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Activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase/AKT pathway in neuroblastoma and its regulation by thioredoxin 1

Human Pathology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.humpath.2011.01.019
  • Akt
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Tissue Microarray
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Thioredoxin
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Summary Neuroblastoma is a malignant pediatric tumor with poor survival. The phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase/AKT pathway is a crucial regulator of cellular processes including apoptosis. Thioredoxin 1, an inhibitor of tumor-suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog, is overexpressed in many tumors. The objective of this study was to explore phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase/AKT pathway activation and regulation by thioredoxin 1 to identify potential therapeutic targets. Immunohistochemical analysis was done on tissue microarrays from tumor samples of 101 patients, using antibodies against phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase, AKT, activated AKT, phosphatase and tensin homolog, phosphorylated phosphatase and tensin homolog, thioredoxin 1, epidermal growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor and receptors (vascular endothelial growth factor 1 and vascular endothelial growth receptor 2), platelet-derived growth factor receptors, insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor, neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor type 2, phosphorylated 70-kd S6 protein kinase, 4E-binding protein 1, and phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin. Using 3 neuroblastoma cell lines, we investigated cell viability with AKT-specific inhibitors (LY294002, RAD001) and thioredoxin 1 alone or in combination. We found activated AKT and AKT expressed in 97% and 98%, respectively, of neuroblastomas, despite a high expression of phosphatase and tensin homolog correlated with thioredoxin 1. AKT expression was greater in metastatic than primary tumors. Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor, tyrosine kinase receptor type 2, vascular endothelial growth receptor 1, and downstream phosphorylated 70-kd S6 protein kinase were correlated with activated AKT. LY294002 and RAD001 significantly reduced AKT activity and cell viability and induced a G 1 cell cycle arrest. Thioredoxin 1 decreased cytotoxicity of AKT inhibitors and doxorubicin, up-regulated AKT activation, and induced cell growth. Thus, vascular endothelial growth receptor 1, tyrosine kinase receptor type 2, insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor, and thioredoxin 1 emerged as preferentially committed to phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase/AKT pathway activation as observed in neuroblastoma. Thioredoxin 1 is a potential target for therapeutic intervention.

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