, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 319-330
Date: 09 Jan 2010

Adenosine-induced caspase-3 activation by tuning Bcl-XL/DIABLO/IAP expression in HuH-7 human hepatoma cells

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Extracellular adenosine disrupted mitochondrial membrane potentials in HuH-7 cells, a Fas-deficient human hepatoma cell line, and the effect was inhibited by the adenosine transporter inhibitor dipyridamole or by overexpressing Bcl-XL. Adenosine downregulated the expression of mRNAs and proteins for Bcl-XL and inhibitor of apoptosis protein 2 (IAP2) to directly inhibit caspase-3, -7, and -9, but it otherwise upregulated the expression of mRNA and protein for DIABLO, an inhibitor of IAPs. Those adenosine effects were attenuated by dipyridamole. Caspase-3 and -8 were implicated in adenosine-induced HuH-7 cell death, and adenosine actually activated caspase-3 without caspase-9 activation. The caspase-3 activation was inhibited by overexpressing Bcl-XL or IAP2. Taken together, the results of the present study indicate that intracellularly transported adenosine activates caspase-3 by neutralizing caspase-3 inhibition due to IAP as a result of decreased IAP2 expression and reduced IAP activity in response to increased DIABLO expression and perhaps DIABLO release from damaged mitochondria, in addition to caspase-8 activation. This represents further insight into adenosine-induced HuH-7 cell apoptotic pathway.