The aim of the present study was to verify the effects of fluoxetine on dysregulation of apoptosis and invasive potential in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) SK-Hep1 and Hep3B cells. Cells were treated with different concentrations of fluoxetine for different times. MTT (3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-Diphenyltetrazolium Bromide) assays were used for testing the effects of fluoxetine on cell viability. The regulation of apoptosis signaling, and anti-apoptotic, proliferation, and metastasis-associated proteins after fluoxetine treatment were assayed by flow cytometry and Western blotting assay. The detection of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) activation after fluoxetine treatment was performed by NF-κB reporter gene assay. The results demonstrated that fluoxetine significantly reduced cell viability, cell migration/invasion, NF-κB, extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) activation, and expression of anti-apoptotic (Cellular FLICE (FADD-like IL-1β-converting enzyme)-inhibitory protein (C-FLIP), Myeloid cell leukemia-1 (MCL-1), X-Linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XAIP), and Survivin), proliferation (Cyclin-D1), angiogenesis (vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)), and metastasis-associated proteins (matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9)). Fluoxetine also significantly induced apoptosis, unregulated extrinsic (activation of first apoptosis signal protein and ligand (Fas/FasL), and caspase-8) and intrinsic (loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) pathways and increased Bcl-2 homologous antagonist killer (BAK) apoptosis signaling. Taken together, these results demonstrated that fluoxetine induced apoptosis through extrinsic/intrinsic pathways and diminished ERK/NF-κB-modulated anti-apoptotic and invasive potential in HCC cells in vitro.
Keywords: NF-κB; apoptosis; fluoxetine; human hepatocellular carcinoma.