The mechanisms of the antineoplastic effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) still are unknown, but the induction of apoptosis is one of the possible mechanisms. We attempted to demonstrate the role of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, generally considered to be important mediators of proliferative and apoptotic signals, in NSAID-induced colon cancer cell apoptosis. Apoptosis was detected by demonstration of DNA fragmentation in agarose gel electrophoresis. Cell death was assessed by trypan blue dye exclusion method. MAP kinase activation was assessed by Western blot using phosphospecific antibodies to MAP kinases. Kinase assay using activating transcription factor-2 (ATF-2) fusion protein as a substrate was also performed for measuring p38 MAP kinase activity. For the inhibition of p38 MAP kinase, pyridinylimidazole compound (SB203580) was utilized. Caspase-3 activity was measured using the tetrapeptide fluorogenic substrate Ac-DEVD-AMC. Treatment of HT-29 cells with NSAIDs results in time-and dose-dependent induction of apoptosis, accompanied by sustained activation of all three MAP kinase subfamilies. The SB203580, a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor, reduced indomethacin-induced cell death cell death by 43% while PD098059, a MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK) 1 inhibitor, did not affect cell death. p38 MAP kinase and caspase-3 activation were not significantly interlinked in indomethacin-induced apoptosis. From these results, we conclude that NSAIDs can induce prolonged activation of MAP kinases in colon cancer cells and that, of these, p38 MAP kinase may play a partial but significant role in indomethacin-induced apoptosis.
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Acknowledgements This work was supported by the Brain Korea 21 project and Handok pharmaceuticals Co., LTD.
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