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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Retinol inhibits the growth of all-trans-retinoic acid-sensitive and all-trans-retinoic acid-resistant colon cancer cells through a retinoic acid receptor-independent mechanism.

Retinol (vitamin A) is thought to exert its effects through the actions of its metabolite, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), on gene transcription mediated by retinoic acid receptors ( RAR) and retinoic acid response elements (RARE). However, retinoic acid resistance limits the chemotherapeutic potential of ATRA. We examined the ability of retinol to inhibit the growth of ATRA-sensitive (HCT-15) and ATRA-resistant (HCT-116, SW620, and WiDR) human colon cancer cell lines. Retinol inhibited cell growth in a dose-responsive manner. Retinol was not metabolized to ATRA or any bioactive retinoid in two of the cell lines examined. HCT-116 and WiDR cells converted a small amount of retinol to ATRA; however, this amount of ATRA was unable to inhibit cell growth. To show that retinol was not inducing RARE-mediated transcription, each cell line was transfected with pRARE-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) and treated with ATRA and retinol. Although treatment with ATRA increased CAT activity 5-fold in ATRA-sensitive cells, retinol treatment did not increase CAT activity in any cell line examined. To show that growth inhibition due to retinol was ATRA, RAR, and RARE independent, a pan- RAR antagonist was used to block RAR signaling. Retinol-induced growth inhibition was not alleviated by the RAR antagonist in any cell line, but the antagonist alleviated ATRA-induced growth inhibition of HCT-15 cells. Retinol did not induce apoptosis, differentiation or necrosis, but affected cell cycle progression. Our data show that retinol acts through a novel, RAR-independent mechanism to inhibit colon cancer cell growth.[1]


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