Methotrexate induces apoptosis in CaSki and NRK cells and influences the organization of their actin cytoskeleton

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Methotrexate is a widely used drug in treatments of various types of malignancies and in the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis. The goal of our study was to look at the effect of this dihydrofolate reductase inhibitor on the actin cytoskeleton, since actin plays an important role in cancer transformation and metastasis. For this reason we compared results obtained from experiments on CaSki (human uterine cervix cancer) and NRK (normal fibroblastic rat kidney) cells treated with methotrexate. It has been shown previously that methotrexate can induce apoptosis. Therefore we first examined whether methotrexate induces apoptosis in our model cells. For this aim we applied several assays like Caspase Glo™ 3/7, DNA fragmentation and binding of phosphatidylserine by annexin V-fluorescein. The data obtained indicated that methotrexate induces programmed cell death in CaSki and NRK cells. However, differences between CaSki and NRK cells were observed in the morphological alterations and dynamics of apoptosis induced by methotrexate. It seemed that cancer cells were more sensitive towards the cell death inducing activity at lower concentrations of methotrexate. Analysis by confocal microscopy of methotrexate-treated cells demonstrated that treatment with this folate antagonist affected the actin cytoskeleton, although the dis-organization of the actin cytoskeleton after treatment with methotrexate differed between cancer and normal cells.

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