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Exp Cell Res. 1999 Jan 10;246(1):183-92.

Depletion of glutathione by buthionine sulfoxine is cytotoxic for human neuroblastoma cell lines via apoptosis.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, 90027, USA.


Buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) selectively inhibits glutathione (GSH) synthesis and has been used to sensitize tumor cells to alkylating agents, but has minimal single-agent cytotoxicity for most cell types. We determined the cytotoxicity of BSO for 18 (12 MYCN amplified; 6 MYCN nonamplified) human neuroblastoma cell lines using DIMSCAN, a digital image microscopy cytotoxicity assay. D-L(R:S) BSO was highly cytotoxic (>3 logs of cell kill) for most neuroblastoma cell lines, with 17/18 cell lines having IC90 values (range 2. 1->1000 microM) below equivalent steady state plasma levels of L(R:S) BSO reported in adult human trials. Cell lines with genomic amplification of MYCN were more sensitive to BSO than MYCN nonamplified cell lines (P = 0.04). D-L(R:S) BSO (500 microM for 72 h) induced apoptosis as detected by DNA laddering, nuclear morphology, and TUNEL staining of DNA fragments using flow cytometry. Maximal cell killing occurred within 48 h and was antagonized byic value in neuroblastoma.

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