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Kaempferol Sensitizes Human Ovarian Cancer Cells-OVCAR-3 and SKOV-3 to Tumor Necrosis Factor-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL)-Induced Apoptosis via JNK/ERK-CHOP Pathway and Up-Regulation of Death Receptors 4 and 5

Yingmei Zhao, Binqiang Tian, Yong Wang, Haiying Ding

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Shanghai Pudong Hospital, Fudan University Pudong Medical Center, Shanghai, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:5096-5105

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.903552

Available online:

Published: 2017-10-26

BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer is the most common gynecological malignancies in women, with high mortality rates worldwide. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily which preferentially induces apoptosis of cancer cells. However, acquired resistance to TRAIL hampers its therapeutic application. Identification of compounds that sensitize cancer cells to TRAIL is vital in combating resistance to TRAIL. The effect of kaempferol, a flavonoid enhancing TRAIL-induced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells, was investigated in this study.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The cytotoxic effects of TRAIL (25 ng/mL) and kaempferol (20–100 µM) on human ovarian cancer cells OVCAR-3 and SKOV-3 were assessed. Effect of kaempferol on the expression patterns of cell survival proteins (Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, survivin, XIAP, c-FLIP) and apoptotic proteins (caspase-3, caspase-8, caspase-9, Bax) were studied. The influence of kaempferol on expression of DR4 and DR5 death receptors on the cell surface and protein and mRNA levels was also analyzed. Apoptosis following silencing of DR5 and CHOP by small interfering RNA (siRNA), and activation of MAP kinases were analyzed as well.
RESULTS: Kaempferol enhanced apoptosis and drastically up-regulated DR4, DR5, CHOP, JNK, ERK1/2, p38 and apoptotic protein expression with decline in the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins. Further transfection with siRNA specific to CHOP and DR5 indicated the involvement of CHOP in DR5 up-regulation and also the contribution of DR5 in kaempferol-enhanced TRAIL-induced apoptosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Kaempferol sensitized ovarian cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis via up-regulation of DR4 and DR5 through ERK/JNK/CHOP pathways.

Keywords: Apoptosis, MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 3, Transcription Factor CHOP