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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(5), 1048; doi:10.3390/ijms18051048

Valproic Acid Induces Endocytosis-Mediated Doxorubicin Internalization and Shows Synergistic Cytotoxic Effects in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells

Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biotechnology, Incurable Disease Animal Model & Stem Cell Institute (IDASI), Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
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Academic Editor: Guido R. M. M. Haenen
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 8 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Toxicology)
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Abstract

Valproic acid (VPA), a well-known histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, is used as an anti-cancer drug for various cancers, but the synergistic anti-cancer effect of VPA and doxorubicin (DOX) combination treatment and its potential underlying mechanism in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain to be elucidated. Here, we evaluate the mono- and combination-therapy effects of VPA and DOX in HCC and identify a specific and efficient, synergistic anti-proliferative effect of the VPA and DOX combination in HCC cells, especially HepG2 cells; this effect was not apparent in MIHA cells, a normal hepatocyte cell line. The calculation of the coefficient of drug interaction confirmed the significant synergistic effect of the combination treatment. Concurrently, the synergistic apoptotic cell death caused by the VPA and DOX combination treatment was confirmed by Hoechst nuclear staining and Western blot analysis of caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) activation. Co-treatment with VPA and DOX enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and autophagy, which were clearly attenuated by ROS and autophagy inhibitors, respectively. Furthermore, as an indication of the mechanism underlying the synergistic effect, we observed that DOX internalization, which was induced in the VPA and DOX combination-treated group, occurred via by the caveolae-mediated endocytosis pathway. Taken together, our study uncovered the potential effect of the VPA and DOX combination treatment with regard to cell death, including induction of cellular ROS, autophagy, and the caveolae-mediated endocytosis pathway. Therefore, these results present novel implications in drug delivery research for the treatment of HCC. View Full-Text
Keywords: valproic acid; doxorubicin; reactive oxygen species; autophagy; cell death; caveolae endocytosis pathway valproic acid; doxorubicin; reactive oxygen species; autophagy; cell death; caveolae endocytosis pathway
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MDPI and ACS Style

Saha, S.K.; Yin, Y.; Kim, K.; Yang, G.-M.; Dayem, A.A.; Choi, H.Y.; Cho, S.-G. Valproic Acid Induces Endocytosis-Mediated Doxorubicin Internalization and Shows Synergistic Cytotoxic Effects in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1048.

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