Benznidazole modulates cell proliferation in acute leukemia cells

Karina Lucrecia Calvo, María Teresa Ronco, Nélida Inés Noguera, Fabiana García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: We have previously reported that benznidazole (BZL), known for its trypanocidal action, has anti-proliferative activity against different cell lines like HeLa and Raw 264.7 among others. At the moment, it has not been reported if the anti-proliferative effect of BZL is similar for non-adherent hematopoietic cells like was reported for adherent cancer cell lines. Objective: We aimed to investigate the efficacy of BZL on the growth of the leukemic cell lines THP-1 and OCI/AML3. Materials and methods: We evaluated cell proliferation by [H]-thymidine incorporation and MTT reduction as well as cell death by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity. We assessed apoptosis by flow cytometry for detection of annexin V-positive and propidium iodide-negative cells, along with nuclear morphology by diamidino-2-phenolindole (DAPI) staining. Western blot studies were performed to evaluate changes in cell cycle proteins in BZL-treated cells. Results: BZL significantly reduced proliferation of both cell lines without inducing cell death. Likewise it produced no significant differences in apoptosis between treated cells and controls. In addition, flow cytometry analysis indicated that BZL caused a larger number of THP-1 cells in G0/G1 phase and a smaller number of cells in S phase than controls. This was accompanied with an increase in the expression of the CDK inhibitor p27 and of cyclin D1, with no significant differences in the protein levels of CDK1, CDK2, CDK4, cyclins E, A and B as compared to controls. Conclusion: BZL inhibits the proliferation of leukemic non-adherent cells by controlling cell cycle at G0/G1 cell phase through up-regulation of p27.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-486
Number of pages9
JournalImmunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • AML cell lines
  • Benznidazole
  • Cell cycle
  • Cytotoxicity
  • P27

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology


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