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Drug Chem Toxicol. 2014 Jan;37(1):25-31. doi: 10.3109/01480545.2013.806528. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

Effect of the pesticide, deltamethrin, on Ca2+ signaling and apoptosis in OC2 human oral cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital , Kaohsiung , Taiwan .


Deltamethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide used extensively in pest control. Although deltamethrin has been shown to induce cytosolic free Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]i) rises and apoptosis in different cancer cells, there is no information concerning the effects of deltamethrin on oral cancer. This study explored the effects of deltamethrin on [Ca(2+)]i and viability in OC2 human oral cancer cells. Deltamethrin, at concentrations of 5-10 μM, increased [Ca(2+)]i in a concentration-dependent manner. The Ca(2+) signal was reduced partly by removing extracellular Ca(2+). Deltamethrin-induced [Ca(2+)]i rise was not inhibited by econazole, SK&F96365, phorbol 12-myristate 13 acetate (PMA) or GF109203X, but was inhibited by nifedipine. In Ca(2+)-free medium, 10-μM deltamethrin pretreatment inhibited the [Ca(2+)]i rise induced by the endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) pump inhibitor, 2,5-di-tert-butylhydroquinone (BHQ). Conversely, pretreatment with BHQ inhibited deltamethrin-induced [Ca(2+)]i rise. Inhibition of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate formation with phospholipase C (PLC) inhibitor U73122 did not suppress deltamethrin-induced Ca(2+) release. At concentrations between 20 and 100 μM, deltamethrin killed cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The cytotoxic effect of deltamethrin was not reversed by prechelating cytosolic Ca(2+) with 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid/acetoxymethyl. Deltamethrin-induced cell death was not caused by a preceding [Ca(2+)]i rise. Annexin V/propidium iodide staining data suggest that deltamethrin (40-60 μM) induced apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. To conclude, in OC2 cells, deltamethrin evoked a [Ca(2+)]i rise by inducing PLC-independent Ca(2+) release from the endoplasmic reticulum and Ca(2+) entry by nifedipine-sensitive Ca(2+) channels. Further, deltamethrin induced Ca(2+)-independent cell death might involve apoptosis.

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