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Exposure to continuous bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) differentially affects cell cycle progression of human breast and bladder cancer cell lines

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 Incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) during DNA replication is frequently used for cell cycle analysis. The flow cytometric BrdU/Hoechst quenching technique is conducive to high-resolution assessment of cell cycle kinetics, but requires continuous BrdU treatment, which may have cytostatic or cytotoxic effects. Here, we have examined the impact of BrdU on the proliferation of BT474 and SK-BR-3 breast cancer cell lines and compared the observed effects with cell proliferation of RT4 and J82 bladder carcinoma cells, previously described to be sensitive and insensitive to BrdU, respectively. Both uni- and bi-parametric DNA measurements were performed to identify BrdU-induced alterations in the S-phase fraction and in cell cycle progression. An annexinV/propidium iodide (PI) assay was used to identify potential induction of apoptosis by BrdU. Proliferative activity in BT474, SK-BR-3, and RT4 cultures was reduced in different cell cycle phases due to continuous treatment with 60, 5.0, and 3.5 µmBrdU. This effect, which was not found in J82 cultures, was dependent on exposure time (96 versus 48 h) and was also dose-dependent for RT4 and SK-BR-3. BrdU application does not induce apoptosis or necrosis as revealed with the annexin V/PI assay. We concluded that continuous BrdU treatment did not affect cell viability, but essentially alters cell cycle progression in three out of four cell lines tested. Cell-type specific validation of the feasibility of the powerful BrdU/Hoechst quenching technique is required and recommended.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Pathology, University of Regensburg, Germany, and 2: Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Penzberg, Germany

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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