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Colorectal cancer invasiveness in vitro: Predominant contribution of neonatal Nav1.5 under normoxia and hypoxia

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Journal of Cellular Physiology

Published online on


--- - |2- Abstract Functional expression of voltage‐gated Na+ channels (VGSCs) occurs in human carcinomas and promotes invasiveness in vitro and metastasis in vivo. Both neonatal and adult forms of Nav1.5 (nNav1.5 and aNav1.5, respectively) have been reported to be expressed at messenger RNA (mRNA) level in colorectal cancer (CRCa) cells. Here, three CRCa cell lines (HT29, HCT116 and SW620) were studied and found to express nNav1.5 mRNA and protein. In SW620 cells, adopted as a model, effects of gene silencing (by several small interfering RNAs [siRNAs]) selectively targeting nNav1.5 or aNav1.5 were determined on (a) channel activity and (b) invasiveness in vitro. Silencing nNav1.5 made the currents more “adult‐like” and suppressed invasion by up to 73%. Importantly, subsequent application of the highly specific, general VGSC blocker, tetrodotoxin (TTX), had no further effect. Conversely, silencing aNav1.5 made the currents more “neonatal‐like” but suppressed invasion by only 17% and TTX still induced a significant effect. Hypoxia increased invasiveness and this was also blocked completely by siRNA targeting nNav1.5. The effect of hypoxia was suppressed dose dependently by ranolazine, but its effect was lost in cells pretreated with nNav1.5‐siRNA. We conclude that (a) functional nNav1.5 expression is common to human CRCa cells, (b) hypoxia increases the invasiveness of SW620 cells, (c) the VGSC‐dependent invasiveness is driven predominantly by nNav1.5 under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions and (d) the hypoxia‐induced increase in invasiveness is likely to be mediated by the persistent current component of nNav1.5. - Journal of Cellular Physiology, EarlyView.