Modulation of antioxidant defenses during apoptosis

Margaret M. Briehl, Amanda F. Baker, Linda M. Siemankowski, Jeanne Morreale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Understanding the fundamental mechanism of apoptosis is crucial to developing therapeutic strategies for controlling apoptosis in diseased tissues. We are using model systems with relevance to cancer treatment to investigate the mechanism of apoptosis. Subtraction hybridization cloning was used to identify transcripts present at higher levels in regressing vs. normal prostate; these may be important for apoptosis. One of the genes cloned from regressing prostate is also upregulated in the murine W7.2 lymphocyte cell line induced to undergo apoptosis by treatment with the synthetic glucocorticoid, dexamethasone. This gene encodes a mu class glutathione S-transferase (EC 2.S.I.18), a protein that can protect the cell against o.xidative stress by repairing oxidized lipids, proteins, and DNA. Glutathione 5-transferase expression does not increase with dexamethasone treatment of lymphocyte cell lines expressing nonfunctional glucocorticoid receptors or a mutation in the apoptotic pathway. Other antioxidant defenses, including catalase (EC and Superoxide dismutase (EC, decline following dexamethasone treatment of W7.2 cells. Overexpression of the bcl-2 oncogene protects these cells against dexamethasonemediated apoptosis and prevents the decrease in antioxidant enzyme activity. These findings support the hypothesis that control of the cellular redox state is important to the mechanism of glucocorticoid-mediated lymphocyte apoptosis. Another model system we are using is tumor necrosis factor-a treatment of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Our preliminary results suggest that, in this system, activation of nuclear factor-<cB and increased expression of manganese Superoxide dismutase may afford protection from apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-285
Number of pages5
JournalOncology Research
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 1997


  • Antioxidant defense
  • Apoptosis
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Oxidative stress
  • Tumor necrosis factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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