Acadesine activates AMPK and induces apoptosis in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells but not in T lymphocytes

Clara Campàs, José Manuel Lopez, Antonio F Santidrián, Montserrat Barragán, Beatriz Bellosillo, Dolors Colomer, Joan Gil
Blood 2003 May 1, 101 (9): 3674-80
Acadesine, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide (AICA) riboside, induced apoptosis in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) cells in all samples tested (n = 70). The half-maximal effective concentration (EC(50)) for B-CLL cells was 380 +/- 60 microM (n = 5). The caspase inhibitor Z-VAD.fmk completely blocked acadesine-induced apoptosis, which involved the activation of caspase-3, -8, and -9 and cytochrome c release. Incubation of B-CLL cells with acadesine induced the phosphorylation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), indicating that it is activated by acadesine. Nitrobenzylthioinosine (NBTI), a nucleoside transport inhibitor, 5-iodotubercidin, an inhibitor of adenosine kinase, and adenosine completely inhibited acadesine-induced apoptosis and AMPK phosphorylation, demonstrating that incorporation of acadesine into the cell and its subsequent phosphorylation to AICA ribotide (ZMP) are necessary to induce apoptosis. Inhibitors of protein kinase A and mitogen-activated protein kinases did not protect from acadesine-induced apoptosis in B-CLL cells. Moreover, acadesine had no effect on p53 levels or phosphorylation, suggesting a p53-independent mechanism in apoptosis triggering. Normal B lymphocytes were as sensitive as B-CLL cells to acadesine-induced apoptosis. However, T cells from patients with B-CLL were only slightly affected by acadesine at doses up to 4 mM. AMPK phosphorylation did not occur in T cells treated with acadesine. Intracellular levels of ZMP were higher in B-CLL cells than in T cells when both were treated with 0.5 mM acadesine, suggesting that ZMP accumulation is necessary to activate AMPK and induce apoptosis. These results suggest a new pathway involving AMPK in the control of apoptosis in B-CLL cells and raise the possibility of using acadesine in B-CLL treatment.

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