Objectives: It was the aim of this study to explore the effects of 3-(5′-hydroxymethyl-2′-furyl)-l-benzyl indazole (YC-1) on transcription activity, cell proliferation and apoptosis of hypoxic human bladder transitional carcinoma cells (BTCC), mediated by hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α). Methods: BTCC cell line T24 cells were incubated under normoxic or hypoxic conditions, adding different doses of YC-1. The protein expression of HIF-1α and HIF-1α-mediated genes was detected by Western blotting. RT-PCR was used to detect HIF-1α mRNA expression. Cell proliferation, apoptosis and migration activity were determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, flow cytometry and transwell migration assay. The cells were pretreated by two ERK/p38 MAPK pathway-specific inhibitors, PD98059 or SB203580, and then incubated with YC-1 treatment under hypoxic condition. HIF-1α protein expression was detected by Western blotting. Results: Hypoxic T24 cells expressed a higher level of HIF-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinases-2, B-cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 protein and HIF-1α mRNA compared with normoxic controls, in which the above-mentioned expression was downregulated by YC-1 in a dose-dependent manner. Cell proliferation and migration activity were inhibited while apoptosis was induced by YC-1 under hypoxic condition. Moreover, YC-1-downregulated HIF-1α expression was reversed by PD98059 and SB203580, respectively. Conclusions: YC-1 inhibits HIF-1α and HIF-1α-mediated gene expression, cell proliferation and migration activity and induces apoptosis in hypoxic BTCC. The ERK/p38 MAPK pathway may be involved in YC-1-mediated inhibition of HIF-1α.
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