University of Oulu

All-trans retinoic acid-induced apoptosis in acute myeloblastic leukemia cells : with a special emphasis on p53, Bcl-2, and mitochondria

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Author: Zheng, Aiping1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : University of Oulu, 2000
Publish Date: 2000-05-29
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Auditorium 10 of the University Hospital of Oulu, on June 16th, 2000, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Professor John E. Eriksson
Docent Ylermi Soini


All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is a derivative of vitamin A. It is able to stimulate neutrophilic differentiation of normal progenitors and acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells. Although ATRA-induced differentiation is not observed in any other acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) subtypes, ATRA is known to be able to inhibit AML blast cell proliferation. The present in vitro study using AML cell lines representing subtypes other than APL focuses on the following questions: (1) Is the inhibitory effect of ATRA on AML cell growth related to apoptosis of cells? (2) Are the effects of ATRA dependent on two important regulators of apoptosis, p53 and Bcl-2? (3) Do mitochondria have any role in mediating the effects of ATRA? ATRA-induced apoptosis in AML cells was observed by morphology, DNA fragmentation, phosphatidylserine externalization, and poly(ADPribose)polymerase (PARP) cleavage. It was a slow event, manifested as DNA cleavage after 48 hours exposure and as morphological apoptosis after 72 hours exposure. The AML cells expressed constitutively p53 as determined by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and flow cytometry. However, no mutation of TP53 was observed in exons 5 to 8 as analysed with a single strand conformation polymorphism technique. As the flow cytometer analysis showed, most of p53 was in a aberrant conformation, which was not changed into a wild type conformation by ATRA. Two of the cell lines were analysed more specifically in relation to Bcl-2 and mitochondral function: ATRA-induced apoptosis of the cell lines was associated with down-regulation of Bcl-2. Western blotting showed ATRA-induced apoptosis also to be related to the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria into cytosol, resulting in the activation of caspase-3, an apoptotic effector, which was manifested as a cleavage of its substrate PARP. The process was also accompanied by disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential as determined fluoricytometrically. These results show that ATRA is able to induce apoptosis in AML cells other than APL, and ATRA-induced apoptosis in the AML cells studied is related to the down-regulation of Bcl-2 and the disruption of mitochondrial function, but is independent of the p53 pathway.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN: 0355-3221
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISSN-L: 0355-3221
ISBN: 951-42-5673-5
ISBN Print: 951-42-5672-7
Issue: 595
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2000. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.