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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 273-285; doi:10.3390/ijms14010273

Antitumor Effects of Rapamycin in Pancreatic Cancer Cells by Inducing Apoptosis and Autophagy

1,†,* , 2,†
Received: 7 November 2012 / Revised: 2 December 2012 / Accepted: 12 December 2012 / Published: 21 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Signalling Molecules and Signal Transduction in Cells)
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Rapamycin (Rapa), an inhibitor of mammalian target of Rapamycin (mTOR), is an immunosuppressive agent that has anti-proliferative effects on some tumors. This study aims to investigate the effects of Rapa suppressing proliferation of pancreatic carcinoma PC-2 cells in vitro and its molecular mechanism involved in antitumor activities. MTT assays showed that the inhibition of proliferation of PC-2 cells in vitro was in a time- and dose-dependent manner. By using transmission electron microscopy, apoptosis bodies and formation of abundant autophagic vacuoles were observed in PC-2 cells after Rapa treatment. Flow cytometry assays also showed Rapa had a positive effect on apoptosis. MDC staining showed that the fluorescent density was higher and the number of MDC-labeled particles in PC-2 cells was greater in the Rapa treatment group than in the control group. RT-PCR revealed that the expression levels of p53, Bax and Beclin 1 were up-regulated in a dose-dependent manner, indicating that Beclin 1 was involved in Rapa induced autophagy and Rapa induced apoptosis as well as p53 up-regulation in PC-2 cells. The results demonstrated that Rapa could effectively inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis and autophagy in PC-2 cells.
Keywords: pancreatic carcinoma; rapamycin; mTOR; anti-tumor; apoptosis; autophagy pancreatic carcinoma; rapamycin; mTOR; anti-tumor; apoptosis; autophagy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Dai, Z.-J.; Gao, J.; Ma, X.-B.; Kang, H.-F.; Wang, B.-F.; Lu, W.-F.; Lin, S.; Wang, X.-J.; Wu, W.-Y. Antitumor Effects of Rapamycin in Pancreatic Cancer Cells by Inducing Apoptosis and Autophagy. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 273-285.

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