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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 162094, 9 pages
Research Article

Zinc Protoporphyrin Upregulates Heme Oxygenase-1 in PC-3 Cells via the Stress Response Pathway

ORTD, Albert Einstein Medical Center, 5501 Old York Road, Korman 214, Philadelphia, PA 19141-3098, USA

Received 28 August 2012; Revised 4 January 2013; Accepted 8 January 2013

Academic Editor: Afshin Samali

Copyright © 2013 Simon C. M. Kwok. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Zinc protoporphyrin IX (ZnPP), a naturally occurring molecule formed in iron deficiency or lead poisoning, is a potent competitive inhibitor of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). It also regulates expression of HO-1 at the transcriptional level. However, the effect of ZnPP on HO-1 expression is controversial. It was shown to induce HO-1 expression in some cells, but suppress it in others. The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of ZnPP on HO-1 expression in prostate cancer PC-3 cells. Incubation of PC-3 cells with 10 μM ZnPP for 4 h showed only a slight induction of HO-1 mRNA and protein, but the induction was high after 16 h and was maintained through 48 h of incubation. Of all the known responsive elements in the HO-1 promoter, ZnPP activated mainly the stress response elements. Of the various protein kinase inhibitors and antioxidant tested, only Ro 31-8220 abrogated ZnPP-induced HO-1 expression, suggesting that activation of HO-1 gene by ZnPP may involve protein kinase C (PKC). The involvement of PKC α, β, δ, η, θ, and ζ isoforms was ruled out by the use of specific inhibitors. The isoform of PKC involved and participation of other transcription factors remain to be studied.