Melatonin suppresses tumor angiogenesis by inhibiting HIF-1alpha stabilization under hypoxia.
ABSTRACT Angiogenesis is an important mediator of tumor progression. As tumors expand, diffusion distances from the existing vascular supply increases, resulting in hypoxia in the cancer cells. Sustained expansion of a tumor mass requires new blood vessel formation to provide rapidly proliferating tumor cells with an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients. The key regulator of hypoxia-induced angiogenesis is the transcription factor known as hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1. HIF-1alpha is stabilized by hypoxia-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and enhances the expression of several types of hypoxic genes, including that of the angiogenic activator known as vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF). In this study, we found that melatonin, a small lipophilic molecule secreted primarily by the pineal gland, destabilizes hypoxia-induced HIF-1alpha protein levels in the HCT116 human colon cancer cell line. This destabilization of HIF-1alpha resulted from the antioxidant activity of melatonin against ROS induced by hypoxia. Moreover, under hypoxia, melatonin suppressed HIF-1 transcriptional activity, leading to a decrease in VEGF expression. Melatonin also blocked in vitro tube formation and invasion and migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells induced by hypoxia-stimulated conditioned media of HCT116 cells. These findings suggest that melatonin could play a pivotal role in tumor suppression via inhibition of HIF-1-mediated angiogenesis.
- SourceAvailable from: Luciano GualanoInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2013; 14(2):2410-30. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) growth relies on angiogenesis via vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) release. Hypoxia within tumour environment leads to intracellular stabilisation of hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (Hif1α) and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3). Melatonin induces apoptosis in HCC, and shows anti-angiogenic features in several tumours. In this study, we used human HepG2 liver cancer cells as an in vitro model to investigate the anti-angiogenic effects of melatonin.Methods:HepG2 cells were treated with melatonin under normoxic or CoCl2-induced hypoxia. Gene expression was analysed by RT-qPCR and western blot. Melatonin-induced anti-angiogenic activity was confirmed by in vivo human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) tube formation assay. Secreted VEGF was measured by ELISA. Immunofluorescence was performed to analyse Hif1α cellular localisation. Physical interaction between Hif1α and its co-activators was analysed by immunoprecipitation and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP).Results:Melatonin at a pharmacological concentration (1 mM) decreases cellular and secreted VEGF levels, and prevents HUVECs tube formation under hypoxia, associated with a reduction in Hif1α protein expression, nuclear localisation, and transcriptional activity. While hypoxia increases phospho-STAT3, Hif1α, and CBP/p300 recruitment as a transcriptional complex within the VEGF promoter, melatonin 1 mM decreases their physical interaction. Melatonin and the selective STAT3 inhibitor Stattic show a synergic effect on Hif1α, STAT3, and VEGF expression.Conclusion:Melatonin exerts an anti-angiogenic activity in HepG2 cells by interfering with the transcriptional activation of VEGF, via Hif1α and STAT3. Our results provide evidence to consider this indole as a powerful anti-angiogenic agent for HCC treatment.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 11 June 2013; advance online publication 11 June 2013; doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.285 www.bjcancer.com.British Journal of Cancer 06/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor