In addition to their analgesic activity, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) agonists and antagonists demonstrate profound anti-cancer activities in various human cancers. In the present study, we investigated the anti-cancer activity of a novel TRPV1 antagonist, DWP05195, and evaluated its molecular mechanism in human ovarian cancer cells. DWP05195 demonstrated potent growth inhibitory effects in all five ovarian cancer cell lines examined. DWP05195 induced apoptosis through the activation of caspase-3, -8, and -9. DWP05195 induced C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) expression and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Sodium phenylbutyrate (4-PBA), an ER-stress inhibitor, and CHOP knockdown significantly suppressed DWP5195-induced cell death. DWP05195-enhanced CHOP expression stimulated intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways through the regulation of Bcl2-like11 (BIM), death receptor 4 (DR4), and DR5. DWP05195-induced cell death was associated with increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and p38 pathway activation. Pre-treatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) significantly suppressed DWP05195-induced CHOP expression and p38 activation. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase (NOX) through p47phox knockdown abolished DWP05195-induced CHOP expression and cell death. Taken together, the findings indicate that DWP05195 induces ER stress-induced apoptosis via the ROS-p38-CHOP pathway in human ovarian cancer cells.
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