Objectives: Histone deacetylase inhibitors represent a promising class of potential
anticancer agents for the treatment of human malignancies. In this study, the effects of
trichostatin A (TSA) on apoptosis, metastasis-associated gene expression, and activation of the
Notch pathway in human pancreatic cancer cell lines were investigated.
Methods: After treatment with TSA, cell viability and apoptosis were evaluated using the MTT
[3-(4,5-dimethylthia-zol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay, Hoechst 33258 staining, and flow cytometry. Moreover, RT-PCR
and western blot analyses were performed to measure the expression levels of apoptosis-associated genes (Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3),
metastasis-associated genes (E-cadherin, vimentin, and matrix metalloproteinases), and Notch pathway activation (Notch intracellular
domain, NICD). The levels of matrix metalloproteinase 2 and NICD were also semi-quantified by immunoassay.
Results: Following treatment with TSA for 24 h, PANC-1, SW1990, and MIATACA-2 cells exhibited cell death. The MTT assay
revealed that TSA significantly decreased cell viability in a dose-dependent manner in PANC-1 cells. The Hoechst 33258 staining and
flow cytometry results evidenced a significant increase in PANC-1 cell apoptosis following TSA treatment. The expression levels of Bax
and caspase-3 were increased significantly, whereas Bcl-2 was down-regulated after TSA treatment. In the PANC-1 cells that survived
after TSA treatment, the expression levels of vimentin, E-cadherin, and MMP genes were altered by the promotion of potential metastasis
and increased expression of NICD.
Conclusions: TSA can induce apoptosis of pancreatic cancer cells. In addition, the up-regulation of metastasis-related genes and the
activation of the Notch pathway in the survived PANC-1 cells may be associated with a too-low level of TSA or resistance to TSA.