Induction of apoptosis in human leukemic cells by the ether lipid 1-octadecyl-2-methyl-rac-glycero-3-phosphocholine. A possible basis for its selective action

L. Diomede, F. Colotta, B. Piovani, F. Re, E. J. Modest, M. Salmona

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Ether-linked glycerophospholipids (ether lipids, EL) are membrane-interactive drugs selectively cytotoxic toward neoplastic cells compared with normal cells. No conclusive explanation has yet been provided for this selectivity. We now present data indicating that the drug 1-octadecyl-2-methyl-rac-glycero-3-phosphocholine (ET-18-OMe) induces apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in human leukemic cells. Apoptotic death is induced selectively by ET-18-OMe in HL60 cells, which are sensitive to the drug's cytotoxic action, but not in the resistant K562 cell line. Enrichment of HL60 cells with cholesterol (HL60-CHOL cells) significantly protects the cells from the cytotoxic effect and from the induction of apoptosis by ET-18-OMe; the percent age of fragmented DNA is only 17% for HL60-CHOL, compared with 50% in native HL60 cells after exposure to 20 μm ET-18-OMe for 24hr. Our study provides a possible explanation for differences in sensitivity to EL among different cell types and illustrates an indirect interaction of EL with cellular DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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