Int J Biol Sci 2018; 14(10):1277-1290. doi:10.7150/ijbs.27055

Research Paper

Fluid Shear Stress Promotes Autophagy in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells

Xiaoli Wang, Yingying Zhang, Tang Feng, Guanyue Su, Jia He, Wenbo Gao, Yang Shen, Xiaoheng Liu

Institute of Biomedical Engineering, West China School of Basic Medical Sciences & Forensic Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China


The autophagy in cancer cells is recognized as an essential hallmark of tumors, which can enhance cancer cell migration and invasion, and result in high incidence of tumor metastasis. The fluid shear stress (FSS) in tumor mechanical microenvironment plays a pivotal role in mediating the behaviors and functions of cells. In this study, the hepatocellular carcinoma cells were exposed to 1.4 dyn/cm2 FSS to explore whether FSS could induce autophagy. The results of TEM, Ad-mCherry-GFP labeled LC3B, and mRNA and protein expression of autophagy markers confirmed that FSS could induce autophagy in a time-dependent manner. Additionally, the inhibition of autophagy significantly downregulated the expression of PI3K, FAK and Rho GTPases, and attenuated the ability of cell migration, suggesting that FSS-induced autophagy depended on PI3K- FAK-Rho GTPases pathway. This study elucidated the role of FSS in inducing autophagy during tumor progression, which has emerged as a promising clinical strategy for cancer.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, Tumor microenvironment, Fluid shear stress, Autophagy, Cell migration.

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How to cite this article:
Wang X, Zhang Y, Feng T, Su G, He J, Gao W, Shen Y, Liu X. Fluid Shear Stress Promotes Autophagy in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells. Int J Biol Sci 2018; 14(10):1277-1290. doi:10.7150/ijbs.27055. Available from