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Exp Cell Res. 1995 Dec;221(2):470-7.

The increase in H2O2-induced apoptosis by ADP-ribosylation inhibitors is related to cell blebbing.

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Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy.


HN and LN are two phenotypic variants of the U937 monocytic cell line which differ in their basal NAD content; they respond in an opposite way to oxidative stress in the presence of the poly(ADP-ribosyl)polymerase (PARP) inhibitors 3-aminobenzamide (3ABA) and nicotinamide (NA): the inhibitors protect HN cells from stress-induced apoptosis, while they enhance it on LN cells (Coppola et al., 1995, Exp. Cell Res. 221, 462-469). These opposite effects are due to two overlapping and contrasting phenomena occurring in LN cells, as shown by the bi-modal response of stressed LN cells to increasing 3ABA doses. Indeed H2O2-induced apoptosis is enhanced only at high 3ABA concentrations (i.e., sufficient to inhibit also mono-ADP-ribosylations); lower 3ABA concentrations, which specifically inhibit PARP, also protect LN U937 from stress-induced apoptosis. Unlike HN U937, H2O2-induced apoptosis in LN cells is accompanied by cell blebbing. High 3ABA doses strongly enhance blebbing, leading to cellular fragmentation. Blebbing could be blocked by interfering with actin polymerization with cytochalasin B and D: this eliminated the increase in apoptosis due to 3ABA, suggesting that it is indeed the consequence of excess blebbing. This is supported by the unusual finding that in U937 LN stressed in the presence of 3ABA or NA, blebbing, usually a late event in apoptosis, may even precede its onset.

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