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Title: Azathioprine desensitizes liver cancer cells to insulin-like growth factor 1 and causes apoptosis when it is combined with bafilomycin A1

Hepatoblastoma is a primary liver cancer that affects children, due to the sensitivity of this tumor to insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). In this paper we show that azathioprine (AZA) is capable of inhibiting IGF1-mediated signaling cascade in HepG2 cells. The efficiency of AZA on inhibition of proliferation differs in the evaluated cell lines as follows: HepG2 (an experimental model of hepatoblastoma) > Hep3B (derived from a hepatocellular carcinoma) > HuH6 (derived from a hepatoblastoma) ≫ HuH7 (derived from a hepatocellular carcinoma) = Chang Liver cells (a non-malignant cellular model). The effect of AZA in HepG2 cells has been proven to derive from activation of Ras/ERK/TSC2, leading to activation of mTOR/p70S6K in a sustained manner. p70S6K phosphorylates IRS-1 in serine 307 which leads to the uncoupling between IRS-1 and p85 (the regulatory subunit of PI3K) and therefore causing the lack of response of HepG2 to IGF-1. As a consequence, proliferation induced by IGF-1 is inhibited by AZA and autophagy increases leading to senescence of HepG2 cells. Our results suggest that AZA induces the autophagic process in HepG2 activating senescence, and driving to deceleration of cell cycle but not to apoptosis. However, when simultaneous to AZA treatment the autophagy was inhibitedmore » by bafilomycin A1 and the degradation of regulatory proteins of cell cycle (e.g. Rb, E2F, and cyclin D1) provoked apoptosis. In conclusion, AZA induces resistance in hepatoblastoma cells to IGF-1, which leads to autophagy activation, and causes apoptosis when it is combined with bafilomycin A1. We are presenting here a novel mechanism of action of azathioprine, which could be useful in treatment of IGF-1 dependent tumors, especially in its combination with other drugs. - Highlights: • Azathioprine activated Ras/ERK/TSC-2/mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway in HepG2 cells. • Azathioprine inhibited IGF-1-mediated signaling cascade. • Azathioprine induced autophagy leading to cell cycle arrest. • Cells died by apoptosis when azathioprine was combined with bafilomycin A1.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;
  1. Departamento de Biología de Sistemas, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Universidad de Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares (Spain)
  2. Departamento de Medicina y Especialidades Médicas, Universidad de Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares (Spain)
  3. Departamento de Biomedicina y Biotecnología, Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria (IRYCIS), Universidad de Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares (Spain)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22285449
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology; Journal Volume: 272; Journal Issue: 3; 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; ADP; APOPTOSIS; CELL CYCLE; CHILDREN; GLUTATHIONE; GROWTH FACTORS; GUANOSINE; HEPATOMAS; INSULIN; LIVER; LIVER CELLS; RECEPTORS; RIBOSE; TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS