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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Feb 23;281(2):322-7.

Caspase-dependent chemotherapy-induced death of glioma cells requires mitochondrial cytochrome c release.

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Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, Department of Neurology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


Chemotherapeutic drug-induced apoptosis of human malignant glioma cells involves the death receptor-independent activation of caspases other than caspases 3 or 8 (Glaser et al., Oncogene 18, 5044-5053, 1999). Here, we report that caspases 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 9 are constitutively expressed in most human malignant glioma cell lines. Cytotoxic drug-induced apoptosisinvolves delayed activation of caspases 2, 7, and 9, but not 8 and 3, and is blocked by a broad spectrum caspase inhibitor, zVAD-fmk. Cytochrome c release from mitochondria precedes caspase activation during drug-induced apoptosis and is unaffected by zVAD-fmk or ectopic expression of the viral caspase inhibitor, crm-A. In contrast, ectopic expression of BCL-X(L) prevents drug-induced cytochrome c release, caspase activation and cell death. Thus, cancer chemotherapy targets the mitochondrial, caspase-dependent death pathway in human malignant glioma cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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