Serum from Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Promotes Growth and Proliferation via the IGF-II/IGF-IR/MEK/ERK Signaling Pathway in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Background/Aims: Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (CHB) plays a central role in the etiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Emerging evidence implicates insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II as a major risk factor for the growth and development of HCC. However, the relationship between HBV infection and IGF-II functions remains to be elucidated. Methods: Levels of circulating IGF-II and IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) in healthy donors (HDs) and CHB patients were tested by ELISA. Human HCC
... ELISA. Human HCC cell lines (HepG-2, SMMC-7721, MHCC97-H) were incubated with serum from HDs and CHB patients at various concentrations for 24, 48, and 72 h. MTT and plate colony formation assays, BrdU ELISA, ELISA, small-interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection, quantitative real-time PCR, and western blot were applied to assess the functional and molecular mechanisms in HCC cell lines. Results: Serum levels of IGF-II and IGF-IR were significantly higher in CHB patients than in HDs. Additionally, serum from CHB patients directly induced cell growth, proliferation, IGF-II secretion, and HDGF-related protein-2 (HRP-2) and nuclear protein 1 (NUPR1) mRNA and protein expression in HCC cells. Moreover, serum from CHB patients increased IGF-II-induced cell growth, proliferation, and HRP-2 and NUPR1 mRNA and protein expression in HCC cells. Blockade of IGF-IR clearly inhibited the above effects. Most importantly, interference with IGF-II function markedly repressed the cell proliferation and HRP-2 and NUPR1 mRNA and protein expression induced by serum from CHB patients. Furthermore, serum from CHB patients induced ERK phosphorylation via IGF-IR, with the MEK inhibitor PD98059 significantly decreasing CHB patient serum-induced IGF-II secretion, cell proliferation, and HRP-2 and NUPR1 mRNA and protein expression. Conclusion: Serum from CHB patients increases cell growth and proliferation and enhances HRP-2 and NUPR1 expression in HCC cells via the IGF-II/IGF-IR/MEK/ERK signaling pathway. These findings help to explain the molecular mechanisms underlying HBV-related HCC and may lead to the development of effective therapies.