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Cytotoxicity and Cell Cycle Effects of Novel Indolo[2,3-b]quinoline Derivatives

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Cellular effects of novel indolo[2,3-b]quinoline derivatives were studied. These compounds are synthetic analogs of plant alkaloid neocryptolepine (5-methyl-5H-indolo[2,3-b]quinoline) present in extracts from Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. They are traditionally used in natural medicine in Central and West Africa. Previous molecular and computational studies indicated that these compounds were DNA intercalators and inhibitors of topoisomerase II. We have extended our studies on their mode of action to the cellular level. Past experiments have shown that these compounds were active in vitro against cell lines derived from solid tumors, so for the present studies we selected leukemic cell lines. Jurkat acute T cell, CCRF-CEM T lymphoblastoid, THP-1 acute monocytic, HL-60 acute promyelocytic leukemias, and HL-60/MX2 subline with reduced expression of topoisomerase II were used. We evaluated the cytotoxicity and cell cycle effects of the indolo[2,3-b]quinoline compounds. We also tested if these compounds were able to induce apoptosis in the cells. Our studies revealed that novel indolo[2,3-b]quinoline derivatives were more cytotoxic to all cell lines than etoposide (used as a reference topoisomerase II inhibitor), and that their cytotoxicity depended on the substituents introduced to the indolo[2,3-b]quinoline core. Surprisingly, our studies have shown that HL-60/MX2 cell line and also THP-1 cell line, resistant to etoposide, were susceptible to methyl- and methoxy-substituted indolo[2,3-b]quinoline derivatives. In parallel to the evaluation of cytotoxicity we studied cell cycle effects of these compounds. Treatment of HL-60 cells with etoposide in subcytotoxic concentrations resulted in a massive accumulation of the cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. When we used subcytotoxic concentrations of our novel indolo[2,3-b]quinoline derivatives the cell cycle progression of HL-60 cells was not affected. Moreover, the cell cycle of HL-60/MX2 cells was not influenced by any of the compounds studied. Indolo[2,3-b]quinoline derivatives induced apoptosis in HL-60 and HL-60/MX2 cells, but only in concentrations close to IC50 determined in cytotoxic assays. Etoposide induced apoptosis in HL-60 parental cell line, but in a very broad range of concentrations. Our results suggest that topoisomerase II may not represent the main cellular target for novel indolo[2,3-b]quinoline derivatives. They show that the cells resistant to topoisomerase II poison, etoposide, were still sensitive to our compounds.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cell cycle; Cytotoxicity; Etoposide; Indoloquinolines; Topoisomerase II

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Rudolf Weigl St. 12, Wrocław, Poland 2: †Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Ludwik Rydygier St. 8, Warszawa, Poland 3: ‡Institute of Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Wrocław Technical University, Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego 27, Wrocław, Poland

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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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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