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Cell Death Differ. 1999 May;6(5):433-44.

Induction of apoptosis by all-trans retinoic acid in the human myeloma cell line RPMI 8226 and negative regulation of some of its typical morphological features by dexamethasone.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, INSERM U459, Faculté de Médecine, 1, Place de Verdun, 59045 Lille Cedex, France.


We investigated the effects of all-trans retinoic acid (RA) and dexamethasone (Dex) on the in vitro growth of the human myeloma cell line RPMI 8226. RA inhibited RPMI 8226 cell growth by both antiproliferative effect and induction of apoptosis. Typical morphological and biochemical characteristics of apoptosis including chromatin condensation, apoptotic bodies formation and internucleosomal DNA cleavage were detected after 4 days of treatment with 1 microM RA. In situ TUNEL assay demonstrated that DNA cleavage preceded chromatin condensation. The expression of tissue transglutaminase (tTG), an enzyme proposed to play a role in apoptosis was induced with RA, as shown by both enzymatic assay and in situ immunofluorescence detection. Dex, when used alone, had no effect on cell growth and apoptosis. When combined to RA, Dex did not interfere with the RA-dependent inhibition of cell proliferation, but unexpectedly inhibited both quantitatively and qualitatively several morphological and biochemical features of the apoptosis induced by RA. Dex did not affect RA-induced DNA breaks formation but impeded the progression of chromatin condensation and the formation of apoptotic bodies. Interestingly, Dex also inhibited the RA-dependent induction of tTG. RU486, a glucocorticoid antagonist, counteracted all Dex effects. Taken together these data demonstrate that key cytoplasmic and nuclear events occurring during apoptosis are differentially regulated by RA and Dex in myeloma cell line RPMI 8226.

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