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Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a necessary process in the conversion of benign tumor to aggressive and highly invasive cancer. Dysregulation of the IGF system and impaired metabolic regulation have been implicated in the progression of prostate cancer. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects require further investigation. We used normal prostate epithelial cells PNT2 and DU145 prostate cancer cells. Western immunoblotting was used to determine changes in protein abundance. Trypan blue dye exclusion assay was employed to assess cell proliferation and transwell migration assays to assess cells migration. Under normal glucose conditions, IGF-I inhibited EMT in PNT2 cells demonstrated by an upregulation in the epithelial marker E-cadherin together with loss of mesenchymal markers; vimentin and fibronectin. In contrast to PNT2 cells, IGF-I induced EMT in DU145 cells, as shown by the reduction of E-cadherin level and upregulation of vimentin and fibronectin. We observed that exposure to hyperglycaemia (25mM glucose concentration) alone induced EMT in both PNT2 and DU145 cells. The changes in EMT markers induced by hyperglycaemia (loss of epithelial marker and increase of mesenchymal markers) associated with increased cell proliferation and migration. In high glucose conditions, IGF-I was still able to inhibit EMT in PNT2 cells, whereas in DU145 cancer cells, the addition of IGF-I could not enhance EMT any further. In conclusion, IGF-I and hyperglycaemia play important roles in promoting prostate cancer cell progression through the regulation of EMT programme.
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