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The combination of rapamycin and MAPK inhibitors enhances the growth inhibitory effect on Nara-H cells

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The inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway promotes the initiation of autophagy, and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) is well known to induce autophagy. Autophagy is a self-defense mechanism of cancer cells that are subjected to antitumor agents, and blocking autophagy can trigger apoptosis. In the present study, we demonstrate that an mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, induces autophagy in the Nara-H malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) cell line through the activation of ERK1/2. Rapamycin-induced apoptosis was enhanced following the inhibition of the MEK/ERK pathway. In the Nara-H cells, we examined the effects of rapamycin treatment on cell proliferation and on the phosphorylation of the mTOR pathway components and autophagy by western blot analysis. Furthermore, we examined the effects of rapamycin with or without the MEK inhibitor, U0126, on the induction of apoptosis by using fluorescence microscopy. Rapamycin inhibited Nara-H cell proliferation and decreased the phosphorylation of the mTOR pathway in the Nara-H cells. Rapamycin induced the apoptosis of Nara-H cells, and this apoptosis was enhanced by U0126. Simultaneously, phospho-ERK1/2 was activated by rapamycin. The present study demonstrates that rapamycin induces autophagy in Nara-H cells by activating the MEK/ERK signaling pathway, and the rapamycin-induced apoptosis can be enhanced by the MEK inhibitor, U0126. These results suggest that selfprotective mechanisms involving mTOR inhibitors in Nara-H cells are prevented by the inhibition of the MEK/ERK pathway. The combination of an mTOR inhibitor (e.g., rapamycin) and an MEK inhibitor (e.g., U0126) may offer effective treatment for MFH, as this combination effectively activates apoptotic pathways.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kagawa University School of Medicine, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan

Publication date: June 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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