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Nitric Oxide. 2013 Apr 1;30:17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Effects of the nitric oxide donor JS-K on the blood-tumor barrier and on orthotopic U87 rat gliomas assessed by MRI.

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Dept. of Radiology/Medical Physics, University Medical Center Freiburg, Breisacher Strasse 60a, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.


Nitric oxide (NO) released from NO donors can be cytotoxic in tumor cells and can enhance the transport of drugs into brain tumors by altering blood-tumor barrier permeability. The NO donor JS-K [O(2)-(2,4-dinitrophenyl) 1-[(4-ethoxycarbonyl)piperazin-1-yl]diazen-1-ium-1,2-diolate] releases NO upon enzymatic activation selectively in cells overexpressing glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs) such as gliomas. Thus, JS-K-dependent NO effects - especially on cell viability and vascular permeability - were investigated in U87 glioma cells in vitro and in an orthotopic U87 xenograft model in vivo by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In vitro experiments showed dose-dependent antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects in U87 cells. In addition, treatment of U87 cells with JS-K resulted in a dose-dependent activation of soluble guanylate cyclase and intracellular accumulation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) which was irreversibly inhibited by the selective inhibitor of soluble guanylate cyclase ODQ (1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo(4,3a)quinoxaline-1-one). Using dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) as a minimally invasive technique, we demonstrated for the first time a significant increase in the DCE-MRI read-out initial area under the concentration curve (iAUC60) indicating an acute increase in blood-tumor barrier permeability after i.v. treatment with JS-K. Repeated MR imaging of animals with intracranial U87 gliomas under treatment with JS-K (3.5 μmol/kg JS-K 3×/week) and of untreated controls on day 12 and 19 after tumor inoculation revealed no significant changes in tumor growth, edema formation or tumor perfusion. Immunohistochemical workup of the brains showed a significant antiproliferative effect of JS-K in the gliomas. Taken together, in vitro and in vivo data suggest that JS-K has antiproliferative effects in U87 gliomas and opens the blood-tumor barrier by activation of the NO/cGMP signaling pathway. This might be a novel approach to facilitate entry of therapeutic drugs into brain tumors. DCE-MRI is a non-invasive, repeatable imaging modality to monitor biological effects of NO donors and other experimental therapeutics in intracranial tumor models.

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