Pien Tze Huang Inhibits Migration and Invasion of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells by Repressing PDGFRB/YAP/CCN2 Axis Activity

Chin J Integr Med. 2022 Aug 10. doi: 10.1007/s11655-022-3533-8. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To investigate the effects of Pien Tze Huang (PZH) on the migration and invasion of HCC cells and underlying molecular mechanism.

Methods: Cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) was applied to evaluate the cell viabilities of SMMC-7721, SK-Hep-1, C3A and HL-7702 (6 × 103 cells/well) co-incubated with different concentrations of PZH (0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8 mg/mL) for 24 h. Transwell, wound healing assay, CCK-8 and Annexin V-FITC/PI staining were conducted to investigate the effects of PZH on the migration, invasion, proliferation and apoptosis of SK-Hep-1 and SMMC-7721 cells (650 µ g/mL for SK-Hep-1 cells and 330 µ g/mL for SMMC-7721 cells), respectively. In vivo, lung metastasis mouse model constructed by tail vein injection of HCC cells was used for evaluating the anti-metastasis function of PZH. SK-Hep-1 cells (106 cells/200 µ L per mice) were injected into B-NDG mice via tail vein. Totally 8 mice were randomly divided into PZH and control groups, 4 mice in each group. After 2-d inoculation, mice in the PZH group were administered with PZH (250 mg/kg, daily) and mice in the control group received only vehicle (PBS) from the 2nd day after xenograft to day 17. Transcriptome analysis based on RNA-seq was subsequently used for deciphering anti-tumor mechanism of PZH. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot were applied to verify RNA-seq results. Luciferase reporter assay was performed to examine the transcriptional activity of yes-associated protein (YAP).

Results: PZH treatment significantly inhibited the migration, invasion, proliferation and promoted the apoptosis of HCC cells in vitro and in vivo (P<0.01). Transcriptome analysis indicated that Hippo signaling pathway was associated with anti-metastasis function of PZH. Mechanical study showed PZH significantly inhibited the expressions of platelet derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFRB), YAP, connective tissue growth factor (CCN2), N-cadherin, vimentin and matrix metallopeptidase 2 (MMP2, P<0.01). Meanwhile, the phosphorylation of YAP was also enhanced by PZH treatment in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, PZH played roles in inhibiting the transcriptional activity of YAP.

Conclusion: PZH restrained migration, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of HCC cells through repressing PDGFRB/YAP/CCN2 axis.

Keywords: Hippo; Pien Tze Huang; RNA-seq; hepatocellular carcinoma; yes-associated protein.