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Tumor Biol.

(2015) 36:3429–3439
DOI 10.1007/s13277-014-2978-6

RESEARCH ARTICLE

Reactive oxygen species, glutathione, and thioredoxin influence


suberoyl bishydroxamic acid-induced apoptosis in A549 lung
cancer cells
Bo Ra You & Suhn Hee Kim & Woo Hyun Park

Received: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published online: 24 December 2014
# International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Abstract Suberoyl bishydroxamic acid (SBHA) as a histone Abbreviations


deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor can induce apoptosis through SBHA Suberoyl bishydroxamic acid
the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, HDAC Histone deacetylase
there is no report about the regulation of ROS and antioxidant ROS Reactive oxygen species
enzymes in SBHA-treated lung cancer cells. Here, we inves- MMP (ΔΨm) Mitochondrial membrane potential
tigated the toxicological effects of SBHA on the regulations of MTT 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-
ROS, glutathione (GSH), and antioxidant enzymes, especially 2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide
thioredoxin (Trx) in A549 lung cancer cells. SBHA inhibited PI Propidium iodide
the growth of A549 cells in time- and dose-dependent man- FITC Fluorescein isothiocyanate
ners, and it induced apoptosis which accompanied by the loss NAC N-acetyl cysteine
of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP; ΔΨm). SBHA H2DCFDA 2′,7′-Dichlorodihydrofluorescein
significantly increased ROS levels including O2•− level at 72 h diacetate
whereas it decreased ROS levels at the early time points DHE Dihydroethidium
(30 min to 3 h). SBHA also induced GSH depletion at 24 GSH Glutathione
and 72 h. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC; a well-known antioxidant) CMFDA 5-Chloromethylfluorescein diacetate
prevented apoptotic cell death and GSH depletion via decreas- Trx Thioredoxin
ing ROS in SBHA-treated A549 cells. In addition, SBHA TrxR Thioredoxin reductase
changed the levels of antioxidant-related proteins, especially Cu/Zn SOD Copper zinc superoxide dismutase
Trx1. The expression and activity of Trx1 in A549 cells were MnSOD Manganese superoxide dismutase
reduced by SBHA. While the downregulation of Trx1 en-
hanced cell death, ROS level, and GSH depletion in SBHA-
treated A549 cells, the overexpression of Trx1 decreased ROS Introduction
level in these cells without the prevention of cell death and
GSH depletion. In conclusion, SBHA-induced A549 cell Histone acetylation is important for transcription [1]. The acet-
death was influenced by changes in ROS and GSH levels. ylation of lysine residues in histones induces euchromatin
The basal status of Trx1 among other antioxidant proteins was structure, which leads transcriptional factor easily to bind to
closely correlated with the survival of A549 cells. promoter regions of genes [2]. The acetylation and
deacetylation of histones are mediated by two enzymes, histone
Keywords Suberoyl bishydroxamic acid . Reactive oxygen acetyltransferase (HAT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC), re-
species . Apoptosis . Thioredoxin . Glutathione spectively [2]. Previous studies have demonstrated that the
activity and expression of HDAC are upregulated in many
B. R. You : S. H. Kim : W. H. Park (*) cancers including pancreatic and prostate cancer [3–5].
Department of Physiology, Medical School, Research Institute for
Therefore, HDAC inhibitors have been considered as novel
Endocrine Sciences, Chonbuk National University, JeonJu 561-180,
Republic of Korea anti-cancer drugs [6]. In fact, vorinostat and romidepsin are
e-mail: parkwh71@chonbuk.ac.kr HDAC inhibitors that have been used for the treatment of
3430 Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439

cutaneous T-cell lymphoma [7]. HDAC inhibitor can induce maintained in a humidified incubator containing 5 % CO2 at
apoptosis via generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) in 37 °C. A549 cells were cultured in RPMI-1640 supplemented
solid tumor and leukemia cells [8–11]. with 10 % fetal bovine serum (FBS) and 1 % penicillin-
ROS regulate many cellular events such as gene expres- streptomycin (Gibco BRL, Grand Island, NY, USA). Cells were
sion, differentiation, and cell proliferation [12]. However, routinely grown in 100-mm plastic tissue culture dishes (Nunc,
excessive production of ROS can cause cell damage by oxi- Roskilde, Denmark) and harvested with a solution of trypsin-
dizing DNA, lipid, and protein [13]. Therefore, various anti- EDTA (Gibco BRL) while in a logarithmic phase of growth.
oxidants including glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase
(SOD), catalase, and thioredoxin (Trx) exist to reduce ROS Reagents
levels in cells. GSH is a main non-protein antioxidant in the
cell, which supplies electrons for enzymes such as GSH SBHA was purchased from Calbiochem (San Diego, CA, USA)
peroxidase [14]. GSH is crucial for cell proliferation and and was dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO; Sigma-Aldrich
apoptosis, which can protect cells from oxidative stress [15, Chemical Company, St. Louis, MO, USA) at 100 mM as a stock
16]. SOD metabolizes superoxide anion (O2•−) to hydrogen solution. NAC was also obtained from Sigma-Aldrich Chemical
peroxide (H2O2) [17]. There are three kinds of isoforms; Co. and dissolved in buffer [20 mM HEPES (pH 7.0)] at
extracellular (ecSOD), intracellular (Cu/ZnSOD), and mito- 100 mM as a stock solution. Based on the previous study [27],
chondrial (MnSOD) [17]. Catalase is an antioxidant enzyme cells were pretreated with NAC for 1 h prior to treatment with
containing a tetrameric heme, converting H2O2 into water and SBHA. DMSO (0.05 %) was used as a control vehicle.
oxygen [18]. The TRX system consists Trx, Trx reductase
(TrxR), and NADPH, which is an important enzymatic net- Growth inhibition assay
work to maintain the homeostasis of cellular redox [19]. Trx is
a small protein with two redox-active cysteine residues in its The effect of SBHA on cell growth was determined by measur-
active center [20]. When Trx is oxidized, it is reduced back to ing 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bro-
dithiol by NADPH-dependent enzyme, TrxR [20]. While mide (MTT; Sigma-Aldrich Chemical Co.) dye absorbance of
Trx1 and TrxR1 are usually localized in the cytoplasm, Trx2 living cells as previously described [28]. In brief, 5×103 cells
and TrxR2 are located in the mitochondria [20]. Especially, were seeded in 96-well microtiter plates (Nunc) for MTT assays.
Trx1 and TrxR1 are overexpressed in many cancer cells After exposure to the designated doses of SBHA with or without
including lung cancer [21–23]. Therefore, the modulation of adTrx1 for the indicated hours, 20 μL of MTT solution [2 mg/ml
TRX system can be a promising target for cancer therapy. in phosphate buffered saline (PBS)] were added to each well of
Lung cancer is a major reason of cancer-related death in 96-well plates (Nunc). The plates were incubated for four addi-
developed countries. The carcinogenesis of lung cancer is tional hours at 37 °C. The medium in the plates was withdrawn
related to excessive inflammation mediated by ROS originat- by pipetting, and 200-μl DMSO was added to each well to
ed from airborne and blood borne. ROS influence genetic and solubilize the formazan crystals. The optical density was mea-
epigenetic changes thereby modulating cellular proliferation sured at 570 nm using a microplate reader (Synergy™ 2,
and differentiation [24]. We recently demonstrated that BioTek® Instruments Inc., Winooski, VT, USA).
suberoyl bishydroxamic acid (SBHA) as a HDAC inhibitor
attenuates the growth of A549 lung cancer cells via a caspase- Detection of intracellular ROS levels
dependent apoptosis [25]. In addition, SBHA induced apopto-
sis in HeLa cells via ROS-independent manner [26]. Intracellular ROS levels were detected by means of an
However, there is no report about the regulation of ROS and oxidation-sensitive fluorescent probe dye, 2′,7′-
antioxidant enzymes in SBHA-treated lung cancer cells. dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (H2DCFDA, Invitrogen
Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the toxicolog- Molecular Probes, OR; Ex/Em = 495/529 nm) and
ical effects of SBHA on the regulations of ROS, GSH, and dihydroethidium (DHE, Invitrogen Molecular Probes; Ex/
antioxidant enzymes, especially Trx in A549 lung cancer Em=518/605 nm) as previously described [29, 30]. DHE is
cells. highly selective for O2•− among ROS. In brief, 1×106 cells in
a 60-mm culture dishes (Nunc) were incubated with the des-
ignated doses of SBHA with or without 2-mM NAC, TRX
Materials and methods system-related siRNAs, or adTrx1 for the indicated times.
Cells were then washed in PBS and incubated with 20-μM
Cell culture H2DCFDA or DHE at 37 °C for 30 min.
Dichlorodihydrofluorescein (DCF) and DHE fluorescences
The human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells from the American were detected using a FACStar flow cytometer (Becton
Type Culture Collection (ATCC, Manassas, VA, USA) were Dickinson, Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA). ROS and O2•- levels
Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439 3431

were expressed as mean fluorescence intensity (MFI), which Immobilon-P PVDF membranes (Millipore, Billerica, MA,
was calculated by the CellQuest software (Becton Dickinson). USA) by electroblotting, and then probed with anti-Trx1,
anti-TrxR1, anti-Trx2, anti-TrxR2, anti-Cu/ZnSOD, anti-
Detection of intracellular GSH levels MnSOD, anti-catalase, and anti-β-actin antibodies (Santa
Cruz Biotechnology, Santa Cruz, CA, USA). Membranes
Cellular GSH levels were analyzed using 5- were incubated with horseradish peroxidase-conjugated sec-
chloromethylfluorescein diacetate (CMFDA, Invitrogen ondary antibodies. Blots were developed using an ECL kit
Molecular Probes; Ex/Em=522/595 nm) as previously de- (Amersham, Arlington Heights, IL, USA). Quantitative data
scribed [30]. In brief, 1×106 cells were incubated in a 60- were obtained using an imaging densitometer (ImageJ version
mm culture dishes (Nunc) with the designated doses of SBHA 1.33 software, NIH).
with or without 2-mM NAC, TRX system-related siRNAs, or
adTrx1 for the indicated times. Cells were then washed with Measurement of Trx1 activity
PBS and incubated with 5-μM CMFDA at 37 °C for 30 min.
The fluorescence intensity of chloromethylfluorescein (CMF) The Trx1 activity was assessed using the ProteoStat™
was measured by using a FACStar flow cytometer. Negative Thioredoxin-1 assay Kit according to manufacturer’s instruc-
CMF staining (GSH-depleted) of cells is expressed as the tions (EnZo Life Science, Plymouth Meeting, PA, USA). In
percents of (−) CMF cells. brief, 1×106 cells in 60-mm culture dish (Nunc) were incu-
bated with the indicated doses of SBHA for 72 h. The cells
Annexin V-FITC/PI staining for cell death detection were then washed in PBS and suspended in 5 vol. of lysis
buffer (R&D systems, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA). Protein
Apoptosis was determined by staining cells with annexin V- concentrations were determined using the Bradford method.
fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC, Invitrogen Corporation, Supernatant samples containing 20 μg of total protein were
Camarillo, CA, USA; Ex/Em=488/519 nm) and propidium used for determination of Trx1 activity. These are added to
iodide (PI; Sigma-Aldrich; Ex/Em=488/617 nm) as previous- each well in 96-well microtiter plates (Nunc) with the insulin
ly described [29, 31]. In brief, 1×106 cells in a 60-mm culture and dithiothreitol (DTT) at 25 °C for 30 min. The fluorescence
dish (Nunc) were incubated with the designated doses of intensity of each well was determined using a fluorescence
SBHA with or without 2-mM NAC, TRX system-related reader (Synergy™ 2, BioTek® Instruments Inc.).
siRNAs, or adTrx1 for the indicated times. Cells were washed
twice with cold PBS and then added in 500 μl of binding Measurement of TrxR activity
buffer (10 mM HEPES/NaOH pH 7.4, 140 mM NaCl,
2.5 mM CaCl2) at a concentration of 1×106 cells/ml. Five The TrxR activity was assessed using the Thioredoxin
microliters of annexin V-FITC and PI (1 μg/ml) were then Reductase Assay Kit according to manufacturer’s instructions
added to these cells, which were analyzed with a FACStar (Sigma-Aldrich). In brief, 1×106 cells in 60-mm culture dish
flow cytometer (Becton Dickinson). Viable cells were nega- (Nunc) were incubated with the indicated doses of SBHA with
tive for both PI and annexin V; apoptotic cells were positive for 72 h. The cells were then washed in PBS and suspended in
cells displayed both high annexin V and negative for PI 5 vol. of lysis buffer (R&D systems, Inc.). Protein concentra-
whereas late apoptotic dead cells display both high annexin tions were determined using the Bradford method.
V and PI labeling. Nonviable cells, which underwent necrosis, Supernatant samples containing 20 μg of total protein were
were positive for PI and negative for annexin V. used for determination of TrxR activity. These are added to
each well in 96-well microtiter plates (Nunc) with 5,5′-
Western blot analysis dithiobis (2-nitrobenzoic) acid (DTNB) at 25 °C for 1 h. The
optical density of each well was measured at 412 nm using a
The expression of proteins was evaluated using Western blot microplate reader (Synergy™ 2, BioTek® Instruments Inc.).
analysis, as previously described [32]. In brief, 1×106 cells in
a 60-mm culture dish (Nunc) were incubated with the desig- Measurement of cellular SOD and catalase activities
nated doses of SBHA for 72 h. The cells were then washed in
PBS and suspended in 5 vol. of lysis buffer (20 mM HEPES SOD enzyme activity was measured using the SOD Assay
pH 7.9, 20 % glycerol, 200 mM KCl, 0.5 mM EDTA, 0.5 % Kit-WST (Fluka Co., Milwaukee, USA), and catalase enzyme
NP40, 0.5 mM DTT, 1 % protease inhibitor cocktail). activity was measured using the catalase assay kit from
Supernatant protein concentrations were determined using Sigma-Aldrich as previously described [33]. In brief, 1×106
the Bradford method. Supernatant samples containing 30 μg cells were incubated with the indicated doses of SBHA with
total protein were resolved by 12.5 % SDS-PAGE gels de- for 72 h. The cells were then washed in PBS and suspended in
pending on the sizes of target proteins, transferred to 5 vol. of lysis buffer (20 mM HEPES, pH 7.9, 20 % glycerol,
3432 Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439

200 mM KCl, 0.5 mM EDTA, 0.5 % NP40, 0.5 mM DTT, 1 % from Dr. Sadoshima J, New Jersey Medical School,
protease inhibitor cocktail). Supernatant protein concentration Newark. In brief, 5×105 cells in six-well plates (Nunc)
was determined by the Bradford method. Supernatant samples were incubated in RPMI-1640 supplemented with 10 %
containing 50 μg of total protein were used for determination FBS. Cells (approximately 50–60 % confluence) in each
of SOD and catalase enzyme activities. These are added to well were infected with the same titer of adLacZ or
each well in 96-well microtiter plates (Nunc) with the appro- adTrx1, which was determined by plague assays. One
priate working solutions (according to the manufacturer’s day later, cells were treated with or without 100 μM
instructions) at 25 °C for 30 min. The color changes were SBHA for additional 24 h. The infected cells were
measured at 450 or 520 nm using a microplate reader collected and used for Western blot analysis, cell
(Synergy™ 2, BioTek® Instruments Inc.). The value for the growth, annexin V-FITC staining, ROS and GSH level
experimental group was converted to the percentage of control measurements.
group.
Statistical analysis
Transfection of cells with TRX system-related siRNAs
The results represent the mean of at least three independent
Gene silencing of TRX system was performed as previously experiments (mean±SD). The data were analyzed using Instat
described [31, 34]. A nonspecific control (CTR) siRNA du- software (GraphPad Prism4, San Diego, CA, USA). The
plex [5′-CCUACGCCACCAAUUUCGU (dTdT)-3′], Trx1 Student’s t test or one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA)
siRNA duplex [5′-GCAUGCCAACAUUCCAGUU (dTdT)- with post hoc analysis using Tukey’s multiple comparison
3′], TrxR1 siRNA duplex [5′-GUCGUCUAUGAGAAUG tests was used for parametric data. Statistical significance
CUU (dTdT)-3′], Trx2 siRNA duplex [5′-CAAUAUACAC was defined as p<0.05.
CACGAGGAU (dTdT)-3′], and TrxR2 siRNA duplex [5′-
GGUCCUCAGAUCUGAUGGA (dTdT)-3′] were purchased
from the Bioneer Corp. (Daejeon, South Korea). In brief, 2.5×
105 cells in six-well plates (Nunc) were incubated in RPMI- Results
1640 supplemented with 10 % FBS. The next day, cells
(approximately 30–40 % confluence) in each well were Effect of SBHA on the growth and intracellular ROS
transfected with the control (CTR) or TRX system-related and GSH levels of A549 cells
siRNAs duplex [80 pmol in Opti-MEM (GIBCO BRL)] using
LipofectAMINE 2000, according to manufacturer’s instruc- We first examined the effect of SBHA on the growth inhibi-
tions (Invitrogen, Branford, CT, USA). One day later, cells tion of A549 cells using MTT assays. After exposure to
were treated with or without 100 μM SBHA for additional SBHA for 24, 48, and 72 h, the growth of A549 cells was
24 h. The transfected cells were used for Western blot analy- dose- and time-dependently decreased with an IC50 of approx-
sis, annexin V-FITC staining, MMP (ΔΨm), and ROS and imately 50 μM at 72 h (Fig. 1a). Next, changes in intracellular
GSH levels measurements. ROS and GSH levels were investigated in A549 cells at the
early and late time points. SBHA decreased ROS (DCF) level
Measurement of MMP (ΔΨm) from the earlier time point of 30 min and the decrease contin-
ued for 180 min (Fig. 1b). However, SBHA significantly
MMP (ΔΨm) levels were measured by a rhodamine 123 increased ROS (DCF) levels at the late times of 24 and 72 h
fluorescent dye (Sigma-Aldrich Chemical Company; Ex/ (Fig. 1c). SBHA seemed to decrease O2•− level at 24 h, but it
Em=485/535 nm) as described previously [29, 35]. In brief, increased the level at 72 h (Fig. 1d). In relation to GSH level,
1×106 cells in a 60-mm culture dish (Nunc) were incubated treatment with 10 or 50 μM SBHA decreased GSH level at the
with 100 μM SBHA with or without TRX system-related early time of 30 min whereas 100 μM SBHA increased this
siRNAs for the indicated times. Cells were washed twice with level at this time and the gradual increase sustained for
PBS and incubated with rhodamine 123 (0.1 μg/ml) at 37 °C 180 min (Fig. 1e). All the tested doses of SBHA significantly
for 30 min. Rhodamine 123 staining intensity was determined induced GSH depletion at 24 and 72 h (Fig. 1f).
by flow cytometry (Becton Dickinson). An absence of rhoda-
mine 123 from cells indicates the loss of MMP (ΔΨm) in cells. Effects of NAC on cell death and ROS and GSH levels
in SBHA-treated A549 cells
Infection of cells with adTrx1
To determine whether SBHA-induced increase in ROS level
Overexpression of Trx1 was performed using an adeno- was involved in A549 cell death, we examined the effects of
viral gene transfer. adLacZ and adTrx1 were obtained NAC on cell death and ROS and GSH levels in SBHA-treated
Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439 3433

Fig. 1 Effects of SBHA on cell growth and ROS and GSH levels in graphs indicate DCF (ROS) and CMF levels at the indicated early times.
A549 cells. Exponentially growing cells were treated with the designated d, e The graphs show DCF (ROS) and DHE (O2•−) levels compared with
concentrations of SBHA for indicated times. a The graph shows cellular those in control cells, respectively. f The graph shows the percents of (−)
growth changes in A549 cells as assessed by MTT assays. b, c ROS and CMF (GSH-depleted) cells. *p<0.05 compared with the control group
GSH levels in A549 were measured using a FACStar flow cytometer. The

cells. For this experiment, we chose 50 μM SBHA as a antioxidant proteins, all the tested doses of SBHA significant-
suitable dose to differentiate the level of cell death in the ly diminished the activity of Trx1 in A549 cells (Fig. 3b). The
presence or absence of NAC. The concentration of 2-mM activity of TrxR was also marginally decreased by SBHA
NAC was also used as optimal dose in this study since this (Fig. 3c). By contrast, treatment with 50 μM SBHA increased
dose did not affect cell death in A549 cells (Fig. 2a, b). NAC the activities of SOD and catalase in A549 cells (Fig. 3d, e).
significantly prevented apoptotic cell death in SBHA-treated
A549 cells (Fig. 2a, b). Expectedly, NAC attenuated ROS Effects of TRX system-related siRNAs on cell death, MMP
levels including O2•− in SBHA-treated A549 cells (Fig. 2c, (ΔΨm), and ROS and GSH levels in SBHA-treated A549
d) and it also lessened GSH depletion in these cells (Fig. 2e). cells

Effects of SBHA on antioxidant-related protein levels Because the levels of TRX system-related proteins were al-
and activities in A549 cells tered by SBHA, it was considered that changes in these levels
influence cell death and ROS level in SBHA-treated A549
Next, changes in antioxidant-related protein levels were cells. To investigate this possibility, A549 cells were
assessed in SBHA-treated A549 cells. The levels of Trx1 transfected with either control siRNA or TRX system-related
and Trx2 were decreased by SBHA whereas those of TrxR2, siRNAs for the downregulation of the corresponding proteins.
Cu/Zn SOD, MnSOD, and catalase were increased by it For this experiment, the dose of 100 μM SBHA and the
(Fig. 3a). In addition, SBHA slightly increased the level of incubation time of 24 h were used as a suitable condition
TrxR1 in A549 cells (Fig. 3a). In relation to the activities of due to the confluence of experiment cells. As shown in
3434 Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439

Fig. 2 Effects of NAC on cell death and ROS and GSH levels in SBHA- DCF (ROS) and DHE (O2•−) levels compared with those in control cells,
treated A549 cells. Exponentially growing cells were treated with 50 μM respectively. e The graph shows the percents of (−) CMF (GSH-depleted)
SBHA and/or 2 mM NAC for 72 h. a Annexin V-FITC and/or PI positive cells. *p<0.05 compared with the control group. #p<0.05 compared with
cells were measured with a FACStar flow cytometer. b The graph shows cells treated with SBHA only
the percents of annexin V positive cells from a. c, d The graphs show

Fig. 4a, the levels of Trx1, TrxR1, Trx2, and TrxR2 were among TRX system-related siRNAs intensified GSH deple-
completely decreased in A549 cells transfected with each tion in SBHA-treated A549 cells (Fig. 6b).
TRX system-related siRNA. Among TRX system-related
siRNAs, Trx1 siRNA significantly intensified apoptotic cell Effects of adTrx1 on cell growth, cell death, and ROS
death in SBHA-treated and -untreated control A549 cells and and GSH levels in SBHA-treated A549 cells
TrxR2 also seemed to increase cell death in those cells
(Fig. 4b). In addition, Trx1 siRNA augmented the loss of Next, we investigated the effects of Trx1 overexpression on
MMP (ΔΨm) in SBHA-treated A549 cells and both Trx2 cell growth, death, and ROS and GSH levels in SBHA-treated
and TrxR2 siRNAs were also likely to enhance the MMP A549 cells. For this experiment, A549 cells were infected with
(ΔΨm) loss in these cells (Fig. 5a, b). Moreover, Trx1 and either adLacZ or adTrx1 for the overexpression of Trx1. In
TrxR2 siRNAs slightly induced the loss of MMP (ΔΨm) in addition, 100 μM SBHA and 24 h were used as a suitable dose
A549 control cells (Fig. 5a, b). and time due to the confluence of experimental cells. As
In relation to ROS and GSH levels, all the TRX system- shown in Fig. 7a, A549 cells infected with adTrx1 showed
related siRNAs, especially Trx1 siRNA increased ROS levels an increase in Trx1 protein level compared with cells infected
in SBHA-treated A549 cells and those siRNAs also seemed to with control adLacZ. While administration with adTrx1
increase ROS levels in A549 control cells (Fig. 6a). In addi- slightly attenuated cell growth inhibition by SBHA, this ad-
tion, Trx1 siRNA augmented the level of O2•− in SBHA- ministration failed to prevent cell death in SBHA-treated
treated A549 cells (data not shown). Moreover, Trx1 siRNA A549 cells (Fig. 7a, b). The overexpression of Trx1
Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439 3435

Fig. 3 Effects of SBHA on antioxidant-related protein levels and activ- catalase, and β-actin. The expression levels of antioxidant-related pro-
ities in A549 cells. Exponentially growing cells were treated with the teins were quantified using a densitometer program, ImageJ software.
designated concentrations of SBHA for 72 h. a Western blot analysis The relative levels were annotated as the ratio of each antioxidant-related
shows changes in antioxidant-related proteins. Thirty-microgram samples protein level to β-actin protein level. b, c The graphs show the activities
of protein extracts from A549 cells were resolved by SDS-PAGE gel, of Trx1 and TrxR in samples containing 50 μg total protein. d, e The
transferred onto PVDF membranes, and immunoblotted with the indicat- graphs show the activities of SOD and catalase in samples containing
ed antibodies against Trx1, TrxR1, Trx2, TrxR2, Cu/Zn SOD, Mn SOD, 50 μg total protein. *p<0.05 compared with the control group

significantly decreased ROS levels in SBHA-treated and - Discussion


untreated A549 cells (Fig. 7c). However, this overexpression
did not alter GSH depletion in SBHA-treated A549 cells Previously, we reported that SBHA induces cell growth
(Fig. 7d). inhibition and caspase-dependent apoptosis in A549

Fig. 4 Effects of TRX system-related siRNAs on cell death in SBHA- examined by Western blotting. b The graph indicates the percents of
treated A549 cells. A549 cells (approximately 30–40 % confluence) were annexin V-FITC positive staining cells in A549 cells. *p<0.05 compared
transfected with either control (CTR) siRNA or each TRX system-related with the control group. #p<0.05 compared with cells treated with SBHA
siRNAs. One day later, cells were treated with 100-μM SBHA for only
additional 24 h. a The expressions of Trx1, TrxR1, Trx2, and TrxR2 were
3436 Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439

Fig. 5 Effects of TRX system-related siRNAs on MMP (ΔΨm) in with a FACStar flow cytometer. b The graph indicates the percents of a
SBHA-treated A549 cells. A549 cells (approximately 30–40 % conflu- rhodamine 123-negative [MMP (ΔΨm) loss] cells from M1 region of A.
ence) were transfected with either control (CTR) siRNA or each TRX *p<0.05 compared with the control group. #p<0.05 compared with cells
system-related siRNAs. One day later, cells were treated with 100-μM treated with SBHA only
SBHA for additional 24 h. a Rhodamine-negative cells were measured

lung cancer cells [25]. In the present study, we focused in relation to changes in ROS and GSH levels as well
on elucidating the effects of SBHA on A549 cell death as the regulations of antioxidant enzymes, especially Trx

Fig. 6 Effects of TRX system-related siRNAs on ROS and GSH levels additional 24 h. a The graph shows DCF (ROS) levels compared with
in SBHA-treated A549 cells. A549 cells (approximately 30–40 % con- those in control cells. b The graph shows the percents of (−) CMF (GSH-
fluence) were transfected with either CTR siRNA or each TRX system- depleted) cells. *p<0.05 compared with the control group. #p<0.05
related siRNAs. One day later, cells were treated with 100-μM SBHA for compared with cells treated with SBHA only
Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439 3437

(Fig. 7). Many reports have been demonstrated that SOD and catalase. Interestingly, the expression level of TrxR1
HDAC inhibitors can induce apoptosis via generating was marginally increased by SBHA whereas the activity of
ROS in solid tumor and leukemia cells [8–11]. In fact, that was slightly decreased by it. The activity of TrxR1
ROS scavengers such as NAC prevent cell death in- seemed to be regulated by unknown posttranslational factors
duced by HDAC inhibitors [9–11]. Likewise, ROS rather than its expression level. In addition, it is possible that
levels including O2•− were significantly increased in the downregulations of Trx1 and Trx2 by SBHA correspond-
SBHA-treated A549 cells at 72 h. In addition, NAC ingly increased ROS levels including O2•− in A549 cells,
attenuated cell death in SBHA-treated A549 cells and consequently inducing oxidative stress to kill A549 cells. On
it decreased ROS levels including O2•− in these cells. the other hand, the upregulation of SOD and catalase might be
These results suggested that SBHA-induced A549 cell induced by the increased ROS levels and also that can be
death is mediated by oxidative stress. However, we did transcriptionally regulated by the inhibition of HDAC by
not observe increases in ROS levels in SBHA-treated SBHA. These results imply that antioxidant proteins influence
A549 cells at the early time points (30 min to 3 h). ROS levels in cells and they can also be influenced by ROS
SBHA also did not increase O2•− level detected by DHE levels and vice versa. The transcriptional regulations of anti-
at these early time points (data not shown). These oxidant genes by HDAC inhibitors need to be further studied
results suggest that SBHA does not affect both mito- in relation to redox status in cells.
chondrial respiratory transport chain and the activity of The TRX antioxidant system consists of Trx, TrxR, and
various oxidases to generate ROS including O2•− within NADPH, which is an important enzymatic network to main-
these early time points. It is assumed that the decreased tain cellular redox homeostasis [19]. Especially, Trx1 and
ROS level in SBHA-treated A549 cells might result TrxR1 are overexpressions in many cancer cells including
from the regulation of ROS defense system such as lung cancer [23]. Therefore, TRX system can be a promising
antioxidant proteins and GSH. However, the exact target to treat cancer patients. According to our results, the
mechanism on how to increase ROS levels in cells regulation of Trx1 by SBHA is considered to be an important
including A549 cells needs to be further defined. factor on cell survival and ROS level. In fact, it is reported that
SBHA altered the levels and activities of many antioxidant suppression of Trx1 can enhance cytotoxicity of anti-cancer
proteins in A549 cells. SBHA decreased the levels of Trx1 and drugs in human liver carcinoma and diffuse large B-cell
Trx2 whereas it increased the levels of TrxR2, Cu/ZnSOD, lymphoma cells [36, 37]. In the same way, treatment with
MnSOD, and catalase in A549 cells. SBHA dose-dependently Trx1 siRNA significantly intensified cell death and MMP
attenuated the activity of Trx1 but it increased activities of (ΔΨm) loss in SBHA-treated A549 cells. Interestingly, Trx2

Fig. 7 Effects of adTrx1 on cell growth, cell death, and ROS and GSH Annexin V-FITC positive staining cells. c The graph shows DCF
levels in SBHA-treated A549 cells. A549 cells (approximately 50–60 % (ROS) levels compared with adLacZ-treated control cells. d The graph
confluence) were infected with either adLacZ or adTrx1. One day later, shows the percents of (−) CMF (GSH-depleted) cells. *p<0.05 compared
cells were treated with 100-μM SBHA for additional 24 h. The inside with the control group. #p<0.05 compared with cells treated with SBHA
figure indicates the expression level of Trx1 in A549 cells. a The graph only
shows cellular growth change. b The graph shows the percents of
3438 Tumor Biol. (2015) 36:3429–3439

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