Tumor necrosis factor-α attenuates starvation-induced apoptosis through upregulation of ferritin heavy chain in hepatocellular carcinoma cells
- Equal contributors
1 Tumor Immunology and Gene Therapy Center, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, 225 Changhai Road, Shanghai 200438, P. R China
2 Medical Sciences Research Center, renji hospital, school of medicine, Shanghai jiaotong University, Shanghai, PR. China
BMC Cancer 2013, 13:438 doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-438Published: 25 September 2013
Tumor microenviroment is characteristic of inflammation, ischemia and starvation of nutrient. TNF-α, which is an extraordinarily pleiotropic cytokine, could be an endogenous tumor promoter in some tumor types. The basic objective of this study was to investigate the effects of TNF-α on the cell viability and apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells under serum starvation, and to identify the molecular mechanisms involved.
For this purpose, five different concentrations of TNF-α and two different serum settings (serum-cultured and serum-deprived) were used to investigate the effects of TNF-α on the cell viability and apoptosis of Hep3B and SMMC-7721 cells.
TNF-α (10 ng/ml) attenuated serum starvation-induced apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells, and autophagy conferred this process. BAY11-7082, a specific inhibitor of NF-κB, reversed the suppression of serum starvation-induced apoptosis by TNF-α. Moreover, TNF-α-induced NF-κB transactivation was suppressed by autophagy inhibitor 3-MA. In addition, TNF-α up-regulated Ferritin heavy chain (FHC) transiently by NF-κB activation and FHC levels were correlated with the TNF-α-induced protection against serum starvation-mediated apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Furthermore, FHC-mediated inhibition of apoptosis depended on suppressing ROS accumulation.
Our findings suggested that autophagy conferred the TNF-α protection against serum starvation-mediated apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells, the mechanism involved with the activation of the TNF-α/ NF-κB /FHC signaling pathway.