SERUM-BORNE FACTORS IN CANCER PATIENTS WITH ADVANCED CACHEXIA: INFLUENCE ON ADIPOSE CELLS

SERUM-BORNE FACTORS IN CANCER PATIENTS WITH ADVANCED CACHEXIA: INFLUENCE ON ADIPOSE CELLS
Fred Haugen, Kristin Hollung, Anne M. Ramsrud, Andreas J. Wensaas, Naeem Zahid, Svein Dueland, and Christian A. Drevon (Norway)

Abstract
Background

The clinical syndrome cancer cachexia is recognized by a considerable weight loss being out of proportion to any reduction in energy intake. The underlying mechanisms are not completely known, but the marked weight loss is attributable to depletion of adipose tissue as well as skeletal muscle mass. Enhanced lipolysis in adipocytes, apoptosis of preadipocytes may be important for loss of adipose tissue.

Results
Sera from cachectic cancer patients induced apoptosis in cultured human preadipocytes at a higher rate than sera from non-cachectic cancer patients (control group). There was a tendency towards increased mRNA levels of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 gene Bax after incubation of preadipocytes with cachectic sera. Moreover, the mRNA levels of anti-apoptotic Bcl-XL and pro-apoptotic Bcl-XS were increased and decreased, respectively, as compared to incubation with control sera. However, lipolysis was not enhanced in cultured human adipocytes after incubation with sera from cachectic cancer patients as compared to non-cachectic cancer patients.

Methods
Serum samples from cachectic cancer patients (n=8) and non-cachectic cancer patients (n=6) were collected. Human SGBS (Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome) preadipocytes and differentiated adipocytes were incubated in the presence of serum from cachectic and non-cachectic (control) cancer patients. Induction of apoptosis and necrosis was examined by cell staining with Hoechst 342 (HO342) and propidium iodide (PI), respectively. Expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 genes was measured by quantitative RT-PCR. Lipolysis was monitored by measuring the release of radiolabeled fatty acids.

Conclusion
Our in vitro data suggest that apoptosis of preadipocytes can be increased by serum-borne factors in cancer cachexia. Death or survival of preadipocytes may depend on the balance of pro- and anti-apoptotic mediators. Further studies of patients with cancer cachexia will be needed to reveal if the disease involves loss of adipose tissue due to apoptosis of preadipocytes. We could not show that serum-borne factors associated with cachexia have a major impact on lipolysis in cultured human adipocytes.

Adipobiology 2009; 1: 57-66

Key words: preadipocytes, adipokines, apoptosis


Received 11 November 2008, accepted 15 December 2008.
Correspondence and reprint request: Dr Fred Haugen, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1046 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway. Tel.: 47 22851515, Fax: 47 22851398,
E-mail: fredha@basalmed.uio.no

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