Sphingomyelin synthase 2 overexpression promotes cisplatin‑induced apoptosis of HepG2 cells
- Si Luo
- Zhen Pan
- Shuang Liu
- Shujing Yuan
- Nianlong Yan
Published online on: October 31, 2017
Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most type of common pediatric liver cancer. The primary chemotherapy drug for HB is cisplatin (DDP). However, patients readily develop intrinsic and acquired resistance, and severe side effects to treatment. Sphingomyelin synthase 2 (SMS2) is a key enzyme involved in the generation of sphingomyelin (SM), which is able to regulate cell proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. The death receptors (DRs) have important functions in DDP‑induced apoptosis. However, whether SMS2 is able to modulate cell apoptosis through the DR signaling pathway remains unknown. To investigate this question, SMS2 was overexpressed in HepG2 cells and treated with 3.5 mg/l cisplatin in the present study. After 24 h, the expression of SMS2, avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (c‑Myc), DR4, DR5 and caspase‑3 was analyzed. Furthermore, cell viability was quantified, and apoptosis was assessed by western blot and flow cytometry analysis as well as Cell Counting kit‑8. The results of the present study revealed that overexpression of SMS2 was able to increase the expression of c‑Myc, cleaved caspase‑3, DR4 and DR5 compared with the control group (P<0.05, n=3), and increase the levels of apoptosis in the SMS2 + DDP group, compared with the control (P<0.001, n=3). These results indicate that overexpression of SMS2 is able to improve sensitivity of HepG2 cells to DDP by increasing the expression of c‑Myc, DR4 and DR5 in HepG2 cells. This increased sensitivity may decrease intrinsic and acquired resistance of chemotherapy in HB, and reduce the associated severe side effects in pediatric patients.