Interleukin-8 (IL-8) over-production and autocrine cell activation are key factors in monomethylarsonous acid [MMA(III)]-induced malignant transformation of urothelial cells

C. Escudero-Lourdes, T. Wu, J. M. Camarillo, A. J. Gandolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The association between chronic human exposure to arsenicals and bladder cancer development is well recognized; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been fully determined. We propose that inflammatory responses can play a pathogenic role in arsenic-related bladder carcinogenesis. In previous studies, it was demonstrated that chronic exposure to 50. nM monomethylarsenous acid [MMA(III)] leads to malignant transformation of an immortalized model of urothelial cells (UROtsa), with only 3. mo of exposure necessary to trigger the transformation-related changes. In the three-month window of exposure, the cells over-expressed pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8), consistent with the sustained activation of NFKβ and AP1/c-jun, ERK2, and STAT3. IL-8 was over-expressed within hours after exposure to MMA(III), and sustained over-expression was observed during chronic exposure. In this study, we profiled IL-8 expression in UROtsa cells exposed to 50. nM MMA(III) for 1 to 5. mo. IL-8 expression was increased mainly in cells after 3 mo MMA(III) exposure, and its production was also found increased in tumors derived from these cells after heterotransplantation in SCID mice. UROtsa cells do express both receptors, CXCR1 and CXCR2, suggesting that autocrine cell activation could be important in cell transformation. Supporting this observation and consistent with IL-8 over-expression, CXCR1 internalization was significantly increased after three months of exposure to MMA(III). The expression of MMP-9, cyclin D1, bcl-2, and VGEF was significantly increased in cells exposed to MMA(III) for 3. mo, but these mitogen-activated kinases were significantly decreased after IL-8 gene silencing, together with a decrease in cell proliferation rate and in anchorage-independent colony formation. These results suggest a relevant role of IL-8 in MMA(III)-induced UROtsa cell transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Arsenic
  • Bladder cancer
  • CXCL8
  • CXCR1
  • IL-8,
  • Inflammation
  • Monomethylarsonous acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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