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Carbon nanotubes induce apoptosis resistance of human lung epithelial cells through FLICE-inhibitory protein.

Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology (2014-11-22)
Varisa Pongrakhananon, Sudjit Luanpitpong, Todd A Stueckle, Liying Wang, Ubonthip Nimmannit, Yon Rojanasakul
ABSTRACT

Chronic exposure to single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) has been reported to induce apoptosis resistance of human lung epithelial cells. As resistance to apoptosis is a foundation of neoplastic transformation and cancer development, we evaluated the apoptosis resistance characteristic of the exposed lung cells to understand the pathogenesis mechanism. Passage control and SWCNT-transformed human lung epithelial cells were treated with known inducers of apoptosis via the intrinsic (antimycin A and CDDP) or extrinsic (FasL and TNF-α) pathway and analyzed for apoptosis by DNA fragmentation, annexin-V expression, and caspase activation assays. Whole-genome microarray was performed to aid the analysis of apoptotic gene signaling network. The SWCNT-transformed cells exhibited defective death receptor pathway in association with cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) overexpression. Knockdown or chemical inhibition of c-FLIP abrogated the apoptosis resistance of SWCNT-transformed cells. Whole-genome expression signature analysis confirmed these findings. This study is the first to demonstrate carbon nanotube-induced defective death receptor pathway and the role of c-FLIP in the process.

MATERIALS
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