Osteoblasts survive the arsenic trioxide treatment by activation of ATM-mediated pathway

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Abstract

Arsenic trioxide (ATO) is widely used in tumor treatment, but excessive arsenic exposure can have adverse effects. We recently found that, in primary osteoblasts, ATO produces oxidative stress and causes DNA tailing, but does not induce apoptosis. We further examined the signaling pathway by which osteoblasts survive ATO treatment, and found that they were arrested at G2/M phase of the cell cycle at 30 h and overrode the G2/M boundary at 48 h. After treatment for 30 h, there was increased Cdc2 phosphorylation and expression of Wee1, a Cdc2 kinase, and expression of the cell cycle inhibitor, p21waf1/cip1, which interacts with Cdc2. Furthermore, levels of the phosphatase Cdc25C, which activates Cdc2, were decreased, while the ratio of its phosphorylated/inactivated form to the total amount was increased. Moreover, phosphorylation/activation of the checkpoint kinases Chk1, Chk2 and p53 levels were increased, as were levels of activated ATM and γ-H2AX. The cell viability was decreased as an ATM inhibitor was added. Additionally, these effects of ATO on γ-H2AX, Chk1, Chk2, p53, and p21waf1/cip1 were reduced by an ATM inhibitor. These findings suggest that G2/M phase arrest of osteoblasts is mediated by Chk1/Chk2 activation via an ATM-dependent pathway by which osteoblasts survive.

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