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PloS one

Glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibition sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.


PMID 22829912

Abstract

Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell lines with little or no effect on normal cells. However, its effect is limited as some cancers including pancreatic cancer show de novo resistance to TRAIL induced apoptosis. In this study we report that GSK-3 inhibition using the pharmacologic agent AR-18, enhanced TRAIL sensitivity in a range of pancreatic and prostate cancer cell lines. This sensitization was found to be caspase-dependent, and both pharmacological and genetic knock-down of GSK-3 isoforms resulted in apoptotic features as shown by cleavage of PARP and caspase-3. Elevated levels of reactive oxygen intermediates and disturbance of mitochondrial membrane potential point to a mitochondrial amplification loop for TRAIL-induced apoptosis after GSK-3 inhibition. Consistent with this, overexpression of anti-apoptotic mitochondrial targets such as Bcl-XL, Mcl-1, and Bcl-2 rescued PANC-1 and PPC-1 cells from TRAIL sensitization. However, overexpression of the caspase-8 inhibitor CrmA also inhibited the sensitizing effects of GSK-3 inhibitor, suggesting an additional role for GSK-3 that inhibits death receptor signaling. Acute treatment of mice bearing PANC-1 xenografts with a combination of AR-18 and TRAIL also resulted in a significant increase in apoptosis, as measured by caspase-3 cleavage. Sensitization to TRAIL occurred despite an increase in β-catenin due to GSK-3 inhibition, suggesting that the approach might be effective even in cancers with dysregulated β-catenin. These results suggest that GSK-3 inhibitors might be effectively combined with TRAIL for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

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AR-A014418, ≥98% (HPLC), solid
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