivity of lung cancer A549 cells toward cisplatin

Hak-Ryul Kim, Sejin Kim, Eun-Jung Kim, Jung-Hyun Park, Sei-Hoon Yang, Eun-Taik Jeong, Channy Park, Myung-Ja Youn, Hong-Seob So, Raekil Park
Lung Cancer: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2008, 60 (1): 47-56
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is highly expressed in various tumor tissues and plays an important role in tumor cell growth through anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects. Herein, we demonstrate that A549 cells express high levels of HO-1, Nrf2, and NF-kappaB compared to other lung cancer cell lines, including H23, H157, and H460. Ectopic expression of HO-1 small interfering RNA (siRNA) increased both apoptosis and degradation of procaspase-3. Transfection studies with siRNA specific for Nrf2 and NF-kappaB revealed that HO-1 expression in A549 cells is mediated by transcriptional activation of Nrf2, but not NF-kappaB. A549 cells are less susceptible to cisplatin cytotoxicity than other lung cancer cell lines, concomitant with increases in HO-1 expression and MAPK phosphorylation in a time-dependent fashion. Furthermore, inhibition of HO-1 by siRNA and a specific HO-1 inhibitor ZnPP augments cisplatin cytotoxicity toward A549 cells. Pharmacologic suppression of HO-1 activity resulted in a marked increase in the ROS generation in cisplatin-treated cells. In addition, pharmacologic inhibitors of MAPK suppressed the induction of HO-1 and Nrf2 expression by cisplatin. These findings suggest that HO-1 may modulate the chemosensitivity of lung cancer A549 cells to cisplatin through the MAPK-Nrf2 pathway.

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