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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1990 Nov 15;283(1):46-50.

Tributyltin stimulates apoptosis in rat thymocytes.

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Department of Toxicology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Treatment of rat thymocytes with micromolar concentrations of tributyltin caused a rapid increase in the cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration that was inhibited by Ni2+, which blocks Ca2+ influx through membrane channels. The elevation of cytosolic Ca2+ was associated with extensive DNA fragmentation, which was prevented by pretreatment of the cells with either of the intracellular Ca2+ chelators quin-2 or 1,2-bis(2-amino-phenoxy)ethane-N',N',N',N',-tetraacetic acid. Loss of thymocyte viability, which followed DNA fragmentation, was also prevented by the two Ca2+ chelators or by removing extracellular Ca2+ with ethylene glycol bis(beta-aminoethyl ether)N,N'-tetraacetic acid. The pattern of DNA fragmentation was characteristic of that produced by agents which activate a Ca2(+)- and Mg2(+)-dependent endogenous endonuclease during apoptosis or programmed cell death. Additional studies showed that other organotin compounds, including trimethyltin, triphenyltin, and dibutyltin had minimal effects on cytosolic Ca2+, DNA fragmentation, and cell viability. These results are consistent with a greater susceptibility of thymocytes to tributyltin and provide a basis for understanding its selective immunotoxicity in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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