The antihypertensive drug hydralazine activates the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis and causes DNA damage in leukemic T cells
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María J. Ruiz-Magaña1, Rocío Martínez-Aguilar1, Estefanía Lucendo1, Diana Campillo-Davo1, Klaus Schulze-Osthoff2,3 Carmen Ruiz-Ruiz1,4
1Unidad de Inmunología, IBIMER, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
2Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
3German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and German Research Cancer Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
4Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular 3 e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
Carmen Ruiz-Ruiz, e-mail: [email protected]
Keywords: hydralazine, apoptosis, mitochondria, DNA damage, leukemia
Received: September 03, 2015 Accepted: February 20, 2016 Published: March 03, 2016
Epigenetic therapies have emerged as promising anticancer approaches, since epigenetic modifications play a major role in tumor initiation and progression. Hydralazine, an approved vasodilator and antihypertensive drug, has been recently shown to act as a DNA methylation inhibitor. Even though hydralazine is already tested in clinical cancer trials, its mechanism of antitumor action remains undefined. Here, we show that hydralazine induced caspase-dependent apoptotic cell death in human p53-mutant leukemic T cells. Moreover, we demonstrate that hydralazine triggered the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis by inducing Bak activation and loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential. Hydralazine treatment further resulted in the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, whereas a superoxide dismutase mimetic inhibited hydralazine-induced cell death. Interestingly, caspase-9-deficient Jurkat cells or Bcl-2- and Bcl-xL-overexpressing cells were strongly resistant to hydralazine treatment, thereby demonstrating the dependence of hydralazine-induced apoptosis on the mitochondrial death pathway. Furthermore, we demonstrate that hydralazine treatment triggered DNA damage which might contribute to its antitumor effect.
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