Environmental carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) is a representative compound of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). BaP is strongly associated with prostate carcinogenesis. However, the molecular mechanism of BaP in development of prostate carcinoma remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect and mechanism of BaP on the development in prostate cancer. PC-3 cells were exposed to different concentrations of BaP for 24, 48, 72 h, respectively. We analyzed the effect of BaP on PC-3 cell viability, cell cycle, DNA strand breaks, mutagenic activity, and migration. The expression of associated regulatory genes and the effect of JAK2/STAT3 signaling were also measured to explore the relationships among BaP metabolism, the JAK2/STAT3 pathway and proliferative activity in PC-3 cells. We observed significant effects on proliferation, DNA strand breaks and mutagenic activity after BaP exposure in PC-3 cells, and inhibitors of CYP1 and the AhR transcription factor α -naphthoflavone (ANF) and CH223191 treatment clearly reduced both cell survival and mutagenesis associated with BaP exposure. Reduction in G0-G1 phase population and elevation in S phase were observed after BaP exposure. Migratory cells for PC-3 were significantly increased. The results were further confirmed by the expression of mRNA levels in the significant increments of Snail, Slug, MMP-9, CYP1A1, CYP1B1, CycilnD1, CDK4 and significant reduction of E-cadherin. Significant enhancements were found in the expression of JAK2, STAT3 after BaP treatment. Additionally, activator IL-6 significantly enhanced the effect of BaP on cell survival, mutagenic activity, Cyclin D1, CDK4, Snail, and JAK2/STAT3 expression in PC-3 cells. Significant reductions in cell survival, mutagenic activity, Cyclin D1, CDK4, Snail, and JAK2/STAT3 expression were found after inhibitor AG490, ANF and CHJ223191 treatment. These findings reveal that BaP enhances the proliferative and mutagenic activity via JAK2-STAT3 pathway in PC-3 cells, and provide the additional evidence to understand the crucial role of BaP in prostate cancer carcinogenesis.
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