Programmed cell death in 2',3'-dideoxycytidine-resistant human monoblastoid U937 cells

Antonella Antonelli, Francesca Luchetti, Aurora Cerasi, Marta Columbaro, Stefano Papa, Elisabetta Falcieri, Mauro Magnani

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2',3'-Dideoxycytidine is a powerful in vitro inhibitor of human immunodeficiency virus and is currently used in the treatment of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. A long-term exposure of U937 monoblastoid cells to dideoxycytidine induces the selection of drug-resistant cells (U937-R). In previous studies, we investigated some important biochemical properties and functional activities, such as basal respiration, protein kinase C activity, superoxide anion release, and the level of reduced glutathione, which were found to be higher in the drug-resistant cell line, compared to the parental one. In the present study, we evaluated the response of the two cell lines to the induction of apoptosis by treatment with staurosporine and okadaic acid, which interfere with the protein kinase and phosphatase pathways, respectively. Moreover, knowing that GSH plays a crucial role in the regulation of nitric oxide-dependent apoptosis, U937-R and parental lines have been treated with SIN-1, which is known to generate significant amounts of O2 and nitric oxide. Resistant and parental cells have been analysed by light and electron microscopy and agarose gel electrophoresis of isolated DNA has been performed. The obtained results demonstrate a different susceptibility of U937-R cell line to apoptosis induced with the three triggers. U937-R cells show more advanced apoptotic features if compared with parental cells, after staurosporine treatment. Differently, the okadaic acid does not induce a different behaviour in the two models. On the contrary, the agent SIN-1 determines an increased number of apoptotic cells in the U937 line. The results suggest that a higher level of protein kinase C and glutathione could prevent programmed cell death in U937-R.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalHistochemical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology

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