The effect of mycoplasma on the autocrine stimulation of human small cell lung cancer in vitro by bombesin and β-endorphin

Susan L. Crowell, Holly S. Burgess, Thomas P. Davis

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13 Scopus citations


The tumor stem cell clonogenic assay was utilized to investigate the autocrine growth response of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) to bombesin (BN) and β-endorphin (β-E). Mycoplasma contamination was detected in the human SCLC cell line NCI-H345 by a nucleic acid hybridization assay which detects mycoplasma ribosomal RNA. Clonogenic assays of mycoplasma (+) cells were compared to assays of the same cell line following treatment for mycoplasma. Concentrations of β-E ranging from 0.1nM to 25nM or BN (0.1nM-100nM) were added to cells, media and agarose and applied to prepared base layers. Following incubation for 12-14 days at 37°C, the degree of clonal growth stimulation was determined by colony counts ≥42μ. The non-infected cell population grew in the presence of 25nM BN up to 69% over control growth. The infected cells, however, did not grow more than 27% above control. In the presence of 10nM β-E, colony counts of non-infected cells exceeded the control values by up to 187% whereas the mycoplasma (+) colonies did not grow more than 20% over the control values. These results indicate a marked reduction in the response of SCLC cell lines to the peptides BN and β-E when infected with mycoplasma. Since infecting mycoplasma typically adhere to cellular membranes, these adherent mycoplasma may interfere with membrane receptors or alter signal transduction, thus, inhibiting the development of the autocrine response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2471-2476
Number of pages6
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number25
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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