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J Neurooncol. 2010 Oct;100(1):1-8. doi: 10.1007/s11060-010-0387-2. Epub 2010 Sep 12.

Protection of normal brain cells from γ-irradiation-induced apoptosis by a mitochondria-targeted triphenyl-phosphonium-nitroxide: a possible utility in glioblastoma therapy.

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  • 1Center for Free Radical and Antioxidant Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


Glioblastoma multiforme is the most frequent and aggressive primary brain tumor. A strong rationale to identify innovative approaches to treat these tumors is required since treatment failures result in local recurrences and median survivals range from 9 to 12 months. Glioma cells are reported to have less mitochondrial content compared to adjacent normal brain cells. Based on this difference, we suggest a new strategy, utilizing protection of normal brain cells by mitochondria-targeted electron scavengers and antioxidants-nitroxides-thus allowing for the escalation of the radiation doses. In this paper, we report that a conjugate of nitroxide with a hydrophobic cation, triphenyl-phosphonium (TPEY-Tempo), significantly protected brain endothelial cells from γ-irradiation-induced apoptosis while radiosensitizing brain tumor cells. Thus, TPEY-Tempo may be a promising adjunct in the treatment of glioblastoma with the potential to not only prolong survival but also to maintain quality of life and reduce treatment toxicity.

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