Abstract Title:

Fish-Oil-Derived DHA-mediated Enhancement of Apoptosis in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cells is Associated with Accumulation of p53, Downregulation of Survivin, and Caspase-3 Activation.

Abstract Source:

Nutr Cancer. 2016 Nov 23:1-10. Epub 2016 Nov 23. PMID: 27880058

Abstract Author(s):

Mohammad Reza Sam, Mohammad Esmaeillou, Mohammad Ali Shokrgozar

Article Affiliation:

Mohammad Reza Sam


In acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), resistance to chemotherapy is associated with inactivation of p53 and upregulation of survivin. Thus, targeting the p53 and survivin expression may provide an attractive strategy for ALL treatment. It has been shown that fish-oil-derived docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) activates several antitumorigenic mechanisms in tumor cells, but little is known regarding the role of DHA on modulating p53 and survivin expression in ALL cells. In this study, we investigated the alterations of the p53 and survivin expression and induction of apoptosis in DHA-treated Molt-4 cells that serve as a model for ALL cells. Molt-4 cells were treated with 50, 100, 150, and 200 μM DHA after which cell proliferation, survivin mRNA and protein levels, p53 protein level, caspase-3 activation, and apoptotic rates were evaluated by different cellular and molecular techniques. After 48- and 72-h treatments with DHA at concentrations ranging from 50 to 200 μM, cell proliferation rates were measured to be 80.5-44.4%, and 73.4-14.4%, respectively, compared to untreated cells. We also found that treatment for 48 h with 200 μM DHA resulted in 10.8- and 3.6-fold increase in p53 protein level and caspase-3 activation followed by 4.7-and 1.6-fold decrease in survivin mRNAand protein levels, respectively, compared to untreated cells. Treatment of cells with different concentrations of DHA dramatically increased the p53/survivin and caspase-3/survivin ratios by 2.8- to 16.9-fold and 3.3 to 5.6-fold increases, respectively, compared to untreated cells. A decrease in the number of cells ranging from 16% to 70% and an increase in the number of apoptotic cells ranging from 9.3% to 93% was also observed with increasing DHA concentrations. In conclusion, p53 and survivin may provide promising targets of DHA in ALL cells and this compound with high proapoptotic capacity represents the possibility of its therapeutic application for ALL treatment.

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