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Cytokine. 1993 Nov;5(6):546-55.

Cell membrane permeabilization and cellular collapse, followed by loss of dehydrogenase activity: early events in tumour necrosis factor-induced cytotoxicity.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Ghent University, Belgium.


Early events in the cytotoxic response to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) of the murine fibrosarcoma cell lines L929 and WEHI164cl13 were assessed on a cell by cell basis using the fluorescent exclusion dye propidium iodide (PI) and analysis by flow cytometry. The rationale of this approach is based on the exclusion of PI by cells with intact membranes. PI-positive cells appeared within a few hours of TNF treatment and further accumulated with time at a TNF dose-dependent rate. Thus, TNF rapidly caused a breakdown of the barrier function of the membrane in these TNF-sensitive fibrosarcoma cell lines. On a time basis, membrane permeabilization was immediately followed by a sudden shrinkage of the cell and was accompanied by cell death, but preceded the inactivation of the mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase by several hours. The latter enzymatic activity was measured by the MTT chromogenic assay. Cell death was determined on the basis of the capability of individual cells to produce a progeny in a clonogenicity assay. Both membrane permeabilization and cellular collapse were fast events that were completed within a very short time and may represent the direct cause for cell death. Opposed to this, loss of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase activity evolved more slowly, was initiated at a later time and apparently represents a post-lethal event, not directly linked to the TNF signal transduction pathway. Finally, the enhancing effect of the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide on the various features of TNF-induced cytotoxicity was determined.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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