Muscle catabolism in cancer and its attenuation by eicosapentaenoic acid
This work examines skeletal muscle catabolism in cancer and its attenuation by Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). In vivo studies in mice bearing a cachexia inducing murine colon adenocarcinoma - MAC16, demonstrated an elevation in the gastrocnemius muscle in the activity and expression of regulatory components of the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway. This was accompanied by an accelerated loss of muscle tissue correlating with an increase in overall weight loss, all of which were attenuated by prior daily dosing with EPA. Recently a proteolysis inducing factor (PIF) has been isolated from the MAC16 tumour, and from the serum and urine of cachectic cancer patients. Previous studies have shown that PIF induces protein degradation in vitro, and that this is possibly mediated through 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE), a metabolite of the n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid- arachidonate. Employing the murine myoblast cell line C2C12, it was shown that both PIF and 15-HETE increased protein degradation and expression of proteasome subunits, processes which were again attenuated by prior incubation in EPA. Similarly, in NMRI mice which had been fasted for 24hours, EPA and the lipoxygenase inhibitor CV-6504 (but not structurally related fatty acids) inhibited skeletal muscle proteolysis and expression of various proteasome subunits, showing that firstly, EPA may be anti-cachexic partly through its ability to influence 15-HETE production; and secondly that the effect is specific for EPA as other fatty acids had no effect. Previous studies have suggested the involvement of the signal transduction family NFKB in response to PIF in the liver. It has been demonstrated here that both PIF and 15-HETE increased nuclear translocation of NFKB in the skeletal muscle of tumour bearing mice and that EPA inhibited this process by its ability to prevent the degradation of the NFKB inhibitor protein IKB. When an NFKB inhibitor was added to C2C12 myotubes, prior to the addition of PIF, proteasome activity and protein degradation was inhibited, showing that NFKB is responsible for the increased proteasome activity and muscle catabolism induced by PIF. Taken together this work suggests that 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid is the intracellular mediator for PIF induced protein degradation in skeletal muscle and that elevated muscle catabolism is accomplished through an increased functioning of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, a process possibly mediated through an NFKB dependent mechanism. The anticachectic (and possibly the anti-tumourigenic) effects of EPA appear to be achieved in part by its ability to inhibit the degradation of IKB and possibly by its ability to interfere with 15-HETE production.