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Curcumin enhances the cytogenotoxic effect of etoposide in leukemia cells through induction of reactive oxygen species

Authors Papiez M, Krzyściak W, Szade K, Bukowska-Straková K, Kozakowska M, Hajduk K, Bystrowska B, Dulak J, Jozkowicz A

Received 19 July 2015

Accepted for publication 25 November 2015

Published 4 February 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 557—570


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan

Monika A Papież,1 Wirginia Krzyściak,2 Krzysztof Szade,3 Karolina Bukowska-Straková,3,4 Magdalena Kozakowska,3 Karolina Hajduk,3 Beata Bystrowska,5 Jozef Dulak,3,6 Alicja Jozkowicz3

1Department of Cytobiology, 2Department of Medical Diagnostic, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 3Department of Medical Biotechnology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, 4Department of Clinical Immunology, Institute of Pediatrics, 5Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 6Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Abstract: Curcumin may exert a more selective cytotoxic effect in tumor cells with elevated levels of free radicals. Here, we investigated whether curcumin can modulate etoposide action in myeloid leukemia cells and in normal cells of hematopoietic origin. HL-60 cell line, normal myeloid progenitor cluster of differentiation (CD)-34+ cells, and granulocytes were incubated for 4 or 24 hours at different concentrations of curcumin and/or etoposide. Brown Norway rats with acute myeloid leukemia (BNML) were used to prove the influence of curcumin on etoposide action in vivo. Rats were treated with curcumin for 23 days and etoposide was administered for the final 3 days of the experiment. Curcumin synergistically potentiated the cytotoxic effect of etoposide, and it intensified apoptosis and phosphorylation of the histone H2AX induced by this cytostatic drug in leukemic HL-60 cells. In contrast, curcumin did not significantly modify etoposide-induced cytotoxicity and H2AX phosphorylation in normal CD34+ cells and granulocytes. Curcumin modified the cytotoxic action of etoposide in HL-60 cells through intensification of free radical production because preincubation with N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) significantly reduced the cytotoxic effect of curcumin itself and a combination of two compounds. In contrast, NAC did not decrease the cytotoxic effect of etoposide. Thus, oxidative stress plays a greater role in the cytotoxic effect of curcumin than that of etoposide in HL-60 cells. In vitro results were confirmed in a BNML model. Pretreatment with curcumin enhanced the antileukemic activity of etoposide in BNML rats (1.57-fold tumor reduction versus etoposide alone; P<0.05) and induced apoptosis of BNML cells more efficiently than etoposide alone (1.54-fold change versus etoposide alone; P<0.05), but this treatment protected nonleukemic B-cells from apoptosis. Thus, curcumin can increase the antileukemic effect of etoposide through reactive oxygen species in sensitive myeloid leukemia cells, and it is harmless to normal human cells.

Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia, curcumin, etoposide, ROS, γ-H2AX, apoptosis

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