Activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway has been identified in several cancers, including medulloblastoma, but the mechanisms by which this pathway affects tumor survival and growth are incompletely understood. We investigated whether Hedgehog might promote survival of medulloblastoma cells via up-regulation of BclII. We found that mRNA levels of the Hedgehog pathway effector Gli1 were significantly associated with BclII expression in medulloblastoma and that Gli1 and BclII are both present in regions of decreased apoptosis in nodular medulloblastoma. Transient overexpression of Gli1 and Gli2 in medulloblastoma cultures induced a BclII transcriptional reporter and increased BclII protein levels, whereas stable overexpression of Gli1 was associated with increased BclII mRNA. The Hedgehog antagonist cyclopamine blocked expression of the Hh pathway targets PTCH1 and Gli1, lowered BclII levels, and increased apoptosis in DAOY and UW228 medulloblastoma cells. Apoptotic induction caused by cyclopamine could be rescued in part by enforced expression of Gli1 or BclII. Hh pathway blockade also sensitized medulloblastoma to the effects of the proapoptotic agent lovastatin. These data demonstrate that BclII is an important mediator of Hh activity in medulloblastoma and suggest new strategies for combined chemotherapeutic regimens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine