These years, cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) has been proposed as a novel promising anti-cancer treatment modality.
In this study, the team found that the antitumor effect of CAP was tightly associated with the expression of a special protein (GSDME) which brought an increase in sensitivity of CAP treatment.
The unexpected discovery interested the scientists. So they tried to find why the expression of GSDME could influence the sensitivity to CAP treatment.
Through their work, they found that CAP could induce the reactive oxygen species (ROS), the major effector in CAP-induced to kill tumor cells.
Sequentially, CAP-induced ROS activated the JNK/cytochrome c/caspase-9/caspase-3 pathway, and then cleaved GSDME. The cleaved GSDME (GSDME-N) has been found to form pores in the plasma membrane, which caused membrane disruption and the lytic pyroptotic cell death.
Moreover, the team then also detected the features of cell pyroptosis after CAP treatment and further confirmed that CAP could induce the GSDME-mediated pyroptosis.
Since pyroptosis occurred more rapidly than apoptosis, CAP-induced pyroptosis might be more efficient at killing cancer cells than apoptosis.
It has been reported that plasma could induce apoptosis and necrosis of tumor cells, whether CAP could induce other cell death patterns remains unknown.
The team this time first reported that CAP effectively induced pyroptosis in Gasdermin E (GSDME) high-expressed tumor cell lines. And this work complemented the understanding of CAP-induced cell death and may provide a plasma therapy strategy for apoptosis resistant tumor.
Since GSDME is expressed in many normal tissues and pyroptosis in normal cells could cause tissue toxicity, CAP provide a kind of local treatment without systemic side effects and might be employed as a more promising tumor treatment via inducing GSDME-mediated pyroptosis.
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