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Neoplasia. 2008 Oct;10(10):1105-19.

Squalene selectively protects mouse bone marrow progenitors against cisplatin and carboplatin-induced cytotoxicity in vivo without protecting tumor growth.

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Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Program, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.


Squalene, an isoprenoid antioxidant is a potential cytoprotective agent against chemotherapy-induced toxicity. We have previously published that squalene protects light-density bone marrow cells against cis-diamminedichloroplatinum( II) (cisplatin)-induced toxicity without protecting tumor cells in vitro. Here, we developed an in vivo mouse model of cisplatin and cis-diammine (cyclobutane-1,1-dicarboxylato) platinum(II) (carboplatin)-induced toxicity to further investigate squalene-mediated LD-BM cytoprotection including the molecular mechanism behind selective cytoprotection. We found that squalene significantly reduced the body weight loss of cisplatin and carboplatin-treated mice. Light-density bone marrow cells from squalene-treated mice exhibited improved formation of hematopoietic colonies (colony-forming unit-granulocyte macrophage). Furthermore, squalene also protected mesenchymal stem cell colonies (colony-forming unit-fibroblast) from cisplatin and carboplatin-induced toxicity. Squalene-induced protection was associated with decreased reactive oxygen species and increased levels of glutathione and glutathione peroxidase/glutathione-S-transferase. Importantly, squalene did not protect neuroblastoma, small cell carcinoma, or medulloblastoma xenografts against cisplatin-induced toxicity. These results suggest that squalene is a potential candidate for future development as a cytoprotective agent against chemotherapeutic toxicity.

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