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Title: Metformin inhibits heme oxygenase-1 expression in cancer cells through inactivation of Raf-ERK-Nrf2 signaling and AMPK-independent pathways

Resistance to therapy is the major obstacle to more effective cancer treatment. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is often highly up-regulated in tumor tissues, and its expression is further increased in response to therapies. It has been suggested that inhibition of HO-1 expression is a potential therapeutic approach to sensitize tumors to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the anti-tumor effects of metformin are mediated by suppression of HO-1 expression in cancer cells. Our results indicate that metformin strongly suppresses HO-1 mRNA and protein expression in human hepatic carcinoma HepG2, cervical cancer HeLa, and non-small-cell lung cancer A549 cells. Metformin also markedly reduced Nrf2 mRNA and protein levels in whole cell lysates and suppressed tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ)-induced Nrf2 protein stability and antioxidant response element (ARE)-luciferase activity in HepG2 cells. We also found that metformin regulation of Nrf2 expression is mediated by a Keap1-independent mechanism and that metformin significantly attenuated Raf-ERK signaling to suppress Nrf2 expression in cancer cells. Inhibition of Raf-ERK signaling by PD98059 decreased Nrf2 mRNA expression in HepG2 cells, confirming that the inhibition of Nrf2 expression is mediated by an attenuation of Raf-ERK signaling in cancer cells. The inactivation of AMPK by siRNA, DN-AMPK or themore » pharmacological AMPK inhibitor compound C, revealed that metformin reduced HO-1 expression in an AMPK-independent manner. These results highlight the Raf-ERK-Nrf2 axis as a new molecular target in anticancer therapy in response to metformin treatment. - Highlights: • Metformin inhibits HO-1 expression in cancer cells. • Metformin attenuates Raf-ERK-Nrf2 signaling. • Suppression of HO-1 by metformin is independent of AMPK. • HO-1 inhibition contributes to anti-proliferative effects of metformin.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Department of Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, Chungnam National University, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of)
  2. Department of Pathology, College of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon University, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of)
  3. College of Pharmacy, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan (Korea, Republic of)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22285373
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology; Journal Volume: 271; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; AMP; ANTIOXIDANTS; CARCINOMAS; CHEMOTHERAPY; HEME; LIVER; LUCIFERASE; LUNGS; MESSENGER-RNA; RADIOTHERAPY; SIGNALS