The polyamine analogue N1,N11-diethylnorspermine can induce chondrocyte apoptosis independently of its ability to alter metabolism and levels of natural polyamines

Ivana Stanic, Annalisa Facchini, Rosa Maria Borzì, Claudio Stefanelli, Flavio Flamigni

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We have been investigating the effects of natural polyamines and polyamine analogues on the survival and apoptosis of chondrocytes, which are cells critical for cartilage integrity. Treatment of human C-28/I2 chondrocytes with N1,N11-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM), a polyamine analogue with clinical relevance as anexperimental anticancer agent, rapidly induced spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) and spermine oxidase (SMO), key enzymesofpolyamine catabolism and down-regulated ornithine decarboxylase, thefirst enzyme of polyamine biosynthesis, thus depleting all main polyamines within 24 h. The treatment with DENSPM did not provoke cell death and caspase activation when given alone for 24 h, but caused a caspase-3 and -9 dependent apoptosis in chondrocytes further exposed to cycloheximide (CHX). In other cellular models, enhanced polyamine catabolism or polyamine depletion has been implicated as mechanisms involvedinDENSPM-related apoptosis. However, the simultaneous additionof DENSPM and CHX rapidly increased caspase activity in C-28/I2 cells in the absence of SSAT and SMO induction or significant reduction of polyamine levels. Moreover, caspase activation induced by DENSPM plus CHX was not prevented by a N1-acetylpolyamine oxidase (PAO)/SMO inhibitor, and depletion of all polyamines obtained by specific inhibitors of polyamine biosynthesis did not reproduce DENSPM effects in the presence of CHX. DENSPM/CHX-induced apoptosis was associated with changes in the amount or activation of signalling kinases, Akt and MAPKs, and increased uptake of DENSPM. In conclusion, the results suggest that DENSPM can favour apoptosis in chondrocytes independently of its effects on polyamine metabolism and levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology

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