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Oncogene. 2003 Sep 18;22(40):6296-300.

Superoxide-dependent and -independent mitochondrial signaling during apoptosis in multiple myeloma cells.

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Department of Medical Oncology, The Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Superoxide (O2-) radicals have been linked to apoptosis. Here, we show that 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2)-induced apoptosis in multiple myeloma (MM) cells is associated with O2- generation, whereas dexamethasone (Dex)-induced apoptosis occurs without concurrent increase in O2-. In contrast, both these agents decrease mitochondrial transmembrane potential (Deltapsi(m)). Treatment of MM cells with an antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine blocks 2ME2, but not Dex-induced apoptosis as well as release of mitochondrial proteins cytochrome c (cyto c) and Smac. Taken together, these results demonstrate that there are at least two distinct apoptotic pathways: one dependent on O2-, which is induced by 2ME2 and is associated with release of cyto c and Smac; and the other an independent of O2-, which is triggered by Dex and associated with Smac release.

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