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Promotion of miR-221-5p on the Sensitivity of Gastric Cancer Cells to Cisplatin and Its Effects on Cell Proliferation and Apoptosis by Regulating DDR1

Authors Jiang X, Jiang M, Guo S, Cai P, Wang W, Li Y

Received 30 September 2019

Accepted for publication 21 November 2019

Published 18 March 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 2333—2345

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S232953

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Leo Jen-Liang Su

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Xiaomeng Jiang,1 Menglin Jiang,2 Shuhua Guo,3 Pengpeng Cai,1 Wei Wang,1 Yi Li1

1Department of Digestive, Sir Run Run Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, 211166, People’s Republic of China; 2Biomedical Sciences Department, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN 38105, USA; 3Emergency Department, Affiliated Hospital of Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province 212001, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Yi Li
Department of Digestive, Sir Run Run Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, No. 109, Long Mian Avenue, Jiangning District, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province 211166, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 18961322162
Email [email protected]

Purpose: This research aimed to explore the role of miR-221-5p on the sensitivity of gastric cancer cells to cisplatin, and the proliferation and invasion of gastric cancer cells by regulating DDR1.
Patients and Methods: Altogether 69 patients who treated with radical gastrectomy from January 2014 to January 2016 were collected. With the agree of the patients, 69 gastric carcinoma and 69 adjacent tissues were taken, respectively, during the operation, and gastric carcinoma and human gastric mucosa cells were purchased. RT-PCR was used for detection of the expression level of miR-221-5p and DDR1. Wound healing assay and CCK-8 assay were used for exploration of the cell migration and viability. Western blot and double luciferase reporter gene were performed to determine the target gene of miR-221-5p.
Results: It was showed that miR-221-5p expression was decreased in GC tissues and cell lines. The high expression of miR-221-5p reduced the resistance of GC cells to cisplatin and inhibited the proliferation and migration of gastric cancer cells. The high expression of miR-221-5p promoted the proliferation, invasion and migration of GC cells. In addition, we found that DDR1 was a direct target gene of miR-221-5p in GC cells. We found that DDR1 expression increased in gastric carcinoma. Moreover, there was a negative correlation of DDR1 with the expression level of miR-221-5p. The increase of miR-221-5p increased the chemosensitivity of GC cells to cisplatin, and inhibited the proliferation, invasion, migration and EMT of GC cells by targeting DDR1.
Conclusion: The above research indicated that miR-221-5p may be a target for enhancing cisplatin chemotherapy sensitivity in gastric cancer patients.

Keywords: miR-221-5p, DDR1, gastric cancer cells, cisplatin, sensitivity, proliferation, apoptosis

Introduction

In recent years, gastric cancer has gradually become one of the main causes of death.1 However, due to the delitescent early symptoms of gastric carcinoma, many patients are already at the advanced stage for first visit, and the prognosis of patients is often poor.2,3 In addition, chemotherapy resistance is one of the causes for the poor survival rate of gastric carcinoma patients.4 Cisplatin (DDP) is a first-line chemotherapy drug widely used in clinic at present, and is also widely applied for the treatment of gastric carcinoma. However, most patients will develop DDP resistance after a period of treatment, which is also one of the main reasons leading to recurrence or metastasis of patients.5 Therefore, how to improve the chemotherapy resistance of gastric carcinoma patients and the chemosensitivity of patients to DDP is one of the difficult problems to be solved clinically at present.

miRNA is a non-coding microRNA, which plays a very critical role in gene regulation and target protein degradation after transcription.6 In recent years, some researches have found that miRNA not only has a close relationship with the biological function of tumor cells, but also has certain influence on drug resistance of tumor cells.7 For example, previous studies8 found that miR-124 can inhibit cisplatin resistance of lung cancer cells by regulating STAT3. miR-221 is a miRNA closely relate to cancer, which can be processed into miR-221-3p or miR-221-5p to find the role of gene regulation.9 Different from miR-221-3p, the researches on miR-221-5p are rare in recent years, and only a few researches have reported the effect of miR-221-5p. For example, a study10 found that miR-221-5p acts as a tumor suppressor gene in prostatic carcinoma, but no research has been conducted on its role in gastric cancer and related mechanisms.

Disc domain receptor 1(DDR1), as a receptor tyrosine kinase, is up-regulated in various tumors and is believed to regulate the biological function of tumor cells.11 In recent years, studies12 have found that the up-regulation of DDR1 has a relationship with the poor prognosis of the patients, which leads us to suspect whether DDR1 has a relationship with the chemotherapy resistance of gastric carcinoma patients. However, no research has been conducted to discuss this.

Interestingly, through (http://www.targetscan.org/vert_72/), we found a targeted relationship between miR-221-5p and DDR1, but the mechanism of cisplatin resistance and biological function of miR-221-5p and DDR1 to gastric carcinoma cells has not been studied. Therefore, we carried out this research in order to provide more molecular directions for the treatment of gastric carcinoma.

Materials and Methods

Clinical Specimen

Altogether 69 patients who treated with radical gastrectomy from January 2014 to January 2016 were collected. A total of 69 gastric carcinoma and 69 adjacent tissues were obtained with the consent of the patients and stored in liquid nitrogen tanks. See Table 1 for patient information. See Table 2 for inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Table 1 General Data of Patients

Table 2 Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Institutional Review Board Statement

This study was reviewed and approved by the SIR RUN RUN Hospital, Nanjing Medical University Ethics Committee.

Experimental Reagents and Materials

Human gastric carcinoma cell lines SUN-1, MKN-7, MGC-823, SGC-7901 and human normal gastric mucosa cell line GES (ATCC subordinate agent BeNa Biology, Beijing, China); Cisplatin (Shanghai Gold Wheat Biotechnology Co., Ltd.); qRT-PCR and reverse transcription kit (TransGen Biotech, Beijing, China); CCK-8 kit (Promega Company, USA); Transwell kit (Shanghai Fanke Biotechnology Co., Ltd.); PBS, fetal bovine serum (FBS) (Gibco Company, USA); Trizol reagent (Beijing Biolab Technology Co., Ltd.); double luciferase reporter gene detection kit (Beijing Biolab Technology Co., Ltd., KFS303-TFX); RIPA, BCA protein kit (Thermo Scientific Company, USA); Annexin V-FITC/PI apoptosis kit (Beijing Jiamay Biotech Co., Ltd., LHK601-020); DDR1, Caspase-3, Bax, Bcl-2 and β-Actin antibodies (Cell Signaling Technology Co., ltd.); goat anti-rabbit IgG secondary antibody (Boster Biotech, Wuhan, China); ECL developer (Thermo Co., ltd.); PCR instrument (ABI Co., ltd., USA). All primers were devised and compounded by Sangon Biotech Co., Ltd, Shanghai, China.

Cell Culture and Transfection

Human gastric carcinoma cell lines SUN-1, MKN-7, MGC-823, SGC-7901 and human normal gastric mucosa cell line GES were placed in DMEM medium including 10% PBS and 100U/mL of penicillin and streptomycin, and cultured at 37°C with 5% of CO2. When the adherence growth and fusion of cells were observed to reach 85%, 25% pancreatin was added for digestion. After digestion, the cells were placed in the medium for continuous culture and passage, and then the expression of miR-221-5p and DDR1 in each cell line was detected. Then, MGC-823 and SGC-7901 were selected for transfection, and miR-221-5p-inhibitor (suppression sequence), miR-221-5p-mimics (over-expression sequence), miR negative control (miR-NC), targeting inhibition of DDR1 RNA (si-DDR1), targeting over-expression of DDR1 RNA (sh-DDR1), and negative control RNA (NC) were transfected into MGC-823 and SGC-7901 with Lipofectamine™ 2000 kit, and the operation steps were strictly in accordance with the kit instructions.

Real-Time Quantitative PCR

Altogether 3x106 cells and 100mg of tissue were taken and ground, then the total RNA in tissues and cells was extracted by Trizol reagent, 5μg of total RNA were collected to reverse transcript of cDNA referring to the instructions, and 1μL of synthesized cDNA was taken for amplification after transcription. The amplification system was as follows: 1 μ l of cDNA, 0.4μL of upstream and downstream primers with the concentration of 2umol/L, 10 μ l of TransScript® Tip Green qPCR SuperMix (2X), 0.4μL of Passive Reference Dye (50X), Nuclease-free Water was added to make up to 20μL. U6 was taken as the internal reference of miR-221-5p, β-Actin as the internal reference of DDR1, and 2−Δ CT was used to analyze the data.

Western Blot Test

Cell lysis and total protein extraction were carried out by RIPA lysis. BCA method was utilized to detect the protein concentration, and then the concentration was adjusted to 4μg/μL, 12% SDS-page electrophoresis separation was performed. After ionization, the sample was transferred to PVDF, and then 5% defatted milk powder was used to seal the PVDF membrane for 2 hrs. Then DDR1 (1:500), Caspase-3(1:500), Bax (1:500), Bcl-2 (1:500), N-cadherin (1:500), E-Cadherin (1:500), vimentin (1:500), and β-Actin (1:1000) primary antibody were added and sealed overnight at 4°C. After washing with PBST to remove unbound primary antibodies, the HRP-labeled goat anti-mouse secondary antibody (1:5000) was transferred to the membrane, and then incubated at 37°C for 1h. After that, the membrane was washed for 3 times with PBS, 5min/time, and then illuminated with ECL and developed.

Cell Proliferation Test

The proliferation ability of MGC-823 and SGC-7901 cells was evaluated by CCK-8 kit. Cells 48 hrs after transfection were collected, diluted to 3×104cell/mL, and inoculated into 96-well plates. Each well was inoculated with 100μL of cells, and cultured in 37°C with 5% CO2. A 10μL CCK8 solution was added to each well at 0h, 24h, 48h and 72h after the cells adhered to the wall. After the reagent was added, the cells were continuously cultured in an incubator at 37°C with 5% CO2 for 2 h. Then, the OD value was measured at 450nm using an enzyme reader to detect the cell proliferation and visualize the growth curve. The experiment was repeated 3 times.

Apoptosis Test

Transfected cells were digested with 0.25% trypsin, washed twice with PBS after digestion, added with 100μL of binding buffer, prepared into 1*106/mL suspension, sequentially added with AnnexinV-FITC and PI, placed at room temperature in dark for 5min, and detected with FACSVerse flow cytometer system. The experiment was repeated for 3 times to get the average value.

Cell Migration and Invasion Test

Cell migration and invasion were evaluated by scratch-healing test and Transwell test. For wound healing determination, 200μL aseptic pipette was used to scratch the cells to get a cell-free area, PBS was used to rinse the cells, and a new culture medium was added for culture. At 0h (W0) and 24h (W24) after cell scratch, the cell migration ability was evaluated by microscope for scratches at three different positions. Transwell assay: firstly, 200μL of DMEM culture solution containing 1x105 cells was added into the upper chamber, and 500mLof DMEM containing 20% FBS was added into the lower chamber. Matrix and cells of the upper ventricle not passing through the membrane surface were cleaned after 48 hrs of culture at 37°C, rinsed with PBS for 3 times, fixed with paraformaldehyde for 10min, rinsed with double distilled water for 3 times, stained with 0.1% crystal violet for 10min after it was dried, and cell invasion was observed with a microscope.

Double Luciferase Assay

DDR1-3ʹUTR wild type (Wt), DDR1 1-3ʹ UTR Mutant (Mut), miR-221-5p-mimics and miR-NC were transferred into SGC-7901 and SGC-7901/DDP cells by Lipofectamine™ 2000 kit, and luciferase activity was detected by double luciferase reporter gene assay (Promega) 48 hrs after transfection.

Evaluation of Cisplatin Sensitivity

Cells were inoculated into 96-well plates with 1x105 cells/well. A 2mL of DDP with concentrations of 0.01μg/mL, 2.5μg/mL, 5μg/mL, and 10μg/mL were added respectively. After incubation for 48h, fresh culture medium was replaced, and 10μL CCK-8 solution was transfected to each well. Then, the cells were placed into an incubator to continue culturing for 2h. After that, absorbance values of each well were measured at 450nm wavelength using SpectraMax M5 microplate reader to detect cell proliferation. The experiment was repeated for 3 times. Then IC50 of DDP was calculated according to cell survival rate. Finally, DDP with a concentration of 5μg/mL was selected to intervene the cells and the apoptosis rate was detected.

Statistical Method

In this study, SPSS20.0 was utilized to statistically analyze the collected data. GraphPad 7 software package was used to visualize the required pictures. Independent t test was adopted for inter-group comparison, one-way ANOVA for multi-group comparison, LSD-t test for post-event pairwise comparison, repeated measurement ANOVA for multi-time point expression. Bonferroni and Pearson test were used for back testing to find out the correlation between miR-221-5p and DDR1 in the tissue. A P value less than 0.05 was considered a statistical difference.

Results

Expression Level and Clinical Meaning of miR-221-5p and DDR1 in Gastric Cancer

RT-PCR detection results showed that compared with miR-221-5p in paracancerous tissues (1.07± 0.02), miR-221-5p in gastric cancer tissues was significantly decreased (0.42± 0.08) (P< 0.05), and compared with the expression of DDR1 in paracancerous tissues (1.01± 0.12), the expression level of DDR1 in gastric cancer tissues was significantly increased (1.84± 0.21) (P< 0.05). The expression of miR-221-5p and DDR1 was negatively correlated (Figure r= −0.667, P<0.05). After analyzing miR-221-5p, DDR1 and clinicopathological features, we found that miR-221-5p and DDR1 had a close relationship with tumor differentiation, TNM staging, and lymph node metastasis (P< 0.05). Patients were divided into high and low expression groups according to the average expression of miR-221-5p in tumor tissues, with 36 cases in high expression group and 33 cases in low expression group. Kaplan-Meier survival curve showed that the overall survival rate of patients in high expression group was obviously higher than that in low expression group. Then, Cox regression analysis was carried out and it was concluded that the expression of miR-221-5p was an independent risk factor for poor prognosis of gastric carcinoma, as shown in Figure 1, Tables 3 and 4.

Table 3 Relationship of miR-221-5p, DDR1 with Pathological Data of Patients

Table 4 Cox Analysis

Figure 1 Expression and clinical significance of miR-221-5p and DDR1 in gastric cancer tissues. (A) expression of miR-221-5p in gastric cancer tissue; (B) expression of DDR1 in gastric cancer tissue; (C) miR-221-5p and DDR1 were negatively correlated in gastric cancer tissues; (D) the overall survival rate of patients with miR-221-5p high expression group was significantly higher than that of patients with miR-221-5p low expression group. ** indicates that P<0.05.

Role of miR-221-5p on Cell Proliferation, Invasion, Migration, and Apoptosis

By detecting the expression of miR-221-5p in SUN-1, MKN-7, MGC-823, SGC-7901, and normal gastric mucosa cell line GES, we found that the expression of miR-221-5p in gastric cancer cells SUN-1, MKN-7, MGC-823, SGC-7901 was significantly lower than that in GES cells. Compared with the cells transfected with miR-NC, the expression of miR-221-5p in cells transfected with miR-221-5p-mimics by MGC-823 and SGC-7901 was obviously increased, and the expression transfected with miR-221-5p-inhibitor was obviously decreased. Detection of cell biological functions of the two groups showed that the proliferation, invasion and migration ability of transfected miR-221-5pmimics cells were significantly decreased, and the apoptosis rate was significantly increased. The proliferation, invasion and migration ability of transfected miR-221-5p-inhibitor cells were significantly increased, and the apoptosis rate was significantly decreased. After transfecting miR-330-3p-mimics, the expression level of N-cadherin, vimentin and Bcl-2 in cells was obviously reduced, E-Cadherin, Caspase-3 and Bax proteins were significantly increased, the expression of N-cadherin, vimentin and Bcl-2 in transfected miR-221-5p-inhibitor cells was significantly increased, and the expression level of E-Cadherin, Caspase-3 and Bax proteins was significantly reduced. Figure 2.

Figure 2 Effect of miR-221-5p on cell proliferation, invasion, migration and apoptosis. (A) miR-221-5p low expression in gastric cancer cells; (B) expression of miR-221-5p after transfection; (C and D) effects of up-regulating miR-221-5p and down-regulating miR-221-5p expression on proliferation of gastric cancer cells; (E) effect of up-regulating miR-221-5p and down-regulating miR-221-5p expression on invasion of gastric cancer cells; (F) effect of up-regulating miR-221-5p and down-regulating miR-221-5p expression on gastric cancer cell migration; (G) effect of up-regulating miR-221-5p and down-regulating miR-221-5p expression on apoptosis of gastric cancer cells; (H) Flow cytometry of apoptosis; (I) effects of up-regulating miR-221-5p and down-regulating miR-221-5p expression on EMT-related proteins N-cadherin, vimentin and E-Cadherin in gastric cancer cells; (J) protein image; (K) effect of up-regulating miR-221-5p and down-regulating miR-221-5p expression on apoptosis-related proteins Bax, Bcl-2 and Caspase-3 in gastric cancer cells; (L) protein image. ** indicates that P<0.05.

Over-Expression of miR-221-5p on Cisplatin Sensitivity of Cells

After treating MGC-823 and SGC-7901 cells with different concentrations of cisplatin for 48h, CCK-8 results showed that under the intervention of cisplatin, compared with miR-NC group, the survival rate in miR-221-5p-mimics group was decreased, and the survival rate in miR-221-5p-inhibitor group was increased, and showed DDP concentration dependent. We found through calculation that the IC50 of cisplatin in miR-221-5p-mimics group cells was significantly reduced compared with miR-NC group, while that in miR-221-5p-inhibitor group was significantly increased. Finally, we selected DDP with a concentration of 5μg/mL to analyze cisplatin-induced apoptosis, and found that over-expression of miR-221-5p accelerated cisplatin-induced apoptosis, and the expression level of Caspase-3 and Bax proteins in cells was obviously increased, and the expression level of Bcl-2 protein was significantly reduced. Figure 3.

Figure 3 Over-expression of miR-221-5p on cisplatin sensitivity of cells. (A and B) effect of up-regulation and down-regulation of miR-221-5p on survival rate of gastric cancer cells under cisplatin intervention; (C) effect of up-regulation and down-regulation of miR-221-5p on apoptosis rate of gastric cancer cells under cisplatin intervention; (D) Flow cytometry of apoptosis; (E) effect of up-regulation and down-regulation of miR-221-5p on apoptosis-related proteins in gastric cancer cells under cisplatin intervention; (F) protein image. ** indicates that P<0.05.

Role of DDR1 Expression on Cell Proliferation, Invasion, Migration and Apoptosis

By detecting the expression level of DDR1 in SUN-1, MKN-7, MGC-823, SGC-7901 and human normal gastric mucosa cell line GES, it was showed that the expression of DDR1 in gastric carcinoma cells SUN-1, MKN-7, MGC-823, SGC-7901 was significantly increased. MGC-823 and SGC-7901 transfected cells with Si-DDR1 significantly decreased the expression of DDR1 compared with cells transfected with Si-NC. Examining the biological functions of the two groups of cells, we found that the expression of DDR1 in cells transfected with Si-DDR1 by MGC-823 and SGC-7901 was obviously decreased than that in cells transfected with Si-NC, and the expression of DDR1 in cells transfected with Sh-DDR1 was significantly higher. Detection of cell biological functions of the two groups showed that the proliferation, invasion and migration of cells transfected with Si-DDR1 were obviously decreased, and the apoptosis rate was significantly increased. The proliferation, invasion and migration ability of transfected Sh-DDR1 cells were significantly increased, and the apoptosis rate was markedly decreased. Compared with Si-NC group, the expression of N-cadherin, vimentin and Bcl-2 in transfected Si-DDR1 cells was significantly reduced, and the expression of E-Cadherin, Caspase-3 and Bax proteins was markedly increased. The expression of N-cadherin, vimentin and Bcl-2 in transfected Sh-DDR1 cells was significantly increased, and the expression of E-Cadherin, Caspase-3 and Bax proteins was significantly reduced. Figure 4.

Figure 4 Effect of DDR1 on cell proliferation, invasion, migration and apoptosis. (A) high expression of DDR1 in gastric cancer cells; (B) expression of DDR1 after transfection; (C and D) effects of up-regulating DDR1 and down-regulating DDR1 expression on proliferation of gastric cancer cells; (E) effect of up-regulating DDR1 and down-regulating DDR1 expression on invasion of gastric cancer cells; (F) effect of up-regulating DDR1 and down-regulating DDR1 expression on gastric cancer cell migration; (G) effect of up-regulating DDR1 and down-regulating DDR1 expression on apoptosis of gastric cancer cells; (H) Flow cytometry of apoptosis; (I) effect of up-regulating DDR1 and down-regulating DDR1 expression on EMT-related proteins N-cadherin, vimentin and E-Cadherin in gastric cancer cells; (J) protein image; (K) effect of up-regulating DDR1 and down-regulating DDR1 expression on apoptosis-related proteins Bax, Bcl-2 and Caspase-3 in gastric cancer cells; (L) protein image. ** indicates that P<0.05.

Inhibition of DDR1 Expression on Cisplatin Sensitivity of Cells

After treating MGC-823 and SGC-7901 cells with different concentrations of cisplatin for 48h, CCK-8 results showed that under the intervention of cisplatin, compared with Si-NC group, the survival rate of cells in Si-DDR1 group was lower, and the survival rate of cells in Sh-DDR1 group was higher, and showed DDP concentration dependent. Through calculation, we found that compared with Si-NC group, the IC50 of cisplatin in cells in Si-DDR1 group was significantly reduced, the cisplatin IC50 in Sh-DDR1 cells increased significantly. We selected DDP with a concentration of 5μg/mL to analyze cisplatin-induced apoptosis. It was found that inhibiting DDR1 expression enhanced cisplatin-induced apoptosis, and the expressions of Caspase-3 and Bax proteins in cells increased markedly, while the expression level of Bcl-2 protein decreased markedly. Figure 5.

Figure 5 Inhibition of DDR1 expression on cisplatin sensitivity of cells. (A and B) effect of DDR1 up-regulation and down-regulation on survival rate of gastric cancer cells under cisplatin intervention; (C) effect of DDR1 up-regulation and down-regulation on apoptosis rate of gastric cancer cells under cisplatin intervention; (D) Flow cytometry of apoptosis; (E) effect of up-regulation and down-regulation of DDR1 on apoptosis-related proteins in gastric cancer cells under cisplatin intervention; (F) protein image. ** indicates that P<0.05.

Identification of miR-221-5p Target Gene

For further verifying the correlation of miR-221-5p with DDR1, firstly, a target binding site was found between DDR1 and miR-221-5p by predicting miR-221-5p downstream target genes through Targetscan7.2. For this reason, we carried out double luciferase activity detection. The results showed that pmirGLO-DDR1-3ʹUT Wt luciferase activity was significantly reduced after miR-221-5p over-expression (P< 0.05), but it had no influence on pmirGLO-DDR1-3ʹUTR Mut luciferase activity (P> 0.05). WB detection found that the expression of DDR1 protein in MGC-823 and SGC-7901 cells was significantly reduced after transfecting miR-221-5p-mimics, and the expression of DDR1 protein in the transfected microRNA-221-5p-inhibitor group was markedly increased (P < 0.05), as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 Identification of miR-221-5p target gene. (A) Double luciferin reporter enzyme; (B) effect of up-regulation and down-regulation of miR-221-5p expression on DDR1 protein; (C) protein image. ** indicates that P<0.05.

Discussion

Among malignant tumors, gastric cancer is a common digestive system tumor, and its main treatment methods are surgery and systemic chemotherapy.13,14 However, since most patients were at late stage when they are diagnosed, they have lost the opportunity of surgery and can only be treated with chemotherapy. Due to the existence of drug resistance to chemotherapy, many patients will suffer from poor or even ineffective treatment, which will further aggravate the disease.15,16

In recent years, the effect of miRNA in tumor has also been explored more deeply. In the process of tumor occurrence and development, miRNA can regulate the biological function of tumor cells by regulating tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes.17,18 In our research, we also proved that miR-221-5p has a role of cancer suppressor in gastric cancer. The relationship between microRNA and chemotherapeutic drug resistance has attracted more and more attention. For example, microRNA-217 can improve the sensitivity of non-small cell lung cancer to cisplatin by targeting KRAS.19 Although the role of miR-221-5p in tumor has also been explored in relevant studies, the role of miR-221-5p in gastric cancer and its influence on cisplatin sensitivity have not been studied and discussed, so we have also explored it. This study found that the expression of miR-221-5p in gastric carcinoma was significantly decreased, and up-regulation of miR-221-5p could effectively restrain the proliferation, invasion and migration of gastric carcinoma and promote the apoptosis. For further understanding the role of miR-221-5p on cisplatin sensitivity, we regulated the expression of miR-221-5p in the case of cisplatin intervention, and observed that the increase of miR-221-5p improves the sensitivity of gastric cancer cells to cisplatin, while the down-regulation of miR-221-5p reduces the sensitivity of gastric cancer cells to cisplatin, which suggested that miR-221-5p may be a potential target for improving the chemotherapy efficacy of gastric cancer patients.

DDR1 is a member of transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase, and many studies20,21 show that when DDR1 signaling pathway is activated by collagen, it can enhance the proliferation and migration of tumor cells, and DDR1 may be a cancer-promoting factor in cancer. Our research found that DDR1 is increased in gastric carcinoma, and silencing DDR1 expression can effectively inhibit the proliferation and invasion of gastric carcinoma and promote the apoptosis of gastric cancer cells. The result is consistent with previous studies.12 Epithelial-interstitial transformation (EMT) is a process in which epithelial cells lose their original polarity, thus obtaining anti-apoptosis, high migration, and invasion ability, and transforming into interstitial cells.22 However, the occurrence of DDR1 and EMT is also closely related. Reports23 once showed that the up-regulation of DDR1 can promote the development of colorectal cancer by reducing the expression of E-Cadherin. We also found that silencing DDR1 expression in gastric cancer cells can effectively accelerate the sensitivity of gastric carcinoma to cisplatin, however, up-regulating the expression of DDR1 reduces the sensitivity of nevertheless to cisplatin. There was no relevant previous research on the sensitivity of DDR1 to cisplatin, so we still do not know how DDR1 affects the sensitivity of cisplatin, and further research is needed. Vimentin, N-cadherin, E-cadherin, as markers for EMT transformation, their abnormal expression is also a feature of EMT.24,25 Previous studies26,27 have reported that abnormal activation of EMT will lead to the conversion of E-cadherin into N-cadherin protein, which will promote the formation of direct adhesion between cells and matrix. Vimentin, as an intermediate filament of matrix, will also lead to the adhesion and metastasis of cells, which is the key to abnormal activation of EMT. And we found that its mechanism may be realized by regulating DDR1 protein. Previous studies28 have also found that DDR1 can enhance invasion, metastasis and EMT of gastric cancer cells, and29 have found that inhibition of DDR1 can prevent peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer. All above results have confirmed our conclusions, but have not explained the upstream mechanism of DDR1. In this study, it was showed that DDR1 and miR-221-5p have targeted sites through the detection of miR-221-5p target genes. Therefore, we found that miR-221-5p can target and adjust the expression of DDR1 through double luciferase report detection, and the expression of DDR1 is significantly reduced after over-expression of miR-221-5p, which indicates that miR-204 can target and adjust the expression of DDR1 to restrain the proliferation, invasion, migration and EMT progress of gastric carcinoma, promote the apoptosis of gastric carcinoma and improve the sensitivity of gastric cancer cells to cisplatin.

To sum up, miR-221-5p over-expression gastric cancer patients have poor prognosis. miR-221-5p over-expression can inhibit proliferation, invasion, metastasis and EMT of gastric carcinoma by mediating DDR1, promote apoptosis and improve cisplatin sensitivity. However, there are still some deficiencies in this study. First of all, we have not carried out nude mouse tumorigenesis experiment, so it is not clear whether miR-221-5p has influence on tumor size after cisplatin intervention in nude mouse. Secondly, this study has not detected the DDR1 signal pathway, only detected the expression of DDR1, and the specific mechanism of action is needed to be further verified. Therefore, we hope to carry out more basic experiments in future research to address our research deficiencies.

Conclusion

This study initially proved that miR-221-5p is down-regulated in gastric carcinoma and the low expression of miR-221-5p has a relationship with poor prognosis of gastric cancer patients. Moreover, up-regulation of miR-221-5p can also inhibit the proliferation, invasion, migration and EMT of gastric carcinoma, promote the apoptosis of gastric carcinoma, and improve the sensitivity of gastric cancer cells to cisplatin. These findings can provide an important target direction for gastric carcinoma patients to better improve the efficacy of cisplatin chemotherapy.

Disclosure

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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