Reactive oxygen species production has a critical role in hypoxia-induced Stat3 activation and angiogenesis in human glioblastoma

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Glioblastoma is the most aggressive primary brain tumor with hypoxia-associated morphologic features including pseudopalisading necrosis and endothelial hyperplasia. It has been known that hypoxia can activate signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) and subsequently induce angiogenesis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying hypoxia-induced Stat3 activation has not been defined. In this study, we explored the possible implication of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in hypoxia-driven Stat3 activation in human glioblastoma. We found that hypoxic stress increased ROS production as well as Stat3 activation and that ROS inhibitors (diphenyleneiodonium, rotenone and myxothiazol) and an antioxidant (N-acetyl-l-cysteine) blocked Stat3 activation under hypoxic conditions. To determine a major route of ROS production, we tested whether nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase 4 (Nox4) is involved in hypoxia-induced ROS production. Nox4 expression was found to be increased at both mRNA and protein levels in hypoxic glioblastoma cells. In addition, siRNA-mediated knockdown of Nox4 expression abolished hypoxia induced Stat3 activation and vascular endothelial growth factor expression, which is associated with tumor cells’ ability to trigger tube formation of endothelial cells in vitro. Our findings indicate that elevated ROS production plays a crucial role for Stat3 activation and angiogenesis in hypoxic glioblastoma cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 22



  • Angiogenesis
  • Hypoxia
  • NADPH oxidase 4
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Neurology

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