Silencing of B7-H4 suppresses the tumorigenicity of the MGC-803 human gastric cancer cell line and promotes cell apoptosis via the mitochondrial signaling pathway
- Donghui Zhou
- Yong Zhou
- Chao Li
- Lina Yang
Published online on: February 13, 2018
B7-H4 is a transmembrane protein which is a member of the B7 superfamily. It is overexpressed in various types of cancer, including gastric cancer. However, the effects of B7-H4 on the tumorigenicity of gastric cancer and the underlying mechanisms have not yet been fully explored. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the effects of B7-H4 on the tumorigenicity of gastric cancer cells and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. For this purpose, B7-H4 expression in gastric cancer tissues was detected by immunohistochemical staining. The effects of B7-H4 on the biological behavior of the MGC-803 human gastric cancer cell line were examined by Cell Counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay, cell cycle analysis, wound healing assay, Annexin V/propidium iodide staining and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay. Moreover, the expression levels of apoptotic markers, such as cleaved caspase‑3, cleaved caspase‑9, Bcl-2 and Bax were examined by western blot analysis. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that a high expression of B7-H4 was found in about 41.8% of tissues obtained from patients with gastric cancer. Comparative analysis revealed that B7-H4 expression significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis and the TNM stage. The results of CCK-8 assay, cell cycle analysis, wound healing assay, Annexin V/propidium iodide staining assay and TUNEL assay all demonstrated that the silencing of B7-H4 by small interfering RNA decreased cell proliferation, suppressed cell motility, and induced cell cycle arrest and the apoptosis of MGC-803 human gastric cancer cells. Furthermore, the results of western blot analysis indicated that the downregulation of B7-H4 induced the apoptosis of the MGC-803 cells via the mitochondrial signaling pathway through the activation of caspase‑3 and caspase‑9, and by altering the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in a manner that favored apoptosis. Based on the findings on human gastric cancer cell line MGC-803, the findings of this study suggested that B7-H4 may have the potential to be a valuable prognostic marker and a target for individualized therapies for gastric cancer. However, further investigations are required in order to confirm our findings on a larger scale.