Background: Poly-adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribosylation, catalysed by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), is a post-translational modification of nuclear proteins and is involved in a wide range of biological processes including DNA repair, cell proliferation and malignant transformation. Alteration of this reaction in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is of interest, but has not yet been explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate poly-ADP-ribosylation and to compare the expression of PARP in HCC and adjacent non-tumour tissues.
Methods: Tumorous and adjacent non-tumorous tissues were obtained from five consecutive patients with HCC during surgery for tumour resection. Tissue homogenates were subjected to ADP-ribosylation with [32P]-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. The ADP-ribosylated proteins were separated by sodium dodecylsulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, followed by autoradiography. Expression of PARP was also evaluated by western blotting.
Results: Several proteins were ADP-ribosylated in human HCC tissues. Notably, the radiolabelling of a 116-kDa protein was remarkably greater than that in adjacent non-tumorous tissues (86.5 +/- 35.2 arbitrary units by densitometry vs 12.2 +/- 9.9, mean +/- SD, n = 5, P < 0.02). The radiolabelling of the 116-kDa protein was decreased in the presence of PARP inhibitors in a concentration-dependent manner. Immunoblot analyses revealed that the radiolabelled protein was PARP and that its expression was significantly greater in HCC than in adjacent non-tumorous tissues (333 +/- 204% of non-tumorous tissue, P < 0.05).
Conclusions: We found that poly-ADP-ribosylation and PARP expression were significantly increased in human HCC compared with those in adjacent non-tumorous tissues in surgically obtained specimens.