Margarita Fernández

Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

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Publications (18)85.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Polμ is an error-prone PolX polymerase that contributes to classical NHEJ DNA repair. Mice lacking Polμ (Polμ-/-) show altered hematopoiesis homeostasis and DSB repair and a more pronounced nucleolytic resection of some V(D)J junctions. We previously showed that Polμ-/- mice have increased learning capacity at old ages, suggesting delayed brain aging. Here we investigated the effect of Polμ-/- deficiency on liver aging. We found that old Polμ-/- mice (>20 month) have greater liver regenerative capacity compared with wt animals. Old Polμ-/- liver showed reduced genomic instability and increased apoptosis resistance. However, Polμ-/- mice did not show an extended life span and other organs (e.g., heart) aged normally. Our results suggest that Polμ deficiency activates transcriptional networks that reduce constitutive apoptosis, leading to enhanced liver repair at old age.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e93074. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093074 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The NADPH oxidase NOX4 has emerged as an important source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in signal transduction, playing roles in physiological and pathological processes. NOX4 mediates Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-β)-induced intracellular signals that provoke liver fibrosis and pre-clinical assays have suggested NOX4 inhibitors as useful tools to ameliorate this process. However, the potential consequences of sustained treatment of liver cells with NOX4 inhibitors are unknown yet. The aim of this work was to analyze whether NOX4 plays a role in regulating liver cell growth either under physiological conditions or during tumorigenesis. In vitro assays proved that stable knock-down of NOX4 expression in human liver tumor cells increased cell proliferation, which correlated with a higher percentage of cells in S/G2/M phases of the cell cycle, down-regulation of p21(CIP1/WAF1), increase of Cyclin D1 protein levels and nuclear localization of beta-catenin. Silencing of NOX4 in untransformed human and mouse hepatocytes also increased their in vitro proliferative capacity. In vivo analysis in mice revealed that NOX4 expression was down-regulated under physiological proliferative situations of the liver, such as regeneration after partial hepatectomy, as well as during pathological proliferative conditions, such as diethyl-nitrosamine (DEN)-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Xenograft experiments in athymic mice indicated that NOX4 silencing conferred advantage to the human hepatocarcinoma cells, resulting in earlier onset of tumor formation and increase in tumor size. Interestingly, immunochemical analyses of NOX4 expression in human liver tumor cell lines and tissues revealed decreased NOX4 protein levels in liver tumorigenesis. Overall, results described here strongly suggest that NOX4 would play a growth inhibitory role in liver cells.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 02/2014; 69. DOI:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.01.040 · 5.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TGF-β family members play a relevant role in tumorigenic processes, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but a specific implication of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) subfamily is still unknown. Although originally isolated from fetal liver, little is known about BMP9, a BMP family member, and its role in liver physiology and pathology. Our results show that BMP9 promotes growth in HCC cells, but not in immortalized human hepatocytes. In the liver cancer cell line HepG2, BMP9 triggers Smad1,5,8 phosphorylation and inhibitor of DNA binding 1 (Id1) expression up- regulation. Importantly, by using chemical inhibitors, ligand trap and gene silencing approaches we demonstrate that HepG2 cells autocrinely produce BMP9 that supports their proliferation and anchorage independent growth. Additionally, our data reveal that in HepG2 cells BMP9 triggers cell cycle progression, and strikingly, completely abolishes the increase in the percentage of apoptotic cells induced by long-term incubation in low serum. Collectively, our data unveil a dual role for BMP9, both promoting a proliferative response and exerting a remarkable anti-apoptotic function in HepG2 cells, which result in a robust BMP9 effect on liver cancer cell growth. Finally, we show that BMP9 expression is increased in 40% of human HCC tissues compared with normal human liver as revealed by immunohistochemistry analysis, suggesting that BMP9 signaling may be relevant during hepatocarcinogenesis in vivo. Our findings provide new clues for a better understanding of BMPs contribution, and in particular BMP9, in HCC pathogenesis that may result in the development of effective and targeted therapeutic interventions.
    PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e69535. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0069535 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been known for a long time that mitochondria isolated from hepatocytes treated with glucagon or Ca2+-mobilising agents such as phenylephrine show an increase in their adenine nucleotide (AdN) content, respiratory activity and calcium retention capacity (CRC). Here, we have studied the role of SCaMC-3/slc25a23, the mitochondrial ATP-Mg/Pi carrier present in adult mouse liver, in the control of mitochondrial AdN levels and respiration in response to Ca2+ signals as a candidate target of glucagon actions. With the use of SCaMC-3 knock-out (KO) mice, we have found that the carrier is responsible for the accumulation of AdNs in liver mitochondria in a strictly Ca2+-dependent way with an S0.5 for Ca2+ activation of 3.4 +/- 1.9 microM. Accumulation of matrix AdNs allows SCaMC-3-dependent increase in CRC. In addition, SCaMC-3-dependent accumulation of AdNs is required to acquire a fully active state 3 respiration in AdN-depleted liver mitochondria, although further accumulation of AdNs is not followed by increases in respiration. Moreover, glucagon addition to isolated hepatocytes increases oligomycin-sensitive oxygen consumption and maximal respiratory rates in cells derived from wild type, but not SCaMC-3-KO mice and glucagon administration in vivo results in an increase in AdN content, state 3 respiration and CRC in liver mitochondria in wild type but not in SCaMC-3-KO mice. These results show that SCaMC-3 is required for the increase in oxidative phosphorylation observed in liver mitochondria in response to glucagon and Ca2+-mobilising agents, possibly by allowing a Ca2+-dependent accumulation of mitochondrial AdNs and matrix Ca2+, events permissive for other glucagon actions.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2013; DOI:10.1074/jbc.M112.409144 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that oval cells harboring a genetically inactivated Met tyrosine kinase (Met(-/-) oval cells) are more sensitive to TGF-β-induced apoptosis than cells expressing a functional Met (Met(flx/flx)), demonstrating that the HGF/Met axis plays a pivotal role in oval cell survival. Here, we have examined the mechanism behind this effect and have found that TGF-β induced a mitochondria-dependent apoptotic cell death in Met(flx/flx) and Met(-/-) oval cells, associated with a marked increase in levels of the BH3-only proteins Bim and Bmf. Bmf plays a key role during TGF-β-mediated apoptosis since knocking down of BMF significantly diminished the apoptotic response in Met(-/-) oval cells. TGF-β also induced oxidative stress accompanied by NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) mRNA up-regulation and decreased protein levels of antioxidant enzymes. Antioxidants inhibit both TGF-β-induced caspase 3 activity and Bmf up-regulation, revealing an oxidative stress-dependent Bmf regulation by TGF-β. Notably, oxidative stress-related events were strongly amplified in Met(-/-) oval cells, emphasizing the critical role of Met in promoting survival. Pharmacological inhibition of PI3K did impair HGF-driven protection from TGF-β-induced apoptosis and increased sensitivity of Met(flx/flx) oval cells to TGF-ß by enhancing oxidative stress, reaching apoptotic indices similar to those obtained in Met(-/-) oval cells. Interestingly, both PI3K inhibition and/or knockdown itself resulted in caspase-3 activation and loss of viability in Met(flx/flx) oval cells, whereas no effect was observed in Met(-/-) oval cells. Altogether, results presented here provide solid evidences that both paracrine and autocrine HGF/Met signaling requires PI3K to promote mouse hepatic oval cell survival against TGF-β-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53108. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0053108 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces apoptosis in hepatocytes through an oxidative stress process. Here, we have analyzed the role of different NADPH oxidase isoforms in the intracellular signalling induced by TGF-beta in hepatocytes, to later explore whether this mechanism is altered in liver tumor cells. Primary cultures of rat and human hepatocytes, HepG2 and Hep3B cells were used in in vitro studies to analyze the TGF-beta response. TGF-beta-induced apoptosis in rat hepatocytes does not require Rac-dependent NADPH oxidases. TGF-beta upregulates the Rac-independent Nox4, which correlates with its pro-apoptotic activity. Regulation of Nox4 occurs at the transcriptional level and is counteracted by intracellular survival signals. siRNA targeted knock-down of Nox4 attenuates NADPH oxidase activity, caspase activation and cell death in rat hepatocytes. NOX4 upregulation by TGF-beta is also observed in human hepatocytes, coincident with apoptosis. In human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines, NOX4 upregulation by TGF-beta is only observed in cells that are sensitive to its cytotoxic effect, such as Hep3B cells. siRNA targeted knock-down of NOX4 in these cells impairs TGF-beta-induced apoptosis. Upregulation of NOX4 by TGF-beta is required for its pro-apoptotic activity in hepatocytes. Impairment of this TGF-beta-induced response might confer apoptosis resistance in HCC cells.
    Journal of Hepatology 10/2008; 49(6):965-76. DOI:10.1016/j.jhep.2008.07.021 · 10.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/Met signaling system is essential for liver development, homeostasis, and function. In this study, we took advantage of a liver-specific, Met-conditional knockout mouse generated in our laboratory to address the molecular mechanisms of HGF/Met signaling in adult liver progenitor cell (oval cell) biology. For this purpose, we isolated oval cells from 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydro-collidine-treated Met(flx/flx) mice and established oval cell-derived cell lines that carried either functional (Met(flx/flx)) or a nonfunctional (Met(-/-)) met gene using virus-mediated Cre-loxP recombination. Oval cells lacking Met tyrosine kinase activity displayed neither Met phosphorylation nor activation of downstream targets and were refractory to HGF stimulation. Although Met(-/-) and Met(flx/flx) cells proliferated at similar rates under 10% serum, Met-deficient cells demonstrated decreased cell viability and were more prone to apoptosis when challenged with either serum starvation or the pro-apoptotic cytokine transforming growth factor-beta. Treatment with HGF reduced transforming growth factor-beta-mediated cell death in Met(flx/flx) but not Met(-/-) cells. Importantly, Met(flx/flx) and Met(-/-) cells both constitutively expressed hgf, and conditioned medium from serum-starved oval cells exhibited anti-apoptotic activity in Met(flx/flx) cells. Furthermore, serum-starved Met(flx/flx) cells showed persistent activation of the Met tyrosine kinase, suggesting HGF/Met autocrine regulation. In conclusion, these data reveal a critical, functional role for Met in oval cell survival through an autocrine mechanism.
    American Journal Of Pathology 06/2008; 172(5):1238-47. DOI:10.2353/ajpath.2008.070793 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The "in vitro" establishment of a physiological model of bipotential liver progenitors would be useful for analyzing the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating growth and differentiation, as well as studying their potential role/s in liver physiology and pathology. The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces de-differentiation of fetal rat hepatocytes (FH), concomitant with changes in morphology. The aim of this work was to isolate and characterize this population of TGF-beta-treated fetal hepatocytes (TbetaT-FH) and test whether they can behave as liver progenitors. The TbetaT-FH isolated cell lines show high expression of Thy-1 and low expression of c-Kit. They express liver-specific proteins, such as albumin and alpha-fetoprotein, and mesenchymal markers, such as vimentin. TbetaT-FH maintain expression of the hnf3beta gene, but lose expression of hnf1beta, hnf4, and hnf6. They express c-met and show an increase in proliferation in response to HGF. Interestingly, the transdifferentiation process is coincident with changes in the expression of genes related to the oxidative metabolism. TbetaT-FH cultured in the presence of EGF + DMSO change morphology, towards epithelial cells, gaining expression of CK19 and c-Kit, markers found in hepatoblasts and bile duct cells. Furthermore, TbetaT-FH form duct-like structures when cultured on Matrigel. TbetaT-FH show also potential to revert to an hepatocyte phenotype when submitted to a long-term "in vitro" differentiation protocol towards hepatocytic lineage. In summary, our results support the hypothesis that hepatocytes can function as facultative liver stem cells and demonstrate that TGF-beta might play an essential role in the transdifferentiation process.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 06/2008; 215(3):846-55. DOI:10.1002/jcp.21370 · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta) induces survival signals in foetal rat hepatocytes through transactivation of EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor). The molecular mechanism is not completely understood, but both activation of the TACE (tumour necrosis factor alpha-converting enzyme)/ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17; one of the metalloproteases involved in shedding of the EGFR ligands) and up-regulation of TGF-alpha and HB-EGF (heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor) appear to be involved. In the present study, we have analysed the molecular mechanisms that mediate up-regulation of the EGFR ligands by TGF-beta in foetal rat hepatocytes. The potential involvement of ROS (reactive oxygen species), an early signal induced by TGF-beta, and the existence of an amplification loop triggered by initial activation of the EGFR, have been studied. Results indicate that DPI (diphenyleneiodonium) and apocynin, two NOX (NADPH oxidase) inhibitors, and SB431542, an inhibitor of the TbetaR-I (TGF-beta receptor I), block up-regulation of EGFR ligands and Akt activation. Different members of the NOX family of genes are expressed in hepatocytes, included nox1, nox2 and nox4. TGF-beta up-regulates nox4 and increases the levels of Rac1 protein, a known regulator of both Nox1 and Nox2, in a TbetaR-I-dependent manner. TGF-beta mediates activation of the nuclear factor-kappaB pathway, which is inhibited by DPI and is required for up-regulation of TGF-alpha and HB-EGF. In contrast, EGFR activation is not required for TGF-beta-induced up-regulation of those ligands. Considering previous work that has established the role of ROS in apoptosis induced by TGF-beta in hepatocytes, the results of the present study indicate that ROS might mediate both pro- and anti-apoptotic signals in TGF-beta-treated cells.
    Biochemical Journal 08/2007; 405(2):251-9. DOI:10.1042/BJ20061846 · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    Isabel Fabregat, César Roncero, Margarita Fernández
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    ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of the balance between proliferation and cell death represents a protumorigenic principle in human hepatocarcinogenesis. This article aims to provide a review of the current findings about how physiological hepatocyte apoptosis is regulated and whether or not its dysregulation might contribute to the progression towards a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) process. Although some physiological proapoptotic molecules are downregulated or inactivated in HCC, such as Fas, p53, Bax or Bid, dysregulation of the balance between death and survival is mainly due to overactivation of antiapoptotic signals. Thus, some growth factors that mediate cell survival are upregulated in HCC, as well as the molecules involved in the machinery responsible for cleavage of their proforms to an active peptide. The expression of the pten gene is reduced or absent in almost half the HCCs and the Spred family of Ras/ERK inhibitors is also dysregulated in HCC, which consequently lead to the overactivation of relevant survival kinases: AKT and ERKs. Alterations in the expression and/or activity of molecules involved in counteracting apoptosis, such as NF-kappaB, Bcl-X(L), Mcl-1 or c-IAP1, have also been observed in HCC. Therefore, therapeutic strategies to inhibit selectively antiapoptotic signals in tumour cells have the potential to provide powerful tools to treat liver cancer.
    Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 04/2007; 27(2):155-62. DOI:10.1111/j.1478-3231.2006.01409.x · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces apoptosis in fetal rat hepatocytes. However, a subpopulation of these cells survives, concomitant with changes in phenotype, reminiscent of an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We have previously suggested that EMT might confer cell resistance to apoptosis (Valdés et al., Mol. Cancer Res., 1: 68-78, 2002). However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for this resistance are not explored yet. In this work, we have isolated and subcultured the population of hepatocytes that suffered the EMT process and are resistant to apoptosis (TGF-beta-treated fetal hepatocytes: TbetaT-FH). We prove that they secrete mitogenic and survival factors, as analyzed by the proliferative and survival capacity of conditioned medium. Inhibition of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) sensitizes TbetaT-FH to die after serum withdrawal. TbetaT-FH expresses high levels of transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) and heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and shows constitutive activation of the EGFR pathway. A blocking anti-TGF-alpha antibody restores the capacity of cells to die. TGF-beta, which is expressed by TbetaT-FH, mediates up-regulation of TGF-alpha and HB-EGF expression in those cells. In summary, results suggest that an autocrine loop of TGF-beta confers resistance to apoptosis after an EMT process in hepatocytes, through the increase in the expression of EGFR ligands.
    Experimental Cell Research 10/2006; 312(15):2860-71. DOI:10.1016/j.yexcr.2006.05.017 · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a survival signal for transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta)-induced apoptosis in hepatocytes, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-K) being involved in this effect. Here, we analyze the possible cross talks between EGF and TGF-beta signals to understand how EGF impairs the early pro-apoptotic events induced by TGF-beta. Data have indicated that neither SMAD nor c-Jun NH2 Terminal Kinase (JNK) activations are altered by EGF, which clearly interferes with events directly related to the radical oxygen species (ROS) production, impairing oxidative stress, p38 MAP kinase activation, and cell death. Activation of a NADPH-oxidase-like system, which is responsible for the early ROS production by TGF-beta, is completely inhibited by EGF, through a PI 3-K-dependent mechanism. Activity of RAC1 increases by TGF-beta, but also by EGF, and both act synergistically to get maximum effects. Fetal rat hepatocytes express nox4, in addition to nox1 and nox2, and TGF-beta clearly upregulates nox4. EGF blocks up-regulation of nox4 by TGF-beta. Interestingly, in the presence of PI 3-K inhibitors, EGF is not able to counteract the nox4 upregulation by TGF-beta. Taking together these results indicate that impairment of TGF-beta-induced NADPH oxidase activation by EGF is a RAC1-independent process and correlates with an inhibition of the mechanisms that address the increase of nox4 mRNA levels by TGF-beta.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 05/2006; 207(2):322-30. DOI:10.1002/jcp.20568 · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) belongs to a family of polypeptide factors, whose cytostatic and apoptotic functions help restrain the growth of mammalian cells. Although solid data established the role of TGF-beta's as suppressor factors in tumorigenic processes, in the context of an advanced stage of disease, TGF-beta's could also play a pro-oncogenic role. We have previously shown that TGF-beta1 induces both pro- and anti-apoptotic signals in foetal rat hepatocytes. In this work, we have focused on its anti-apoptotic mechanism. We show that TGF-beta1 activates the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and phosphorylates c-Src. EGFR is required for Akt activation. Blocking EGFR signalling amplifies the apoptotic response to TGF-beta1. TGF-beta1 induced a rapid activation of the tumour necrosis factor-alpha-converting enzyme (TACE/ADAM (a disintegrin and metalloprotease) 17). Inhibitors of TACE considerably attenuated Akt activation, which suggests that TGF-beta1 activates EGF signalling in hepatocytes by promoting shedding of EGF-like ligands. The activation of c-Src by TGF-beta1 is EGFR dependent and is required for full Akt phosphorylation and cell survival. Inhibition of EGFR does not block the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) induced by TGF-beta1 in hepatocytes, which indicates that activation of EGFR plays an essential role in impairing apoptosis, but it is dispensable for the EMT process.
    Oncogene 07/2005; 24(28):4580-7. DOI:10.1038/sj.onc.1208664 · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) of hepatocytes from two different proliferative conditions, such as fetal development and adult liver regeneration, shows that regenerating cells respond to this cytokine in terms of growth inhibition, but are less sensitive than the fetal ones to the apoptosis induced by this factor. Regenerating TGF-beta treated cells show higher cell viability and lower percentage of apoptotic cells than the fetal treated ones. Furthermore, TGF-beta treated regenerating hepatocytes maintain a well-preserved parenchyma-like organization. Treatment with TGF-beta induces the loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential in fetal but not in regenerating hepatocytes and activation of caspase-3 is lower in regenerating than in fetal cells. Regenerating hepatocytes show higher intracellular levels of some antiapoptotic proteins, such as Bcl-x(L) and c-IAP-1 and, interestingly, they present higher intracellular glutathione levels, which might provide of mechanisms to avoid potential dangerous effects of the oxidative stress-mediated apoptosis induced by TGF-beta. In fact, treatment with BSO (a glutathione synthesis inhibitor) restores the response of regenerating hepatocytes to TGF-beta in terms of cell death. In conclusion, increased levels of Bcl-x(L) and cIAP-1 and higher intracellular glutathione levels could confer resistance to the apoptosis induced by TGF-beta during liver regeneration.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 01/2005; 201(3):385-92. DOI:10.1002/jcp.20078 · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces an oxidative stress process in hepatocytes that mediates its apoptotic activity. To determine the cellular source of the early reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by fetal rat hepatocytes in response to TGF-beta, we used inhibitors that block different ROS-producing systems. Diphenyleneiodonium, which inhibits NADPH oxidase and other flavoproteins, completely blocked the increase in ROS induced by TGF-beta, coincidently with an impairment of caspase-3 activation and cell death. Rotenone, an inhibitor of the NADH dehydrogenase in mitochondrial complex I, attenuated, but did not completely inhibit, ROS-production, caspase activation, and cell death mediated by TGF-beta. No significant protection was observed with inhibitors of other ROS-producing systems, such as cytochrome P450 (metyrapone), cyclooxygenase (indomethacin), and xanthine oxidase (allopurinol). Additional experiments have indicated that two different mechanisms could be involved in the early ROS production by TGF-beta. First, an inducible (cycloheximide-inhibited) NADPH oxidase-like system could account for the extramitochondrial production of ROS. Second, TGF-beta could increase ROS by a rapid downregulation of antioxidant genes. In particular, intramitochondrial ROS would increase by depletion of MnSOD. Finally, glutathione depletion is a late event and it would be more the consequence than the cause of the increase in ROS induced by TGF-beta.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 02/2004; 36(1):16-26. DOI:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2003.09.020 · 5.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces apoptosis in fetal rat hepatocytes. However, a subpopulation of these cells survives concomitant with changes in morphology and phenotype, reminiscent of an epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) [Exp. Cell Res. 252 (1999) 281-291]. In this work, we have isolated the subpopulation that survives to TGF-beta-induced apoptosis, showing that these cells maintain the response to TGF-beta in terms of Smads activation and growth inhibition. Analyses of the intracellular signals that could impair the apoptotic effects of TGF-beta have indicated that the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-K)/Akt pathway is activated in these resistant cells. Experiments in fetal rat hepatocytes have shown that TGF-beta is able to transiently activate PI 3-K/Akt by a mechanism independent of protein synthesis but dependent on a tyrosine kinase activity. Pro-apoptotic signals, such as oxidative stress and caspases, contribute to the loss of Akt at later times. Inhibiting PI 3-K sensitizes fetal hepatocytes (FH) to the apoptosis induced by TGF-beta and causes spontaneous death in the resistant cells. In conclusion, TGF-beta, as it is known for other cytokines, could be inducing pro-apoptotic and survival signals in hepatocytes, the balance among them will decide cell fate.
    Experimental Cell Research 02/2004; 292(1):209-18. DOI:10.1016/j.yexcr.2003.08.015 · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fetal rat hepatocytes treated with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) die by apoptosis. However, a subpopulation of them survives and undergoes an epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). This transition also occurs upon incubation with fetal bovine serum. We have isolated the subpopulations that undergo EMT (TGF-beta-treated-fetal hepatocytes: TbetaT-FH; serum-treated-fetal hepatocytes: ST-FH) and show that they present high levels of vimentin and Snail expression and lack cytokeratin 18 and E-cadherin. Both TbetaT-FH and ST-FH cells require mitogens to grow and maintain the response to TGF-beta in terms of growth inhibition. However, they lack differentiation markers such as the liver-enriched transcription factors hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF-4) or HNF-1alpha and express the progenitor marker OV-6. Interestingly, the EMT process confers them resistance to the apoptotic effect of TGF-beta, with cells showing higher levels of active AKT and Bcl-x(L) than fetal hepatocytes. In summary, these cells are refractory to the apoptotic effects of TGF-beta, showing characteristics of liver progenitors and of some hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
    Molecular Cancer Research 12/2002; 1(1):68-78. · 4.50 Impact Factor
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    Blanca Herrera, Margarita Fernández, Manuel Benito, Isabel Fabregat
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    ABSTRACT: We have studied the expression of XIAP, cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 in fetal rat hepatocytes and its possible regulation by pro-apoptotic stimuli (transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta)) and survival signals (epidermal growth factor (EGF)). The three forms of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) are expressed in fetal hepatocytes and only cIAP-1, but not XIAP or cIAP-2, is cleaved during TGF-beta-induced apoptosis. The pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD.fmk blocked this effect, which indicates that cIAP-1 is a caspase substrate. EGF plays a dual role in the regulation of IAPs expression. On one hand, it increases cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 basal expression and, on the other hand, it blocks the cleavage of cIAP-1 by caspases induced by TGF-beta.
    FEBS Letters 07/2002; 520(1-3):93-6. DOI:10.1016/S0014-5793(02)02774-6 · 3.34 Impact Factor