Mitochondrial structural alterations in ovarian cancer patient-derived xenografts resistant to cisplatin

Francesca Ricci, Alessandro Corbelli, Roberta Affatato, Rosaria Chilà, Michela Chiappa, Laura Brunelli, Robert Fruscio, Roberta Pastorelli, Fabio Fiordaliso, Giovanna Damia

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Mitochondria have attracted attention in cancer research as organelles associated with tumor development and response to therapy. We recently reported acquisition of resistance to cisplatin (DDP) associated with a metabolic rewiring in ovarian cancer patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) models. DDP-resistant PDXs models were obtained mimicking the clinical setting, treating mice bearing sensitive-DDP tumors with multiple cycles of DDP until the development of resistance. To further characterize the metabolic rewiring, the present study focused on tumor mitochondria. We analysed by transmission electron microscopy the mitochondria structure in two models of DDP-resistant and the corresponding DDP-sensitive PDXs and evaluated tumor mDNA content, the expression of genes and proteins involved in mitochondria functionality, and mitochondria fitness-related processes, such as autophagy. We observed a decrease in the number of mitochondria paralleled by an increased volume in DDP-resistant versus DDP-sensitive PDXs. DDP-resistant PDXs presented a higher percentage of damaged mitochondria, in particular of type 2 (concave-shape), and type 3 (cristolysis) damage. We found no difference in the mDNA content, and the expression of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis was similar between the sensitive and resistant PDXs. An upregulation of some genes involved in mitochondrial fitness in DDP-R versus DDP-S PDXs was observed. At protein level, no difference in the expression of proteins involved in mitochondrial function and biogenesis, and in autophagy/mitophagy was found. We here reported that the acquisition of DDP resistance is associated with morphological alterations in mitochondria, even if we couldn't find any dysregulation in the studied genes/proteins that could explain the observed differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2303-2311
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Cancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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