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J Cell Physiol. 1994 Aug;160(2):213-26.

Stable differentiation of a human colon adenocarcinoma cell line by sodium butyrate is associated with multidrug resistance.

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Department of Medicine (S.B.H.), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55417.


Colorectal cancers are often composed of cell types representing various differentiated cell lineages, however little is known concerning the relationship of differentiation and drug resistance in these cancers. The present study was performed to develop and characterize a stable, differentiated clone of the human colon cancer cell line LS174T and to characterize the drug resistance of this cell line in relation to its undifferentiated parental cell line. LS174T cell line was treated with the differentiating agent sodium butyrate (0.5 mM) for 30 days, then recultured in standard medium. Foci of flat-appearing cells appeared and were isolated using cloning rings, and subcloned. One subclone was designated LS174T-D. The LS174T-D clone maintains a stable, differentiated phenotype in standard culture conditions in the absence of sodium butyrate. It is characterized by the formation of a polarized monolayer with dome formation and the presence of prominent apical microvilli and tight junctions. This cell line demonstrated reduced growth in soft agar and nude mice compared with the parental cell line. LS174T-D cells expressed immunoreactive intestinal mucin antigens and brush border enzymes dipeptidyl aminopeptidase (DAP)-IV and aminopeptidase. The activities of DAP-IV and aminopeptidase were increased 5.6-fold and 3.4-fold, respectively, in LS174T-D compared with parental cells. Proliferation assays demonstrated that, compared with the parental cell line, LS174T-D cells were more resistant to doxorubicin (93-fold), cisplatin (23-fold), 5-fluorouracil (12-fold), 5-fluorodeoxyuridine (31-fold), and methotrexate (12.5-fold). Intracellular uptake of (3H)-5-fluorodeoxyuridine did not differ significantly in the differentiated and undifferentiated cell lines. Levels of mdr-1 p-glycoprotein measured by Western blot and RNA Northern blot assays were also similarly low in both cell lines. However, total glutathione content and glutathione-S-transferase activities were increased in LS174T-D cells by sixfold and threefold, respectively, compared with parental cells. Depletion of glutathione by pretreatment with DL-buthionine sulfoximine reversed LS174T-D resistance to cisplatin. Long-term treatment with sodium butyrate induces or selects for colon cancer cells with features of enterocytic differentiation. This stably differentiated cell line is associated with glutathione-mediated multidrug resistance, and provides a model for further studies of differentiation in normal and cancerous colon.

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