Paediatrics Publications

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DNA hypomethylation is an important epigenetic modification found to occur in many different cancer types, leading to the upregulation of previously silenced genes and loss of genomic stability. We previously demonstrated that hypoxia and hypoglycaemia (ischemia), two common micro-environmental changes in solid tumours, decrease DNA methylation through the downregulation of DNMTs in human colorectal cancer cells. Here, we utilized a genome-wide cross-platform approach to identify genes hypomethylated and upregulated by ischemia. Following exposure to hypoxia or hypoglycaemia, methylated DNA from human colorectal cancer cells (HCT116) was immunoprecipitated and analysed with an Affymetrix promoter array. Additionally, RNA was isolated and analysed in parallel with an Affymetrix expression array. Ingenuity pathway analysis software revealed that a significant proportion of the genes hypomethylated and upregulated were involved in cellular movement, including PLAUR and CYR61. A Matrigel invasion assay revealed that indeed HCT116 cells grown in hypoxic or hypoglycaemic conditions have increased mobility capabilities. Confirmation of upregulated expression of cellular movement genes was performed with qPCR. The correlation between ischemia and metastasis is well established in cancer progression, but the molecular mechanisms responsible for this common observation have not been clearly identified. Our novel data suggests that hypoxia and hypoglycaemia may be driving changes in DNA methylation through downregulation of DNMTs. This is the first report to our knowledge that provides an explanation for the increased metastatic potential seen in ischemic cells; i.e. that ischemia could be driving DNA hypomethylation and increasing expression of cellular movement genes. © 2014 Skowronski et al.