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Br J Pharmacol. 2014 Jul;171(14):3448-62. doi: 10.1111/bph.12693.

Suppression of cell membrane permeability by suramin: involvement of its inhibitory actions on connexin 43 hemichannels.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Signaling, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, Chuo, Yamanashi, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Suramin is a clinically prescribed drug for treatment of human African trypanosomiasis, cancer and infection. It is also a well-known pharmacological antagonist of P2 purinoceptors. Despite its clinical use and use in research, the biological actions of this molecule are still incompletely understood. Here, we investigated the effects of suramin on membrane channels, as exemplified by its actions on non-junctional connexin43 (Cx43) hemichannels, pore-forming α-haemolysin and channels involved in ATP release under hypotonic conditions.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:

Hemichannels were activated by removing extracellular Ca(2+) . The influences of suramin on hemichannel activities were evaluated by its effects on influx of fluorescent dyes and efflux of ATP. The membrane permeability and integrity were assessed through cellular retention of preloaded calcein and LDH release.

KEY RESULTS:

Suramin blocked Cx43 hemichannel permeability induced by removal of extracellular Ca(2+) without much effect on Cx43 expression and gap junctional intercellular communication. This action of suramin was mimicked by its analogue NF023 and NF449 but not by another P2 purinoceptor antagonist PPADS. Besides hemichannels, suramin also significantly blocked intracellular and extracellular exchanges of small molecules caused by α-haemolysin from Staphylococcus aureus and by exposure of cells to hypotonic solution. Furthermore, it prevented α-haemolysin- and hypotonic stress-elicited cell injury.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS:

Suramin blocked membrane channels and protected cells against toxin- and hypotonic stress-elicited injury. Our finding provides novel mechanistic insights into the pharmacological actions of suramin. Suramin might be therapeutically exploited to protect membrane integrity under certain pathological situations.

KEYWORDS:

channel permeability; connexin 43; hemichannels; hypotonic stress; suramin; α-haemolysin

PMID:
24641330
PMCID:
PMC4105932
DOI:
10.1111/bph.12693
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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