The effect of MAPK inhibitors on arsenic trioxide-treated Calu-6 lung cells in relation to cell death, ROS and GSH levels

Yong Hwan Han, Hwa Jin Moon, Bo Ra You, Sung Zoo Kim, Suhn Hee Kim, Woo Hyun Park
Anticancer Research 2009, 29 (10): 3837-44
Arsenic trioxide (ATO) can regulate many biological functions such as apoptosis and differentiation. We recently demonstrated that ATO-induced apoptosis in Calu-6 lung cancer cells is correlated with glutathione (GSH) content. Here, the effects of ATO and/or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors on Calu-6 cells were investigated in relation to cell growth, cell death, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and GSH levels. Treatment with ATO inhibited the growth of the Calu-6 cells at 72 hours. ATO induced apoptosis, which was accompanied by the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP; DeltaPsi(m)). While general nonspecific ROS decreased in the ATO-treated Calu-6 cells, the intracellular superoxide anion (O(2)(-)) level including mitochondrial O(2)(-) increased. ATO also induced GSH depletion in the Calu-6 cells. The treatment with MAP kinase kinase (MEK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 inhibitors intensified the cell growth inhibition, cell death, MMP (DeltaPsi(m)) loss, and GSH depletion in the ATO-treated Calu-6 cells. In addition, the JNK and p38 inhibitors significantly increased the ROS levels including O(2)(-) in the ATO-treated Calu-6 cells. In conclusion, all the MAPK inhibitors slightly intensify cell death in the ATO-treated Calu-6 cells and the changes of ROS and GSH brought about by ATO and/or MAPK inhibitor treatment partially influence cell growth and death in Calu-6 cells.

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