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Cancer-Treatment and Therapeutics

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Deoxycholate induces DNA damage and apoptosis in human colon epithelial cells expressing either mutant or wildtype p53

Author(s): Powolny A, Xu J, Loo G


Diets rich in fat result in higher concentrations of secondary bile acids or their salts in the colon, which may adversely affect cells of the colonic epithelium. Because secondary bile acids are thought to be genotoxic, exposing colon epithelial cells to secondary bile acids may induce DNA damage that might lead to apoptosis. The requirement for the p53 tumor suppressor gene in such events is unknown. In particular, the effects of secondary bile acids on colon epithelial cells having different p53 tumor suppressor gene status have not been examined. Therefore, HCT-116 and HCT-15 human colon adenocarcinoma cells, which express the wild-type and mutant p53 genes, respectively, were exposed to physiological concentrations of deoxycholate. The cells were then analyzed for evidence of DNA damage and apoptosis. After 2 h of incubation with 300 μM deoxycholate, both cell lines had greater levels of single-strand breaks in DNA as assessed by the comet assay. After 6 h of exposure to deoxycholate, HCT-116 and HCT-15 cells showed morphological signs of apoptosis, i.e., membrane blebbing and the presence of apoptotic bodies. Chromatin condensation and fragmentation were also seen after staining DNA with 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole. Other apoptotic assays revealed greater binding of annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate, as well as greater post-enzymatic labeling with dUTP-fluorescein isothiocyanate, by both cell lines exposed to deoxycholate. These data suggest that deoxycholate caused DNA damage in colon epithelial cells that was sufficient to trigger apoptosis in a p53-independent manner.

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