Microbubble-based enhancement of radiation effect: Role of cell membrane ceramide metabolism
by Azza Al-Mahrouki, Anoja Giles, Amr Hashim, Hyunjung Christina Kim, Ahmad El-Falou, Dean Rowe-Magnus, Golnaz Farhat, Gregory J. CzarnotaUltrasound (US) stimulated microbubbles (MB) is a new treatment approach that sensitizes cancer cells to radiation (XRT). The molecular pathways in this response remain unelucidated, however, previous data has supported a role for cell membrane-metabolism related pathways including an up regulation of UDP glycosyltransferase 8 (UGT8), which catalyzes the transfer of galactose to ceramide, a lipid that is associated with the induction of apoptotic signalling. In this study, the role of UGT8 in responses of prostate tumours to ultrasound-stimulated microbubble radiation enhancement therapy is investigated. Experiments were carried out with cells in vitro and tumours in vivo in which UGT8 levels had been up regulated or down regulated. Genetically modified PC3 cells were treated with XRT, US+MB, or a combination of XRT+US+MB. An increase in the immunolabelling of ceramide was observed in cells where UGT8 was down-regulated as opposed to cells where UGT8 was either not regulated or was up-regulated. Clonogenic assays have revealed a decreased level of cellular survival with the down-regulation of UGT8. Xenograft tumours generated from stably transfected PC3 cells were also treated with US+MB, XRT or US+MB+XRT. Histology demonstrated more cellular damage in tumours with down-regulated UGT8 in comparison with control tumours. In contrast, tumours with up-regulated UGT8 had less damage than control tumours. Power Doppler imaging indicated a reduction in the vascular index with UGT8 down-regulation and photoacoustic imaging revealed a reduction in oxygen saturation. This was contrary to when UGT8 was up regulated. The down regulation of UGT8 led to the accumulation of ceramide resulting in more cell death signalling and therefore, a greater enhancement of radiation effect when vascular disruption takes place through the use of ultrasound-stimulated microbubbles.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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