Sulforaphane Sensitizes Tumor Necrosis Factor–Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL)–Resistant Hepatoma Cells to TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis through Reactive Oxygen Species–Mediated Up-regulation of DR5
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- Kwon, Taeg Kyu
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- Sulforaphane is a chemopreventive agent present in various cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli. Here, we show that treatment with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in combination with subtoxic doses of sulforaphane significantly induces rapid apoptosis in TRAIL-resistant hepatoma cells. Neither TNF-α- nor Fas-mediated apoptosis was sensitized in hepatoma cells by cotreatment with sulforaphane, suggesting that sulforaphane can selectively sensitize cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis but not to apoptosis mediated by other death receptors. We found that sulforaphane treatment significantly up-regulated mRNA and protein levels of DR5, a death receptor of TRAIL. This was accompanied by an increase in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Pretreatment with N-acetyl-l-cysteine and overexpression of catalase inhibited sulforaphane-induced up-regulation of DR5 and almost completely blocked the cotreatment-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, the sulforaphane-mediated sensitization to TRAIL was efficiently reduced by administration of a blocking antibody or small interfering RNAs for DR5. These results collectively indicate that sulforaphane-induced generation of ROS and the subsequent up-regulation of DR5 are critical for triggering and amplifying TRAIL-induced apoptotic signaling. We also found that sulforaphane can sensitize both Bcl-xL- and Bcl-2-overexpressing hepatoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, indicating that treatment with a combination of TRAIL and sulforaphane may be a safe strategy for treating resistant hepatomas.
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