Melatonin reverses tunicamycin-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells and improves cytotoxic response to doxorubicin by increasing CHOP and decreasing survivin

Lulu Fan, Guoping Sun, Tai Ma, Fei Zhong, Yu Lei, Xiaoqiu Li, Wei Wei
Journal of Pineal Research 2013, 55 (2): 184-94
Chemoresistance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is associated with multiple cellular responses to environmental stresses, such as nutrient deprivation and hypoxia. Nevertheless, whether ER stress resulting from nutrient deprivation and tumor hypoxia contributes to drug resistance remains unclear. Melatonin increased the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs in hepatocellular carcinoma in our previous studies. However, the effects of melatonin on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced resistance to chemotherapeutic agents in HCC have not been tested. The effect of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response during resistance of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells against doxorubicin was investigated in this study. Pretreatment of HepG2 and SMMC-7721 cells (two human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines) with tunicamycin, an ER stress inducer, drastically decreased the rate of apoptosis generated by doxorubicin. Interestingly, co-pretreatment with tunicamycin and melatonin significantly increased apoptosis induced by doxorubicin. Simultaneously, the expression of phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT) was elevated in HepG2 and SMMC-7721 cells given tunicamycin but reduced in the presence of melatonin. Furthermore, consistent with inhibition of AKT activation by using the PI3K inhibitor LY294002, melatonin elevated the levels of CHOP (C/EBP-homologous protein) and reduced the levels of Survivin (a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family)suggesting that inhibition of the PI3K/AKT pathway by melatonin-reversed ER stress-induced resistance to doxorubicin in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. These results demonstrate that melatonin attenuates ER stress-induced resistance to doxorubicin in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells by down-regulating the PI3K/AKT pathway, increasing the levels of CHOP and decreasing the levels of Survivin.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"