Increased oxidative stress, inflammation and fibrosis in perirenal adipose tissue of patients with cortisol-producing adenoma
Although much is known about that corticosteroids affect the functions of adipose tissues, little genetic information is available for perirenal adipose tissue (peri-N) from patients with cortisol-producing adenoma (CPA). We conducted microarray analysis of peri-N from patients with CPA by using an Affymetrix human U133 plus 2.0 array. We also analysed the inflammation, fibrosis and oxidative stress in vitro. Compared with normotension (NT) group, CPA group has significantly higher protein levels of TNFα, IL-6, fibronectin (FN) and collagen I (COLI). The protein level of NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) significantly increased, while nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1) levels were significantly reduced in the CPA group. Dexamethasone markedly induced fibrosis and adipogenesis-related gene expression in predifferentiated stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells, 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and brown preadipocytes. Chronic exposure to endogenous glucocorticoids due to CPA increases peri-N oxidative stress, inflammation and fibrosis, which may contribute to the metabolic disturbances associated with hypercortisolism in these patients.
Role of Nrf2 in the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf)2 is a transcription factor that integrates cellular stress signals by directing various transcriptional programs. As an evolutionarily conserved intracellular defense mechanism, Nrf2 and its endogenous inhibitor Kelch-like ECH-associated protein (Keap)1 inhibit oxidative stress in the lung, which is the internal organ that is continuously exposed to the environment. Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of various lung diseases including asthma, acute lung injury, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and interstitial lung disease (ILD). Thus, Nrf2 is considered as a potential therapeutic target in lung diseases owing to its antioxidant effect. Nrf2 also plays a complex role in lung cancer, acting as a tumor suppressor and promoter; recent studies have revealed the tumor-promoting effects of Nrf2 in tumors that have undergone malignant transformation. Lung cancer-associated mutations in Keap1 disrupt Keap1-Nrf2 complex formation, resulting in the ubiquitination and degradation of Keap1, and the constitutive activation of Nrf2. In lung cancer cells, persistently high nuclear Nrf2 levels induce the expression of genes that contribute to metabolic reprogramming, and stimulate cell proliferation. In this review, we outlined the major functions of Nrf2, and discussed its importance in pulmonary diseases such as asthma, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and lung cancer. Elucidating the mechanisms through which Nrf2 modulates the initiation and progression of pulmonary diseases can lead to the development of therapeutics specifically targeting this pathway.
Double-negative T Cells Inhibit Proliferation and Invasion of Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells in Co-culture
Double-negative T (DNT) cells are phenotypically CD3CD4CD8T cells. This study aimed to investigate the anti-cancer activity of DNT cells against pancreatic cancer cells.
Abrus agglutinin inhibits oral carcinogenesis through inactivation of NRF2 signaling pathway
Abrus agglutinin (AGG), a heterotetrameric type II ribosome inactivating protein isolated from the seeds of Abrus precatorius shows potent antitumor activity in different cancer models. We examined the role of antioxidant system in modulation of the anticancer activity of AGG in in vitro and in hamster model of oral cancer. AGG promotes apoptosis through accumulation of ROS in CAL33 cells. Interestingly, our data showed that AGG decreases the activity of antioxidant enzymes including superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase in CAL33 cells indicating antioxidant enzyme inhibition leads to AGG-induced ROS accumulation. Moreover, AGG inhibits expression of NRF2, transcription factor which regulates the expression of antioxidant enzymes in CAL33 cells. We found that AGG induces autophagy induction and loss of p62 expression in CAL33 cells. Furthermore, it showed that NRF2 expression is restored in the presence of 3-methyladenine and Baficomycin-A1 establishing role of autophagy in modulation of NRF2 through p62. Our study showed that AGG significantly inhibited tumor growth in DMBA-induced carcinogenesis. In immunohistochemical analysis, AGG-treated tumor displays higher caspase3 expression and less p62 and NRF2 expression in comparison to the control. In conclusion, AGG-induced degradation of NRF2 through autophagy leads to ROS accumulation dependent apoptosis which might be used for treatment of oral cancer.
The Role of Nrf2 Activity in Cancer Development and Progression
Nrf2 is a transcription factor that stimulates the expression of genes which have antioxidant response element-like sequences in their promoter. Nrf2 is a cellular protector, and this principle applies to both normal cells and malignant cells. While healthy cells are protected from DNA damage induced by reactive oxygen species, malignant cells are defended against chemo- or radiotherapy. Through our literature search, we found that Nrf2 activates several oncogenes unrelated to the antioxidant activity, such as Matrix metallopeptidase 9 (), B-cell lymphoma 2 (), B-cell lymphoma-extra large (), Tumour Necrosis Factor (), and Vascular endothelial growth factor A (). We also did a brief analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data of lung adenocarcinoma concerning the effects of radiation therapy and found that the therapy-induced Nrf2 activation is not universal. For instance, in the case of recurrent disease and radiotherapy, we observed that, for the majority of Nrf2-targeted genes, there is no change in expression level. This proves that the universal, axiomatic rationale that Nrf2 is activated as a response to chemo- and radiation therapy is wrong, and that each scenario should be carefully evaluated with the help of Nrf2-targeted genes. Moreover, there were nine genes involved in lipid peroxidation, which showed underexpression in the case of new radiation therapy: , , , , , , , , and . This may relate to the fact that, while some studies reported the co-activation of Nrf2 and other oncogenic signaling pathways such as Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (), mitogen-activated protein kinase (), and Notch1, other reported the inverse correlation between Nrf2 and the tumor-promoter Transcription Factor (TF), Nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (). Lastly, Nrf2 establishes its activity through interactions at multiple levels with various microRNAs. MiR-155, miR-144, miR-28, miR-365-1, miR-93, miR-153, miR-27a, miR-142, miR-29-b1, miR-340, and miR-34a, either through direct repression of Nrf2 messenger RNA (mRNA) in a Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)-independent manner or by enhancing the Keap1 cellular level, inhibit the Nrf2 activity. Keap1-Nrf2 interaction leads to the repression of miR-181c, which is involved in the Nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) signaling pathway. Nrf2's role in cancer prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy is still in its infancy, and the future strategic planning of Nrf2-based oncological approaches should also consider the complex interaction between Nrf2 and its various activators and inhibitors.
Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Autophagy-Mediated Treatment Resistance in Cancer
Despite advances in diagnostic tools and therapeutic options, treatment resistance remains a challenge for many cancer patients. Recent studies have found evidence that autophagy, a cellular pathway that delivers cytoplasmic components to lysosomes for degradation and recycling, contributes to treatment resistance in different cancer types. A role for autophagy in resistance to chemotherapies and targeted therapies has been described based largely on associations with various signaling pathways, including MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling. However, our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the role of autophagy in facilitating treatment resistance remains limited. Here we provide a comprehensive summary of the evidence linking autophagy to major signaling pathways in the context of treatment resistance and tumor progression, and then highlight recently emerged molecular mechanisms underlying autophagy and the p62/KEAP1/NRF2 and FOXO3A/PUMA axes in chemoresistance.
Punicalagin Reversed the Hepatic Injury of Tetrachloromethane by Antioxidation and Enhancement of Autophagy
Hepatic injury is significant in the pathogenesis and development of many types of liver diseases. Punicalagin (PU) is a bioactive antioxidant polyphenol found in pomegranates. To explore its protective effect against carbon tetrachloride (CCl)-induced liver injury and the mechanism, Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice and L02 cells were used to observe the changes of serum biochemical indicators, histopathological liver structure, cell viability, antioxidative indices, and autophagy-related proteins were assessed. In ICR mice, PU ameliorated the CCl-induced increase of the serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, the activity of liver lactate dehydrogenase, and the damage of histopathological structure, and exhibited a hepatoprotective effect against CCl. PU attenuated oxidative stress by decreasing the liver malondialdehyde level and increasing the activities of liver superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and the expression of the liver nuclear factor E2-related factor (Nrf2) protein. Furthermore, according to the vivo and vitro experiments, PU might activate autophagy through the mediation of the Akt/FOXO3a and P62/Nrf2 signaling pathway. Taken together, these results suggest that PU may protect against CCl-induced liver injury through the upregulation of antioxidative activities and autophagy.
Investigation of Molecular Details of Keap1-Nrf2 Inhibitors Using Molecular Dynamics and Umbrella Sampling Techniques
In this study, we investigate the atomistic details of Keap1-Nrf2 inhibitors by in-depth modeling techniques, including molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and the path-based free energy method of umbrella sampling (US). The protein-protein interaction (PPI) of Keap1-Nrf2 is implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiomyopathy. A better understanding of the five sub-pocket binding sites for Nrf2 (ETGE and DLG motifs) inside the Kelch domain would expedite the inhibitor design process. We selected four protein-ligand complexes with distinct co-crystal ligands and binding occupancies inside the Nrf2 binding site. We performed 100 ns of MD simulation for each complex and analyzed the trajectories. From the results, it is evident that one ligand (1VV) has flipped inside the binding pocket, whereas the remaining three were stable. We found that Coulombic (Arg483, Arg415, Ser363, Ser508, and Ser602) and Lennard-Jones (Tyr525, Tyr334, and Tyr572) interactions played a significant role in complex stability. The obtained binding free energy values from US simulations were consistent with the potencies of simulated ligands. US simulation highlight the importance of basic and aromatic residues in the binding pocket. A detailed description of the dissociation process brings valuable insight into the interaction of the four selected protein-ligand complexes, which could help in the future to design more potent PPI inhibitors.
Next-generation sequencing identified somatic alterations that may underlie the etiology of Chinese papillary thyroid carcinoma
To better understand the etiology of papillary thyroid carcinoma, we did next-generation sequencing for the exomes and transcriptomes of a Chinese cohort of 28 pairs of DNA and RNA samples extracted from papillary thyroid carcinoma tumors and adjacent normal thyroid samples. The Chinese papillary thyroid carcinoma tumors harbored somatic mutations in the known driver genes, such as KRAS, TP53, BRAF, ERBB2, and MET. In addition, we identified novel papillary thyroid carcinoma candidate genes that had not been well studied before. We also identified a gene mutation signature involving SPTA1, MAP2, SYNE1, and SLIT3 that is significantly associated with survival of papillary thyroid carcinoma patients. Transcriptome analysis using the initial papillary thyroid carcinoma tumor samples and a new Chinese papillary thyroid carcinoma dataset identified six commonly upregulated oncogenic pathways in both datasets including eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2, phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase (PI3K)/serine/threonine kinase (AKT), Ephrin Receptor, Rho Family GTPase signaling, nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2 (NRF2)-mediated oxidative stress response, and remodeling of epithelial adherens junctions. Overall, we identified novel candidate genes and oncogenic pathways important to the etiology of papillary thyroid carcinoma in Chinese patients and found the association of a gene signature with the survival outcome of the thyroid cancer patients. These findings may help in moving toward the more comprehensive and effective personalized treatment of papillary thyroid carcinoma in Chinese.
Binding partners of NRF2: Functions and regulatory mechanisms
NRF2 is a redox-sensitive transcription factor that plays an important role in protecting organisms against diverse types of electrophiles or oxidants. The level of NRF2 is maintained low in normal cells, but highly elevated in cancer provoking chemoresistance or radioresistance. It is now recognized that NRF2 does not merely maintain the redox balance, but also plays significant roles in autophagy, apoptosis, cell cycle progression, and stem cell differentiation, all of which could be possibly attributable to the existence of multiple binding proteins. In the present manuscript, we summarize direct binding partners of NRF2 and illustrate how they bind to NRF2 and regulate its stability or activity.
Activation of tumor-promoting pathways implicated in hepatocellular adenoma/carcinoma, a long-term complication of glycogen storage disease type Ia
Hepatocellular adenoma/carcinoma (HCA/HCC) is a long-term complication of the metabolic disorder glycogen storage disease type Ia (GSD-Ia) deficient in glucose-6-phosphatase-α (G6PC or G6Pase-α). We have shown previously that hepatic G6Pase-α deficiency leads to autophagy impairment, mitochondrial dysfunction, enhanced glycolysis, and augmented hexose monophosphate shunt, all of which can contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis. However, the mechanism underlying HCA/HCC development in GSD-Ia remains unclear. We now show that G6Pase-α deficiency-mediated hepatic autophagy impairment leads to sustained accumulation of an autophagy-specific substrate p62 which can activate tumor-promoting pathways including nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Consistently, the HCA/HCC lesions developed in the G6Pase-α-deficient livers display marked accumulation of p62 aggregates and phosphorylated p62 along with activation of Nrf2 and mTORC1 signaling. Furthermore, the HCA/HCC lesions exhibit activation of additional oncogenic pathways, β-catenin and Yes-associated protein (YAP) which is implicated in autophagy impairment. Intriguingly, hepatic levels of glucose-6-phosphate and glycogen which are accumulated in the G6Pase-α-deficient livers were significantly lower in HCC than those in HCA. Conversely, compared to HCA, the HCC lesion display increased expression of many oncogenes and the M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase (PKM2), a glycolytic enzyme critical for aerobic glycolysis and tumorigenesis. Collectively, our data show that hepatic G6Pase-α-deficiency leads to persistent autophagy impairment and activation of multiple tumor-promoting pathways that contribute to HCA/HCC development in GSD-Ia.
Circumventing autophagy inhibition
Autophagy is cellular recycling process that plays a complex role in cancer. Pre-clinical studies indicating a pro-tumorigenic role of autophagy have led to the launch of dozens of clinical trials combining autophagy inhibition with other standard of care therapies in different tumor types. A recent publication utilized a novel, acute, CRISPR/Cas9 assay to identify cancer cell lines that are exquisitely sensitive to loss of core autophagy genes within the first 7 days. However, weeks later, rare populations of originally autophagy dependent cells were found that could circumvent autophagy inhibition. Analysis of these rare clones revealed that in the process of circumventing loss of autophagy, the cells upregulated NRF2 signaling to maintain protein homeostasis and consequently become more sensitive to proteasome inhibition as well as knock down of NRF2. This review highlights recent publications regarding the role of autophagy in cancer and potential mechanisms cancer cells may be able to commandeer to circumvent autophagy inhibition. We hope to make significant clinical advances by understanding if and when cancer cells will become resistant to autophagy inhibition, and pre-clinical studies may be able to provide insight into the best combinatorial therapies to prevent tumor relapse while on autophagy inhibitors.
Targets and mechanisms of sulforaphane derivatives obtained from cruciferous plants with special focus on breast cancer - contradictory effects and future perspectives
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Therefore, discovery of new and effective drugs with fewer side effects is necessary to treat it. Sulforaphane (SFN) is an organosulfur compound obtained from cruciferous plants, such as broccoli and mustard, and it has the potential to treat breast cancer. Hence, it is vital to find out how SFN targets certain genes and cellular pathways in treating breast cancer. In this review, molecular targets and cellular pathways of SFN are described. Studies have shown SFN inhibits cell proliferation, causes apoptosis, stops cell cycle and has anti-oxidant activities. Increasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) produces oxidative stress, activates inflammatory transcription factors, and these result in inflammation leading to cancer. Increasing anti-oxidant potential of cells and discovering new targets to reduce ROS creation reduces oxidative stress and it eventually reduces cancer risks. In short, SFN effectively affects histone deacetylases involved in chromatin remodeling, gene expression, and Nrf2 anti-oxidant signaling. This review points to the potential of SFN to treat breast cancer as well as the importance of other new cruciferous compounds, derived from and isolated from mustard, to target Keap1 and Akt, two key regulators of cellular homeostasis.
New addiction to the NRF2-related factor NRF3 in cancer cells: Ubiquitin-independent proteolysis via the 20S proteasome
Accumulating evidence has revealed that human cancers develop by sequentially mutating pivotal genes, including driver genes, and acquiring cancer hallmarks. For instance, cancer cells are addicted to the transcription factor NRF2 (NFE2L2), which is a driver gene and that utilizes the cellular cytoprotection system against oxidative stress and metabolic pathway reprogramming for sustaining high growth. Our group has recently discovered new addiction to the NRF2-related factor NRF3 (NFE2L3) in cancer. For many years, the physiological function of NRF3 remained obscure, in part because Nrf3-deficient mice do not exhibit apparent abnormalities. Nevertheless, human cancer genome databases suggest critical roles of NRF3 in cancer because of high NRF3 mRNA induction in several cancer types, such as colorectal cancer and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, with a poor prognosis. We found that NRF3 promotes tumor growth and malignancy by activating ubiquitin-independent 20S proteasome assembly through inducing the expression of the POMP chaperone and thereby degrading the tumor suppressors p53 and Rb. The NRF3-POMP-20S proteasome axis has an entirely different effect on cancer than NRF2. In this review, we describe recent research advances regarding the new cancer effector NRF3, including unclarified ubiquitin-independent proteolysis by the NRF3-POMP-20S proteasome axis. The expected development of cancer therapeutic interventions for this axis is also discussed.
Chemopreventive effect of hesperidin, a citrus bioflavonoid in two stage skin carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice
The cancer-protective ability of hesperidin was investigated on 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) and 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced skin carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice. Topical application of DMBA+TPA on mice skin led to 100% tumour incidence and rise in average number of tumours. Administration of different doses of hesperidin (HPD) before (pre) or after (post) and continuous (pre and post) DMBA application significantly reduced tumour incidence and average number of tumours in comparison to DMBA+TPA treatment alone. Topical application of DMBA+TPA increased oxidative stress as shown by significantly increased TBARS values and reduced glutathione contents, and glutathione-S-transferase, superoxide dismutase and catalase activities. Hesperidin treatment significantly reduced TBARS values and elevated glutathione concentration and glutathione-S-transferase, superoxide dismutase and catalase activities in the skin/tumors of mice treated with HPD+DMBA+TPA, HPD+DMBA+TPA+HPD or DMBA+TPA+HPD when compared to DMBA+TPA application alone. The study of molecular mechanisms showed that hesperidin suppressed expression of Rassf7, Nrf2, PARP and NF-κB in a dose dependent manner with a maximum inhibition at the level of 300 mg/kg body weight hesperidin. In conclusion, oral administration of hesperidin protected mice against chemical carcinogenesis by increasing antioxidant status, reducing DMBA+TPA induced lipid peroxidation and inflammatory response, and repressing of Rassf7, Nrf2, PARP and NF-κB levels.