N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2) has recently been found to be a tumor suppressor gene. Although it has been reported that NDRG2 expression in breast cancer cells decreases cell proliferation by inhibiting STAT3 activation via SOCS1 induction, the molecular mechanism of chemotherapeutic agent-induced apoptosis is not well known. To elucidate the effect of NDRG2 on the apoptotic pathway induced by doxorubicin, we established stable cell lines expressing NDRG2 and investigated the effect of NDRG2 expression on the doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. While STAT3 activation was remarkably inhibited by NDRG2 overexpression, the expression level of p21 was increased by NDRG2 expression. We confirmed that NDRG2-expressing cells treated with doxorubicin suppressed STAT3 activation and upregulated p21 expression. NDRG2 expression considerably enhanced TUNEL positive apoptotic cells, poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage, release of cytochrome c to cytosol, and caspase-3 activity in doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Bid expression in a resting state and after treatment with doxorubicin increased in MDA-MB-231-NDRG2 cells compared to MDA-MB-231-mock cells. Meanwhile, Bcl-xL expression decreased in MDA-MB-231-NDRG2 cells compared to MDA-MB-231-mock cells in a resting state and in doxorubicin-treated cells. Collectively, these data suggest that suppression of STAT3 activation by NDRG2 influences the sensitivity to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis of breast cancer cells and this may provide a potential therapeutic benefit to overcome the resistance against doxorubicin in breast cancer.
- Breast cancer
- N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Drug Discovery