Up-regulation of FXR isoforms is not required for stimulation of the expression of genes involved in the lack of response of colon cancer to chemotherapy.
ABSTRACT Several mechanisms are involved in the poor response of colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRAC) to pharmacological treatment. Since preliminary evidences have suggested that the enhanced expression of farnesoid X receptor (FXR) results in the stimulation of chemoresistance, we investigated whether FXR up-regulation is required for the expression of genes that characterize the multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype of CRAC. Samples of tumours and adjacent healthy tissues were collected from naive patients. Using Taqman Low-Density Arrays, the abundance of mRNA of 87 genes involved in MDR was determined. Relevant changes were re-evaluated by conventional RT-QPCR. In healthy tissue the major FXR isoforms were FXRα2(+/-) (80%). In tumours this predominance persisted (91%) but was accompanied by a consistent reduction (3-fold) in total FXR mRNA. A lower FXR expression was confirmed by immunostaining, in spite of which there was a significant change in the expression of MDR genes. Pharmacological challenge was simulated "in vitro" using human CRAC cells (LS174T cells). Short-term (72h) treatment with cisplatin slightly increased the almost negligible expression of FXR in wild-type LS174T cells, whereas long-term (months) treatment induced a cisplatin-resistant phenotype (LS174T/R cells), which was accompanied by a 350-fold up-regulation of FXR, mainly FXRα1(+/-). However, the changed expression of MDR genes in LS174T/R cells was not markedly affected by incubation with the FXR antagonist Z-guggulsterone. In conclusion, although the enhanced expression of FXR may be involved in the stimulation of chemoresistance that occurs during pharmacological treatment, FXR up-regulation is not required for the presence of the MDR phenotype characteristic of CRAC.