Low-Intensity Sonoporation-Induced Intracellular Signalling of Pancreatic Cancer Cells, Fibroblasts and Endothelial Cells
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPharmaceutics. 2020, 12(11), 1058 10.3390/pharmaceutics12111058
The use of ultrasound (US) and microbubbles (MB), usually referred to as sonoporation, has great potential to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy. However, the molecular mechanisms that mediate sonoporation response are not well-known, and recent research suggests that cell stress induced by US + MBs may contribute to the treatment benefit. Furthermore, there is a growing understanding that the effects of US + MBs are beyond only the cancer cells and involves the tumour vasculature and microenvironment. We treated pancreatic cancer cells (MIA PaCa-2) and stromal cells, fibroblasts (BJ) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), with US ± MB, and investigated the extent of uptake of cell impermeable dye (calcein, by flow cytometry), viability (cell count, Annexin/PI and WST-1 assays) and activation of a number of key proteins in important intracellular signalling pathways immediately and 2 h after sonoporation (phospho flow cytometry). Different cell types responded differently to US ± MBs in all these aspects. In general, sonoporation induces immediate, transient activation of MAP-kinases (p38, ERK1/2), and an increase in phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 together with dephosphorylation of 4E-BP1. The sonoporation stress-response resembles cellular responses to electroporation and pore-forming toxins in membrane repair and restoring cellular homeostasis, and may be exploited therapeutically. The stromal cells were more sensitive to sonoporation than tumoural cells, and further efforts in optimising sonoporation-enhanced therapy should be targeted at the microenvironment.