Resistance to butyrate impairs bile acid-induced apoptosis in human colon adenocarcinoma cells via up-regulation of Bcl-2 and inactivation of Bax

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A critical risk factor in colorectal carcinogenesis and tumor therapy is the resistance to the apoptotic effects of different compounds from the intestinal lumen, among them butyrate (main regulator of colonic epithelium homeostasis). Insensitivity to butyrate-induced apoptosis yields resistance to other agents, as bile acids or chemotherapy drugs, allowing the selective growth of malignant cell subpopulations. Here we analyze bile acid-induced apoptosis in a butyrate-resistant human colon adenocarcinoma cell line (BCS-TC2.BR2) to determine the mechanisms that underlay the resistance to these agents in comparison with their parental butyrate-sensitive BCS-TC2 cells. This study demonstrates that DCA and CDCA still induce apoptosis in butyrate-resistant cells through increased ROS production by activation of membrane-associated enzymes and subsequent triggering of the intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Although this mechanism is similar to that described in butyrate-sensitive cells, cell viability is significantly higher in resistant cells. Moreover, butyrate-resistant cells show higher Bcl-2 levels that confer resistance to bile acid-induced apoptosis sequestering Bax and avoiding Bax-dependent pore formation in the mitochondria. We have confirmed that this resistance is reverted using the Bcl-2 inhibitor ABT-263, thus demonstrating that the lower sensitivity of butyrate-resistant cells to the apoptotic effects of bile acids is mainly due to increased Bcl-2 levels.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2201-9
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et biophysica acta
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012