Hypoxia inducible factor 1α-mediated LOX expression correlates with migration and invasion in epithelial ovarian cancer

Fang Ji, You Wang, Lihua Qiu, Shu Li, Jing Zhu, Zhou Liang, Yinsheng Wan, Wen Di
International Journal of Oncology 2013, 42 (5): 1578-88
This study investigated the role of LOX in promoting invasion and metastasis of epithelial ovarian cancer in a hypoxic environment and its specific signal transduction pathway. Immunohistochemical detection of HIF-1α and LOX protein expression was performed on formalin-fixed paraffin sections of normal ovary, benign ovarian tumors, borderline and malignant epithelial ovarian tumor paraffin sample, using Mann-Whitney U test for independent comparisons and Wilcoxon signed-ranks test for paired comparisons. HIF-1α and LOX were knocked down in epithelial ovarian cancer cells (EOC), and HIF-1α/LOX regulation mechanism and LOX catalytic activity under hypoxia/reoxygenation microenvironment were explored. Cell migration and invasion ability in LOX inhibited HO8910 cells were investigated under hypoxia/reoxygenation conditions, using matrigel cell invasion and migration assays. We found that HIF-1α and LOX are highly expressed in epithelial ovarian cancer tissues, and the expression of both proteins is significantly correlated with the tumor grade, tumor diameter and lymph node metastasis. HIF-1α expression is positively correlated with the expression of LOX. Specifically, the expression of LOX and HIF-1α markedly increases under hypoxic conditions and decreases after reoxygenation. siRNA knockdown of LOX or β-aminoproprionitrile (βAPN), an inhibitor of LOX activity, that attenuates LOX activity, downregulates HIF-1α protein expression and inhibits HO8910 migratory and invasive abilities. LOX catalytic activity is significantly reduced under hypoxic conditions. Moreover, EOC cells display a marked increase in LOX-dependent FAK/AKT activation and cell migration following hypoxia/reoxygenation. Collectively, our study demonstrates that the hypoxia-HIF-1α, LOX-FAK/AKT pathway regulates the migration and invasion of epithelial ovarian cancer cells under hypoxia/reoxygenation conditions, thus, promoting metastasis of ovarian cancer.

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