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Br J Cancer. 2003 Jan 13;88(1):153-8.

Alpha-tocopheryl succinate sensitises a T lymphoma cell line to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by suppressing NF-kappaB activation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The Gade Institute, University of Bergen, Norway.


Activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) can interfere with induction of apoptosis triggered by the tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL; Apo2L). Therefore, agents that suppress NF-kappaB activation may sensitise cells to TRAIL-dependent apoptosis. Exposure of Jurkat cells to TRAIL resulted in massive and saturable apoptosis induction, following an initial lag time. This lag was abolished by pretreatment of the cells with subapoptotic doses of alpha-tocopheryl succinate (alpha-TOS) or the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Exposure of the cells to TRAIL led to a rapid, transient activation of NF-kappaB, a process that was suppressed by cell pretreatment with alpha-TOS or MG132. Activation of NF-kappaB by TNF-alpha prior to TRAIL exposure increased resistance of the cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. We conclude that alpha-TOS sensitises cells to TRAIL killing, at least in some cases, through inhibition of NF-kappaB activation. This further supports the possibility that this semisynthetic analogue of vitamin E is a potential adjuvant in cancer treatment, such as in the case of TRAIL-mediated inhibition of cancer.

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