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Int J Cancer. 1995 May 4;61(3):348-54.

Effects of interferon-alpha on human B cells: repression of apoptosis and prevention of cell growth are independent responses of Burkitt lymphoma lines.

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Department of Immunology, University of Birmingham Medical School, UK.


We have previously shown that interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) can repress apoptosis in Burkitt lymphoma (BL) cells. In this study, we have compared this protective response with a further, well-established effect of IFN-alpha on BL cells, that of growth arrest. Of a panel of BL lines comprising (i) EBV-positive and -negative lines that retain the phenotype of the parental tumour cells and (ii) the prototype IFN-alpha-growth-inhibited line, Daudi, only Daudi cells were found to undergo substantial growth inhibition in response to the cytokine. By contrast, all lines, with the notable exception of Daudi, were protected by IFN-alpha from high-rate apoptosis initiated by the Ca2+ ionophore ionomycin. Ionomycin failed to elicit an IFN-alpha-repressible apoptotic response in either wild-type Daudi cells or IFN-resistant sublines that were refractory to the growth-arresting effects of the cytokine. Analysis of c-myc protein levels confirmed previous observations that repression of apoptosis in IFN-alpha-rescuable BL cells was associated with an early inhibition of myc that was followed by a return to high-level expression. Significantly, ionomycin alone induced a comparable transient inhibition of myc protein in Daudi cells. In Daudi cells, but not in IFN-alpha-rescuable BL cells, renewed expression of myc observed after the early, transient down-regulation was followed by sustained down-regulation of the protein, which paralleled growth arrest. Our results indicate that long-term growth arrest and repression of apoptosis in BL are distinct cellular responses to IFN-alpha.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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