Resveratrol induces chemosensitization to 5-fluorouracil through up-regulation of intercellular junctions, Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and apoptosis in colorectal cancer


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Abstract

5-Fluorouracil (5-FU), a common chemotherapeutic agent used for the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC), by itself has inadequate response rates; highlighting the need for novel and improved treatment regimens for these patients. Resveratrol, a naturally-occurring polyphenol, has been linked with chemosensitizing potential and anticancer properties; however, the underlying mechanisms for these effects remain poorly understood.The effect of resveratrol in parental CRC cell lines (HCT116, SW480) and their corresponding isogenic 5-FU-chemoresistant derived clones (HCT116R, SW480R) was examined by MTT assays, intercellular junction formation and apoptosis by electron- and immunoelectron microscopy, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and NF-κB regulated gene products by western blot analysis in a 3D-alginate microenvironment. Resveratrol blocked the proliferation of all four CRC cell lines and synergized the invasion inhibitory effects of 5-FU. Interestingly, resveratrol induced a transition from 5-FU-induced formation of microvilli to a planar cell surface, which was concomitant with up-regulation of desmosomes, gap- and tight junctions (claudin-2) and adhesion molecules (E-cadherin) expression in HCT116 and HCT116R cells. Further, resveratrol significantly attenuated drug resistance through inhibition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) factors (decreased vimentin and slug, increased E-cadherin) and down-regulation of NF-κB activation and its translocation to the nucleus and abolished NF-κB-regulated gene end-products (MMP-9, caspase-3). Moreover, this suppression was mediated through inhibition of IκBα kinase and IκBα phosphorylation and degradation. Our results demonstrate that resveratrol can potentiate the anti-tumor effects of 5-FU on CRC cells by chemosensitizing them, inhibiting an EMT phenotype via up-regulation of intercellular junctions and by down-regulation of NF-κB pathway.Graphical abstract

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