Cytotoxic activity of nemorosone in neuroblastoma cells

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Abstract

Neuroblastoma is the second most common solid tumour during childhood, characterized by rapid disease progression. Most children with metastasized neuroblastoma die despite intensive chemotherapy due to an intrinsic or acquired chemotherapy resistance. Thus, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Here, we demonstrate that the novel compound nemorosone isolated from alcoholic extracts of Clusia rosea resins by reverse phase high pressure liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) exerts cytotoxic activity in neuroblas-toma cell lines both parental and their clones selected for resistance against adriamycin, cisplatin, etoposide or 5-fluorouracil. Cell cycle studies revealed that nemorosone induces an accumulation in G0/G1- with a reduction in S-phase population combined with a robust up-regulation of p21Cip1. Furthermore, a dose-dependent apoptotic DNA laddering accompanied by an activation of caspase-3 activity was detected. Nemorosone induced a significant dephosphorylation of ERK1/2 in LAN-1 parental cells probably by the inhibition of its upstream kinase MEK1/2. No significant modulation of signal transducers JNK, p38 MAPK and Akt/PKB was detected. The enzymatic activity of immunoprecipitated Akt/PKB was strongly inhibited in vitro, suggesting that nemorosone exerts its anti-proliferative activity at least in part by targeting Akt/PKB in the cell lines studied. In addition, a synergistic effect with Raf-1 inhibitor BAY 43-9006 was found. Finally, nemorosone induced a considerable down-regulation of N-myc protein levels in parental LAN-1 and an etoposide resistant sub-line at the same drug-concentrations.

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