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J Neuroimmunol. 1998 Jul 1;87(1-2):121-9.

Interferon-alpha enhances CD95L-induced apoptosis of human malignant glioma cells.

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Department of Neurology, University of Tübingen, School of Medicine, Germany.


CD95 ligand (CD95L)-induced apoptosis is a novel immunotherapeutic approach to malignant glioma. Here, we report that interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) sensitizes LN-229 and T98G human malignant glioma cells to CD95L-induced apoptosis. In contrast to the effects of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha which sensitize glioma cells to CD95 antibody-induced apoptosis in part by enhancing CD95 expression, IFN-alpha has no effect on CD95 expression at the cell surface of LN-229 and T98G cells. To confirm that changes in CD95 expression are not required for the effects of IFN-alpha, we show that IFN-alpha enhances CD95L-induced apoptosis even in CD95-transfected LN-308 glioma cells. These LN-308 cells have little endogenous CD95 expression but express high levels of CD95 from a stably integrated CD95 expression plasmid. The sensitizing effects of IFN-alpha appear to be independent of cell cycle effects of IFN-alpha and are unaffected by ectopic expression of the bcl-2 proto-oncogene. IFN-alpha enhances CD95L-induced activation of caspase-3, a critical mediator of CD95L-induced cell death. IFN-alpha also increases the cytotoxic effects of BCNU, teniposide and cytarabine in both cell lines, and of vincristine in LN-229 cells. Doxorubicin and 5-fluorouracil toxicity are unaffected by IFN-alpha. IFN-alpha may be a useful adjunct to novel strategies of immunochemotherapy for malignant gliomas that target CD95-mediated apoptosis.

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