Silencing of augmenter of liver regeneration inhibited cell proliferation and triggered apoptosis in U266 human multiple myeloma cells

Augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR) is a thermostable cytokine that was originally identified to promote the growth of hepatocytes. This study was conducted to explore the expression and function of ALR in multiple myeloma (MM), a common hematologic malignancy. Real-time PCR and western blot analysis were performed to detect the expression of ALR in U266 human MM cells and healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). U266 MM cells were exposed to 20 or 40 μg/mL of recombinant ALR and tested for cell proliferation. Small interfering RNA-mediated silencing of ALR was done to investigate the role of ALR in cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cytokine production. Compared to PBMCs, U266 MM cells exhibited significantly higher levels of ALR at both the mRNA and protein levels. The addition of recombinant ALR protein significantly promoted the proliferation of U266 cells. In contrast, knockdown of ALR led to a significant decline in the viability and proliferation of U266 cells. Annexin-V/PI staining analysis demonstrated that ALR downregulation increased apoptosis in U266 MM cells, compared to control cells (20.1±1.1 vs 9.1±0.3%, P<0.05). Moreover, ALR depletion reduced the Bcl-2 mRNA level by 40% and raised the Bax mRNA level by 2-fold. Additionally, conditioned medium from ALR-depleted U266 cells had significantly lower concentrations of interleukin-6 than control cells (P<0.05). Taken together, ALR contributed to the proliferation and survival of U266 MM cells, and targeting ALR may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of MM.