Rakesh Srivastava - Chronic ethanol exposure of human pancreatic normal ductal epithelial cells induces cancer stem cell phenotype through SATB2

The incidence of pancreatic cancer is on the rise. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include alcohol toxicity and metabolic conditions such as obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, the molecular mechanism by which chronic alcohol consumption contributes to pancreatic cancer is not well understood. The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the effects of long-term chronic ethanol exposure on the transformation of human pancreatic normal ductal epithelial (HPNE) cells. Our data showed that ethanol-transformed HPNE cells were more progressively transformed exhibiting spheroids and colonies, and anchorage-independent growth. These transformed cells contained high levels of reactive oxygen species and induced SATB2 expression. Furthermore, during ethanol-induced cellular transformation, cells gained the phenotypes of cancer stem cells (CSCs) by expressing pluripotency maintaining factors (Oct4, Sox2, cMyc and KLF4) and stem cell markers (CD24, CD44 and CD133). Ethanol-induced SATB2 can bind to the promoters of KLF4, Oct4, cMyc, Sox2, Bcl-2 and XIAP genes. Suppression of SATB2 expression in ethanol-transformed HPNE cells inhibited cell proliferation, colony formation and markers of CSCs and pluripotency. These data suggest that chronic alcohol consumption may contribute toward the development of pancreatic cancer by converting HPNE cells to cancer stem-like cells.

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