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Eur J Pharmacol. 1998 May 29;350(1):121-7.

Forskolin induces U937 cell line differentiation as a result of a sustained cAMP elevation.

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Hematology Division, José de San Martín Clinical Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The present study examines the effects of forskolin on U937 cell differentiation. We recently reported that dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP), but not cAMP-elevating agents such as histamine, promotes U937 cell differentiation. cAMP production elicited by stimulation of histamine H2 receptors showed a rapid, homologous desensitization, which might explain the dissimilar responses to histamine and dbcAMP. Forskolin induced an increase in cAMP levels in a concentration-dependent manner (EC50=30 microM) for an extended period of at least 24 h. Forskolin but not histamine (up to 100 microM), also inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent fashion (EC50=22 microM). After 3 days of incubation, 75 microM forskolin induced U937 cell differentiation as judged by an increased rate of reduction of nitrobluetetrazolium (mean+/-S.E.M.: 21.3+/-6.6% in treated cells vs. 3.2+/-1.9% in the control group, P < 0.001) and an augmented chemotactic response to complement 5a (C5a) (33.2+/-5.9% in forskolin-treated vs. 0.34+/-0.12% in control cells, P < 0.01). Furthermore, c-Myc levels decreased following forskolin treatment, while the histamine H2 receptor agonist dimaprit had no effect. We conclude that forskolin induces U937 cell differentiation through a sustained rise in cAMP levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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