Purpose: Arsenic, in the form of As2O3, has gained therapeutic importance because it has been shown to be very effective clinically in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Via numerous pathways arsenic induces cellular alterations such as induction of apoptosis, inhibition of cellular proliferation, stimulation of differentiation, and inhibition of angiogenesis. Responses vary depending on cell type, dose and the form of arsenic. GSTO1, a member of the glutathione S-transferase superfamily omega, has recently been shown to be identical to the rate-limiting enzyme, monomethyl arsenous (MMAV) reductase which catalyzes methylarsonate (MMA V) to methylarsenous acid (MMAIII) during arsenic biotransformation. In this study, we investigated whether arsenic trioxide (As2O3) induces apoptosis in both chemosensitive and chemoresistant cell lines that varied in their expression of p28 (gsto1), the mouse homolog of GSTO1. Methods: The cytotoxicity of arsenic in the gsto1- and bcl-2-expressing chemoresistant and radioresistant LY-ar mouse lymphoma cell line, was compared with that of the LY-ar's parental cell line, LY-as. LY-as cells are radiosensitive, apoptotically permissive, and do not express gsto1 or bcl-2. Cell survival, glutathione (GSH) levels, mitochondrial membrane potential, and stress-activated kinase status after arsenic treatment were examined in these cell lines. Results: As2O3 induced an equivalent dose- and time-dependent increase in apoptosis in these cell lines. Cellular survival, as measured after a 24-h exposure, was also the same in each cell line. Reduced GSH was modulated in a similar time- and dose-dependent manner. Apoptosis was preceded by loss of mitochondrial membrane potential that triggered caspase-mediated pathways associated with apoptosis. With a prolonged exposure of As2O3, both cell lines showed decreased activation of ERK family members, ERK1, ERK2 and ERK5. As2O 3 enhanced the death signals in LY-ar cells through a decrease in GSH, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, and abatement of survival signals. This effect is similar to that seen when LY-ar cells are treated with thiol-depleting agents or by the removal of methionine and cysteine (GSH precursor) from the growth medium. This response is also completely contrary to that seen for radiation, actinomycin D, VP-16 and other agents, where LY-ar cells do not succumb to apoptosis. Conclusions: The overexpression of gsto1 in normally chemoresistant and radioresistant LY-ar cells renders them vulnerable to the cytotoxic effects of As2O3, despite the 30-fold overexpression of the survival factor bcl-2. Gsto1 and its human homolog, GSTO1, may serve as a marker for arsenic sensitivity, particularly in cells that are resistant to other chemotherapeutic agents.
- Arsenic trioxide
- Cell survival
- Glutathione S-transferase omega
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research