Recent evidence suggests that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression is up-regulated by oxidative stressors through activation of hypoxia-inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1). To investigate whether this is a general phenomenon, we studied the effects of the sulfhydryl reagent arsenite on VEGF expression in human ovarian cancer cells. Arsenite potently induces the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in several cell systems and directly interacts with sulfhydryl groups of cellular thiols. We report that arsenite induces VEGF mRNA and protein levels in normoxic H134 and OVCAR-3 cells. Arsenite also increases HIF-1α protein levels, suggesting a role for HIF-1 in the induction of VEGF expression. Pretreatment with the ROS inhibitors catalase and mannitol attenuated arsenite-induced ROS production, but did not affect induction of VEGF mRNA and HIF-1α protein. In contrast, pretreatment with the thiol antioxidants glutathione or N-acetylcysteine completely abrogated both effects, whereas a potentiation was observed by depletion of intracellular glutathione. These results demonstrate that arsenite-induced VEGF mRNA and HIF-1α protein expression is independent of increased ROS production but critically regulated by the cellular reduced glutathione content. In addition, these data suggest the involvement of a thiol-sensitive mechanism in the regulation of VEGF mRNA expression and HIF-1α protein in human ovarian cancer cells.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|State||Published - Dec 21 2001|
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