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Mol Pharmacol. 2008 May;73(5):1549-57. doi: 10.1124/mol.107.041350. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

Flavopiridol suppresses tumor necrosis factor-induced activation of activator protein-1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), p44/p42 MAPK, and Akt, inhibits expression of antiapoptotic gene products, and enhances apoptosis through cytochrome c release and caspase activation in human myeloid cells.

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Cytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Unit 143, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Although flavopiridol, a semisynthetic flavone, was initially thought to be a specific inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases, it has now been shown that flavopiridol mediates antitumor responses through mechanism(s) yet to be defined. We have shown previously that flavopiridol abrogates tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation. In this report, we examined whether this flavone affects other cellular responses activated by TNF. TNF is a potent inducer of activator protein-1 (AP-1), and flavopiridol abrogated this activation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Flavopiridol also suppressed AP-1 activation induced by various carcinogens and inflammatory stimuli. When examined for its effect on other signaling pathways, flavopiridol inhibited TNF-induced activation of various mitogen-activated protein kinases, including c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and p44/p42 MAPK. It is noteworthy that this flavone also suppressed TNF-induced activation of Akt, a cell survival kinase, and expression of various antiapoptotic proteins, such as IAP-1, IAP-2, XIAP, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and TRAF-1. Flavopiridol also inhibited the TNF-induced induction of intercellular adhesion molecule-1, c-Myc, and c-Fos, all known to mediate tumorigenesis. Moreover, TNF-induced apoptosis was enhanced by flavopiridol through activation of the bid-cytochrome-caspase-9-caspase-3 pathway. Overall, our results clearly suggest that flavopiridol interferes with the TNF cell-signaling pathway, leading to suppression of antiapoptotic mechanisms and enhancement of apoptosis.

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