Acetaminophen potentiates staurosporine-induced death in a human neuroblastoma cell line

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Background and purpose:

Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumour in infants characterized by a high resistance to apoptosis. Recently, the cyclo-oxygenase pathway has been considered a potential target in the treatment of different kinds of tumours. The aim of the present work was to investigate a possible relationship between cyclo-oxygenase pathway and stauroporine-induced apoptosis in the neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y.

Experimental approach:

Cellular viability was measured by release of LDH. DNA fragmentation was visualized by electrophoresis on agarose gel containing ethidium bromide. Cyclo-oxygenase activity was measured in microsomal fractions obtained from cells by quantification of its final product PGE2 by RIA. Caspase-3 activity was measured fluorimetrically and Western blot analysis was performed to assess cytochrome c expression.

Key results:

We have found that staurosporine (500 nM) induced cellular death in a time-dependent manner in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. Cyclo-oxygenase enzymatic activity was present in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells under basal conditions and pharmacological experiments using COX inhibitors indicate that cyclo-oxygenase-1 and cyclo-oxygenase-3 are the active isoforms in these cells. Co-incubation of SH-SY5Y cells with staurosporine (500 nM) and acetaminophen for 24 h potentiated staurosporine-mediated cellular death in a concentration-dependent manner. This process is mediated by an increase in cytochrome c release and caspase 3 activation and is prevented by N-acetylcysteine or the superoxide dismutase mimetic, MnTBAP.

Conclusions and implications:

Acetaminophen potentiates staurosporine-mediated neuroblastoma cell death. The mechanism of action of acetaminophen seems to be related to production of reactive oxygen species and decreased intracellular glutathione levels.

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