Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 1016–1025 | Cite as

The Down-Regulation of Notch1 Inhibits the Invasion and Migration of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells by Inactivating the Cyclooxygenase-2/Snail/E-cadherin Pathway In Vitro

  • Liang Zhou
  • De-sheng Wang
  • Qing-jun Li
  • Wei Sun
  • Yong Zhang
  • Ke-feng DouEmail author
Original Article



The Notch signaling pathway plays an important role in cancer, but the mechanism by which Notch1 participates in invasion and migration of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells is unclear.


Our purpose is to confirm the anti-invasion and anti-migration effects of the down-regulation of Notch1 in HCC cells.


The invasion and migration capacities of HCC cells were detected with Transwell cell culture chambers. The expressions of Notch1, Notch1 intracellular domain (N1ICD), E-cadherin, Snail, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) were analyzed by RT-PCR and/or western blotting. Notch1 and Snail were down-regulated by RNA interference, and COX-2 was inhibited by NS-398. Cell apoptosis was analyzed by MTT and flow cytometry.


In HCC cells, Snail, Notch1, and COX-2 were up-regulated, and E-cadherin was down-regulated in mRNA and/or protein levels. The down-regulation of Snail or Notch1 or the inhibition of COX-2, respectively, can increase the mRNA and protein expressions of E-cadherin and decrease the invasion and migration capabilities of HCC cell. Down-regulated Notch1 or inhibited COX-2 can reduce the mRNA and protein expressions of Snail. The down-regulation of Notch1 can also reduce the protein expression of COX-2. However, exogenous PGE2 can reverse the role of down-regulated Notch1. The results of MTT and flow cytometry showed that down-regulated Notch1 did not affect HCC cell viability.


Down-regulated Notch1 may be an effective approach to inactivating Snail/E-cadherin by regulating COX-2, which results in inhibiting the invasion and migration of HCC cells. The inhibitory effects of down-regulated Notch1 on cell invasion and migration were independent of apoptosis.


Notch1 signaling pathway E-cadherin Snail Cyclooxygenase-2 Invasion Migration 



We are grateful to Fuqin Zhang who provided me the technical help. This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants No. 30872480) and the Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants No. 81030010/H0318).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liang Zhou
    • 1
  • De-sheng Wang
    • 1
  • Qing-jun Li
    • 1
  • Wei Sun
    • 1
  • Yong Zhang
    • 1
  • Ke-feng Dou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Xijing HospitalThe Fourth Military Medical UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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