Taurine exhibits an apoptosis-inducing effect on human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells through PTEN/Akt pathways in vitro
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Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a distinctive type of head and neck malignancy with a high incidence in southern China. Previous studies have confirmed that taurine shows an anti-cancer effect on a variety of human tumors by inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of its anti-cancer effect on NPC is not well understood. To clarify these anti-cancer mechanisms, we performed cell viability and colony formation assays. Apoptotic cells were quantified by flow cytometry. The expression levels of apoptosis-related proteins were evaluated by Western blot. The results showed that taurine markedly inhibited cell proliferation in NPC cells, but only slightly in an immortalized normal nasopharyngeal cell line. Taurine suppressed colony formation and induced apoptosis of NPC cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, taurine increased the active form of caspase-9/3 in a dose-dependent manner. Taurine down-regulated the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL and up-regulated the pro-apoptotic protein Bax and GRP78, a major endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone. These results suggest the involvement of mitochondrial and ER stress signaling in apoptosis. In addition, taurine increased the levels of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) and p53, and reduced phosphorylated Akt (protein kinase B). In conclusion, taurine may inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in NPC through PTEN activation with concomitant Akt inactivation.
KeywordsTaurine NPC Apoptosis PTEN Akt
This work was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP16H05255 (MM). We also thank the Takeda Science Foundation.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
All authors listed have contributed to the conception, design, gathering, analysis, or interpretation of data and have contributed to the writing and intellectual content of the article. All authors gave informed consent to the submission of this manuscript.
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