The new isothiocyanate 4-(methylthio)butylisothiocyanate selectively affects cell-cycle progression and apoptosis induction of human leukemia cells

Carmela Fimognari, Michael Nüsse, Renato Iori, Giorgio Cantelli-Forti, Patrizia Hrelia
Investigational New Drugs 2004, 22 (2): 119-29
We investigated proliferation and apoptosis induction in Jurkat T-leukemia cells by the new isothiocyanate 4-(methylthio)butylisothiocyanate (MTBITC). To help elucidate whether the effects of MTBITC are specific for cancer cells, we tested MTBITC on freshly isolated, non-transformed human peripheral T lymphocytes. The effects of MTBITC are leukemic-cell-specific and consist of derangements in a critical point of cell-cycle control (G2/M transition). In fact, an increase in the proportion of G2 cells (from about 18% to 50%) was apparent following 24 h of treatment, associated with a decrease in the protein expression of cyclin B1. The expression of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 1 was more mildly attenuated by MTBITC. Our results demonstrated that high concentrations of MTBITC can also induce apoptosis, through an increase of p53 and bax, but not bcl-2, protein expression. No effects of MTBITC were demonstrated on non-transformed T lymphocytes. Taking into account its in vitro antineoplastic activity and selectivity toward leukemia cells, MTBITC can be viewed as a conceptually promising agent in cancer therapy.

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