Intracellular Distribution and Pharmacokinetics of Daunorubicin in Anthracycline-sensitive and -resistant HL-60 Cells

Alexander A. Hindenburg, James E. Gervasoni, Sindu Krishna, Valerie J. Stewari, Michelle Rosado, Jose Lutzky, Kapil Bhalla, Michael A. Baker, Robert N. Taub

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142 Scopus citations


Anthracycline-sensitive (HL-60) and -resistant (HL-60/AR) cells, which do not overexpress the P-glycoprotein, each transport and distribute daunorubicin (DNR) into distinct intracellular locations, as visualized by digitized video fluorescence microscopy. At pH 7.4, the fluorescence of DNR in HL-60 cells appears distributed diffusely in both the nucleus and cytoplasm. In contrast, HL-60/AR cells show much less fluorescence in the nucleus and cytoplasm; most of the fluorescence localizes first to the Golgi apparatus and is then gradually shifted to the lysosomes and/or mitochondria. In pharmacokinetic studies, HL-60/AR cells exposed to different extracellular concentrations of [14C]DNR consistently accumulated less radioactive drug than the parent HL-60 cells. Incubation of HL-60/AR cells with sodium azide and deoxyglucose blocked the efflux of [14C]DNR and also prevented the shift of DNR fluorescence from the Golgi apparatus to the lysosomes/mitochondria. The efflux and the intracellular shift of DNR could also be inhibited by lowering the temperature to 18°C, which stops endosomal membrane fusion. When DNR was allowed to accumulate in HL-60 or HL-60/AR cells at pH 5 there was an increase in the proportion of drug fluorescence in the membranes of both HL-60 and HL-60/AR cells; a decrease in the amount of drug retained by HL-60, but not by HL-60/AR cells; and a decrease in the cytostatic effects of DNR on both HL-60 and HL-60/AR cells. These data suggest that DNR resistance is associated with a failure of DNR to pass through membranes and to bind to cytoplasmic and nuclear structures. Instead, most of the drug is taken up by the Golgi apparatus from which it is then shifted to the lysosomes or to mitochondria, or out of the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4607-4614
Number of pages8
JournalCancer research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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