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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (5): 418-427.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.08.003

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Aerobic exercise suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma by downregulating dynamin-related protein 1 through PI3K/AKT pathway

Tong Zhaoa,b, Bing-jie Guoa, Chu-lan Xiaoa, Jiao-jiao Chena, Can Lüa, Fan-fu Fanga, Bai Lia   

  1. a. School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naval Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
    b. Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, Jiangsu Province, China
  • Received:2021-01-16 Accepted:2021-05-20 Online:2021-09-15 Published:2021-09-30
  • Contact: Bai Li

Exercise, as a common non-drug intervention, is one of several lifestyle choices known to reduce the risk of cancer. Mitochondrial division has been reported to play a key role in the occurrence and transformation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study investigated whether exercise could regulate the occurrence and development of HCC through mitosis.
Bioinformatics technology was used to analyze the expression level of dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), a key protein of mitochondrial division. The effects of DRP1 and DRP1 inhibitor (mdivi-1) on the proliferation and migration of liver cancer cells BEL-7402 were observed using cell counting kit-8, plate colony formation, transwell cell migration, and scratch experiments. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to detect the expression of DRP1 and its downstream phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) pathway. A treadmill exercise intervention was tested in a nude mouse human liver cancer subcutaneous tumor model expressing different levels of DRP1. The size and weight of subcutaneous tumors in mice were detected before and after exercise.
The expression of DRP1 in liver cancer tissues was significantly upregulated compared with normal liver tissues (P < 0.001). The proliferation rate and the migration of BEL-7402 cells in the DRP1 over-expression group were higher than that in the control group. The mdivi-1 group showed an inhibitory effect on the proliferation and migration of BEL-7402 cells at 50 μmol/L. Aerobic exercise was able to inhibit the expression of DRP1 and decrease the size and weight of subcutaneous tumors. Moreover, the expression of phosphorylated PI3K (p-PI3K) and phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT) decreased in the exercise group. However, exercise could not change p-PI3K and p-AKT levels after knocking down DRP1 or using mdivi-1 on subcutaneous tumor.
Aerobic exercise can suppress the development of tumors partially by regulating DRP1 through PI3K/AKT pathway.

Key words: Aerobic exercise, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Dynamin-related protein, PI3K/AKT pathway

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