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Selective Susceptibility of Transformed T Lymphocytes to Induction of Apoptosis by PSC 833, an Inhibitor of P-Glycoprotein

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P-glycoprotein is a cellular efflux pump. The P-glycoprotein inhibitor PSC 833 causes apoptosis of cancer cells and induces a rise in the intracellular levels of ceramide. Our aims were to determine whether a cause and effect relationship exists between these two actions of PSC 833, and to assess whether the PSC 833-induced apoptosis is restricted to transformed cells. Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry and radioactive quantitation of DNA fragmentation. PSC 833 induced apoptosis in the human T leukemia cell lines: Molt-4 and Jurkat. Analysis of the apoptosis in Molt-4 and Jurkat cells revealed that PSC 833 induced a rise in the cellular ceramide levels (as measured by the DG kinase assay). PSC 833-induced apoptosis was significantly reduced by specific inhibitors of ceramide de novo synthesis (i.e., fumonisin B1 and L-cycloserine). On the other hand, PSC 833 did not induce apoptosis in normal peripheral blood T cells regardless of whether these cells were quiescent, activated, or proliferating. Our results suggest that PSC 833 induces apoptotic death in human transformed T lymphocytes through an increase in ceramide de novo synthesis. In addition, normal lymphocytes are not susceptible to induction of apoptosis by PSC 833. This difference between normal lymphocytes and leukemia cells presents a potential target for chemotherapy.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Key words: P-glycoprotein; Lymphoma; T

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center, Tuxedo, NY 10987 2: †Department of Human Microbiology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 69978, Israel 3: ‡Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Summit, NJ 07901

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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  • Formerly: Oncology Research Incorporating Anti-Cancer Drug Design
    Oncology Research Featuring Preclinical and Clincal Cancer Therapeutics publishes research of the highest quality that contributes to an understanding of cancer in areas of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, biology, endocrinology, and immunology, as well as studies on the mechanism of action of carcinogens and therapeutic agents, reports dealing with cancer prevention and epidemiology, and clinical trials delineating effective new therapeutic regimens.

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