Vol 46, No 3 (2008)
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Published online: 2008-12-06

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Effect of differentiating agents (all-trans retinoic acid and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate) on drug sensitivity of HL60 and NB4 cells in vitro.

Ewa Jasek, Jadwiga Mirecka, Jan A Litwin
DOI: 10.2478/v10042-008-0080-x
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2008;46(3):323-330.


In vitro studies have shown that human myeloid leukemia cell lines: HL60 and NB4 can be stimulated to differentiation by various agents, for example, all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether differentiation of HL60 and NB4 leukemia cell lines induced by ATRA and PMA alters their drug sensitivity. The differentiation along the neutrophil lineage (upon stimulation with ATRA) and along the monocyte/macrophage lineage (upon stimulation with PMA) was proved by decreased proliferative potential of cells, changes in their morphology, increased ability for NBT reduction and increased expression of CD11b and CD14 cell surface markers. The effect of drugs: cytosine arabinoside, daunorubicin, mitoxantrone and etoposide was examined by Alamar Blue test (proliferation and survival rates), as well as by evaluation of cell smears stained with Hoechst 33342 (apoptotic index). Differentiation resulted in the change of drug sensitivity in both cell lines: the differentiation along the neutrophil pathway (after stimulation with ATRA) increased sensitivity to cytosine arabinoside and mitoxantrone but decreased sensitivity to etoposide; the differentiation along the monocyte/macrophage pathway (induced by PMA) resulted in the decreased sensitivity of both cell lines to all drugs tested. In conclusion, we have shown that ATRA- and PMA-mediated differentiation of HL60 and NB4 cell lines results in the changes of their drug sensitivity. Our data may provide a contribution to a strategy aimed at a rational combination of differentiating agents and conventional anticancer drugs.

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