JNK signaling in hepatocarcinoma cells is associated with the side population upon treatment with anticancer drugs

Jong Bin Kim, Seo Young Park, Hye Ri Kim, Yeon Hwa Ahn, Hyeon Gun Jee, Jeong Hoon Lee, Su Jong Yu, Hyo Suk Lee, Minjong Lee, Jung Hwan Yoon, Yoon Jun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Liver cancer is one of the most drug-resistant cancer types, and cancer stem cells are related to drug resistance. c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling is involved in drug resistance, and the side population of cells (SP cells) can be used as a model to study liver cancer stem cells. We sought to evaluate the relationship between SP cells and JNK signaling in hepatocarcinoma cells. For this purpose, we examined cell proliferation and the SP cell ratio following treatment of Huh7 cells with the anticancer drugs 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and paclitaxel. The expression of phospho-stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK)/JNK in the treated cells was evaluated using immunoblotting. 5-FU and paclitaxel treatment increased the number of SP cells and JNK phosphorylation, and decreased cell survival. Huh7 and HepG2 cells were also treated with SP600125, a JNK inhibitor, to study the relationship between SP cells and JNK signaling. The increase in the number of SP cells and the SAPK/JNK and c-Jun phosphorylation was reverted by SP600125 treatment in these cells. We also used immunohistochemistry and showed that SAPK/JNK and c-Jun phosphorylation are increased in hepatocarcinoma tissues. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the number of SP cells and SAPK/JNK phosphorylation are increased upon treatment with anticancer drugs, and that this increase is blocked by inhibition of JNK signaling. These findings suggest that drug resistance in liver cancer may involve an increase in the number of SP cells following JNK activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Medicine Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Cancer stem cells
  • Drug resistance
  • Huh7 cells
  • JNK
  • Liver cancer
  • Side population

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