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Staurosporine-induced apoptosis in Chang liver cells is associated with down-regulation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL

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A potent inhibitor of serine/threonine kinases, staurosporine exerts antiproliferative and apoptotic effects in many cancer cells, although the exact mechanism of its action is still unclear. This study examines the effects of staurosporine on Chang liver cells, an immortalized non-tumor cell line, in comparison with those caused in HuH-6 and HepG2 cells, two human hepatoma cell lines. Our results provide evidence that staurosporine promotes apoptosis in Chang liver cells as observed by flow cytometric analysis and acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining. The effect appeared already after 8 h of treatment and increased with treatment time and dose. After 48 h of exposure to 200 nM staurosporine clear apoptotic signs were observed in about 50% of the cells. Western blotting analysis showed that in Chang liver cells staurosporine induced a marked decrease in the levels of the antiapoptotic factors Bcl-2 (−75%) and Bcl-XL (−50%). Staurosporine also caused loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, release of cytochrome c from mitochondria and activation of caspase-3. The involvement of caspases in staurosporine-induced cell death was also suggested by the observation that the addition of z-VAD-fmk, a general inhibitor of caspases, suppressed apoptosis. In HuH-6 and HepG2 cells treatment with staurosporine induced the arrest of cells in G2/M phase of cell cycle. This effect was not modified by z-VAD-fmk and was not accompanied by the appearance of biochemical signs of apoptosis. We conclude that staurosporine induced apoptosis in Chang liver cells by a mitochondria-caspase-dependent pathway which was closely correlated with a decrease in Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL levels, while in HuH-6 and HepG2 hepatoma cells the drug caused only an antiproliferative effect.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare e dello Sviluppo, Sezione di Biochimica, Università di Palermo, Policlinico, Palermo, Italy

Publication date: April 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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