The mechanisms on apoptosis by inhibiting VEGF expression in human breast cancer cells

Yin-Lin Ge, Xiao Zhang, Jin-Yu Zhang, Lin Hou, Run-Hua Tian
International Immunopharmacology 2009, 9 (4): 389-95
This study investigated apoptotic mechanisms of down-expression vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by short interfering RNA (siRNA) in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Human breast cancer cells were evaluated for the expression of VEGF and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2). siRNA targeting VEGF mRNA were chemically synthesized and transfected into cells with Lipofectamine2000. In vitro assessments were then made of the ability of anti-VEGF siRNA to knock down expression of VEGF and the subsequent effect this decreased expression had on breast cancer cell apoptosis. Growth curve construction and nude mice experimentation in vivo were performed to assess the effects of VEGF silencing on tumor growth. Those cells transfected with siRNA targeting VEGF showed a 65% knockdown in VEGF expression and a marked increase in cell apoptosis. The expression of Bcl-2 protein in MCF-7 cells was decreased, the level of Bax protein was kept the same, cytochrome c was released from mitochondria into cytosol, and the cleaved Caspase-3 protein rose after siRNA transfection. The siRNA targeting human VEGF could induce apoptosis in MCF-7 cells and the mechanism of apoptosis is possibly related with changing Bcl-2/Bax expression ratio, releasing cytochrome c from mitochondria into cytosol, and up-regulation of Caspase-3 protein, but also could suppress the growth of breast cancer cells in vivo. VEGF might be a potential therapeutic target for human breast cancer.

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