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Biol Pharm Bull. 2012;35(4):617-23.

Vitamin K3 analogs induce selective tumor cytotoxicity in neuroblastoma.

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  • 1School of Pharmacy, Nihon University, Funabashi, Chiba, Japan.


We investigated the cytotoxicity of eight vitamin K3 (VK3) analogs against neuroblastoma cell lines (IMR-32, LA-N-1, NB-39, and SK-N-SH) and normal cell lines (human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and human dermal fibroblasts (HDF)) using a 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. 2-[(2-Methoxy)ethylthio]-3-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (VK3-OCH(3)) showed especially potent cytotoxic activities against neuroblastoma cells compared with normal cells. In a Hoechst 33342 staining experiment, apoptotic morphologies characterized by cell shrinkage, nuclear condensation, and nuclear fragmentation were observed in IMR-32 and LA-N-1 cells after 48 h of treatment with 10(-5) M of VK3-OCH(3). To clarify the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis induced by VK3-OCH(3), we examined the expression of apoptosis related proteins using a Proteome Profiler Array and western blotting. Heme oxygenase (HO)-1 was remarkably increased by VK3-OCH(3) compared with the control (173% in IMR-32 and 170% in LA-N-1 at 24 h). Moreover, caveolin-1 was induced by VK3-OCH(3) at 48 h. In addition, VK3-OCH(3) arrested the cell cycle at the G2/M phase in IMR-32 cells. These results suggest that VK3-OCH(3) exhibited a selective antitumor activity via HO-1-related mechanisms.

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