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Nitric Oxide. 2006 Feb;14(1):72-88. Epub 2005 Nov 8.

A novel lignan composition from Cedrus deodara induces apoptosis and early nitric oxide generation in human leukemia Molt-4 and HL-60 cells.

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Division of Pharmacology, Regional Research Laboratory (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Jammu Tawi, India.


AP9-cd, a standardized lignan composition from Cedrus deodara consisting of (-)-wikstromal, (-)-matairesinol, and dibenzyl butyrolactol, showed cytotoxicity in several human cancer cell lines reported earlier. An attempt was made in this study to investigate the mechanism of cell death in human leukemia Molt-4 and HL-60 cells. It inhibited Molt-4 cell proliferation with 48-h IC(50) of approximately 15 microg/ml, increased sub-G0 cell fraction with no mitotic block, produced apoptotic bodies and induced DNA ladder formation. Flow cytometric analysis of annexinV-FITC/PI-stained cells showed time-related increase in apoptosis and post-apoptotic necrosis. All these biological end-points indicated cell death by apoptosis. Further, initial events involved massive nitric oxide (NO) formation within 4 h with subsequent late appearance of peroxides in cells; measured by flow cytometry using specific fluorescent probes. Persistently high levels of NO and peroxide appeared to decrease mitochondrial membrane potential (Psi(mt)) which was recovered by cyclosporin A in Molt-4 cells. AP9-cd caused 2-fold activation of caspase-3 in Molt-4 and 5-fold activation in HL-60 cells. Also caspases-8 and -9 were activated in HL-60 cells. Ascorbate suppressed the enhanced caspases activities indicating a pro-oxidant effect of AP9-cd. Further, caspase-3 activation correlated with NO generation that was partially impaired by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitors and ascorbate suggesting a role of pro-oxidant species in caspase-3 activation. AP9-cd produced no cytotoxicity in primary rat hepatocyte culture at the concentrations used. The studies indicated that AP9-cd mediated early NO formation leads to caspases activation, peroxide generation, and mitochondrial depolarization which may be responsible for mitochondrial-dependent and -independent apoptotic pathways involved in the killing of leukemia cells by AP9-cd.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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