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Induction of apoptosis by the novel retinoid AHPN in human T-cell lymphoma cells involves caspase-dependent and independent pathways


Retinoids play an important role in the control of lymphocyte function and homeostasis in the thymus. In this study, we show that the induction of growth arrest and apoptosis in a variety of T-cell lymphoma cell lines, including Jurkat and Molt-4 cells, is highly specific for the synthetic retinoid 6-[3-(1-adamantyl)-4-hydroxyphenyl]-2-naphthalene carboxylic acid (AHPN) since all-trans retinoic acid (RA), the RAR-selective retinoid TTAB, the RXR-selective retinoid SR11217 and the retinoid SR11302 exhibiting selective anti-AP1 activity, do not induce apoptosis or cause growth arrest. These findings support the concept that the effects of AHPN on proliferation and induction of apoptosis are mediated by a novel signaling pathway. AHPN-induced apoptosis is associated with an induction of internucleosomal DNA-fragmentation, increased annexin V binding and a 30-fold stimulation of caspase-3-like activity. Overexpression of Bcl-2 in Molt-4 cells greatly inhibits the induction of apoptosis by AHPN as indicated by the inhibition of DNA-fragmentation, annexin V binding and caspase-3-like activity. However, Bcl-2 overexpression does not interfere with the ability of AHPN to cause growth arrest or accumulation of cells in the early S-phase of the cell cycle, indicating that the effects of AHPN on growth arrest can be uncoupled from the effects on apoptosis. The caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK, at concentrations that totally block caspase activity, delays but does not prevent cell death and does not affect the accumulation of cells in the S-phase of the cell cycle. Our results show that induction of caspase-3-like activity plays an important role in the execution of AHPN-induced apoptosis but cells can undergo cell death in the absence of this activity suggesting that AHPN-induced cell death involves caspase-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

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Edited by C.J.Thiele

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Correspondence to Anton M Jetten.

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  • retinoids
  • apoptosis
  • lymphoma
  • caspase
  • cell proliferation

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