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Peptides. 2006 Jun;27(6):1201-9. Epub 2005 Dec 13.

In vitro biological activities of magainin alone or in combination with nisin.

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  • 1Unit of Microbiology, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Experimental Sciences, University of Jaén, E-23071 Jaén, Spain.


Antimicrobial peptides have received increasing attention not only as potential candidates to their administration as antimicrobial agents, but also as potential drugs applied in cancer therapy. Here, we have examined the action of both nisin and magainin on human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. Cells were cultured in presence of either nisin or magainin 1 as well as in combination with both nisin and magainin 1. Results have revealed that magainin, but not nisin, produces a loss of cell viability in HL-60 cells, and a minor increase of hemolysis, whereas it is not responsible for cell membrane disruption and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage. In addition, magainin is involved in a significant generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as in an augment of caspase-3 activity. Magainin-induced apoptosis was verified by DNA fragmentation and annexin V-FITC/propidium iodide (PI) staining of the cells. Promotion of cell death by magainin occurs via cytochrome c release accompanied by a substantial increase of proteasome activity. These results underline the importance of magainin as a drug capable of exerting an in vitro antitumoral activity by triggering apoptosis.

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