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Endoplasmic reticulum stress promotes autophagy and apoptosis and reverses chemoresistance in human ovarian cancer cells.

Research paper by Jin-Long JL Hu, Xin-Long XL Hu, Ai-Ye AY Guo, Chao-Jie CJ Wang, Yi-Yang YY Wen, Shun-Dong SD Cang

Indexed on: 26 May '17Published on: 26 May '17Published in: Oncotarget



Abstract

Ovarian cancer presents the highest mortality rate among gynecological tumors. Here, we measured cell viability, proliferation, apoptosis, autophagy, and expression of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS)-related proteins, PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway-related proteins, and apoptosis- and autophagy-related proteins in SKOV3 and SKOV3/CDDP cells treated with combinations of CDDP, tunicamycin, and BEZ235 (blank control, CDDP, CDDP + tunicamycin, CDDP + BEZ235, and CDDP + tunicamycin + BEZ235). Increasing concentrations of tunicamycin and CDDP activated ERS in SKOV3 cells, reduced cell viability and proliferation, increased apoptosis and autophagy, enhanced expression of ERS-related proteins, and inhibited expression of PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway-related proteins. CDDP, tunicamycin, and BEZ235 acted synergistically to enhance these effects. We also detected lower expression of the ERS-related proteins caspase-3, LC3 II and Beclin 1 in ovarian cancer tissues than adjacent normal tissues. By contrast, expression of Bcl-2 and PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway-related proteins was higher in ovarian cancer tissues than adjacent normal tissues. Lastly, expression of the ERS-related proteins Beclin 1, caspase-3 and LC3 II was higher in the sensitive group than the resistant group, while expression of Bcl-2, LC3 I, P62 and PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway-related proteins was decreased. These results show that ERS promotes cell autophagy and apoptosis while reversing chemoresistance in ovarian cancer cells by inhibiting activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway.