Fatty acyl-CoAs inhibit retinoic acid-induced apoptosis in Hep3B cells

Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, Yan Cai, Catherine Cowan, Thomas R. Magee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Retinoic acid (RA) induces apoptosis in Hep3B human hepatoma cells. 9-Cis-RA (c-RA) had a similar effect as all-trans-RA (t-RA) in inducing cell death in Hep3B cells. RA-induced Hep3B-cell death was associated with inhibited expression of the hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF-4) gene. Palmitoyl-CoA ((C16:0)-CoA), the reported HNF-4 ligand, prevented RA-induced apoptosis. The effect of (C16:0)-CoA was specific, since palmitic acid and co-enzyme A had no effect in preventing RA-induced apoptosis. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) also prevented RA-induced apoptosis. However, in contrast to BSA, which induced cell growth, (C16:0)-CoA alone had no effect on cell growth. Investigating the possible role of HNF-4 in apoptosis, the reported HNF-4 antagonist (C18:0)-CoA was employed, and it also prevented RA-induced apoptosis. By transient transfection, overexpression of HNF-4 did not prevent RA-induced apoptosis. The induction and prevention of apoptosis caused by RA and (C16:0)-CoA were associated, respectively with the induction and inhibition of the expression of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), which is known to play a role in apoptosis. Furthermore, RA and (C16:0)-CoA can regulate AP-1, which is a key regulator of the TGFβ gene. Our data indicate that fatty acyl-CoAs can prevent RA-induced apoptosis and that TGFβ, rather than HNF-4, may play a role in these regulatory processes. Our data also suggest that (C16:0)-CoA and (C18:0)-CoA are not the agonist and antagonist for HNF4, respectively in the Hep3B cell system. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2000


  • Apoptosis
  • Fatty acyl-CoA
  • Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4
  • Hepatoma
  • Retinoic acid
  • Transforming growth factor β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology


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