We investigated the antileukemic activity and molecular mechanisms of action of a newly synthesized ring-substituted diindolylmethane derivative, 1,1-bis[3′-(5-methoxyindolyl)]-1-(p-t-butylphenyl) methane (DIM #34), in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cells. DIM #34 inhibited AML cell growth via the induction of apoptosis and abrogated clonogenic growth of primary AML samples. Exposure to DIM #34 induced loss of mitochondrial inner transmembrane potential, release of cytochrome c into the cytosol, and caspase activation. Bcl-2-overexpressing, Bax knockout, and caspase-9-deficient cells were partially resistant to cell death, suggesting the involvement of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Furthermore, DIM #34 transiently inhibited the phosphorylation and activity of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase and abrogated Bcl-2 phosphorylation. Because other methylene-substituted diindolylmethane analogues have been shown to transactivate the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), we studied the role of PPARγ in apoptosis induction. Cotreatment of cells with a selective PPARγ antagonist or with retinoid X receptor and retinoic acid receptor ligands partially modulated apoptosis when combined with DIM #34, suggesting PPARγ receptor-dependent and receptor-independent cell death. Together, these findings suggest that diindolylmethanes are a new class of compounds that selectively induce apoptosis in AML cells through the modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase and PPARγ signaling pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research