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Rapid caspase-dependent cell death in cultured human breast cancer cells induced by the polyamine analogue N-1,N-11-diethylnorspermine

  • Cecilia Hegardt
  • OT Johannsson
  • Stina Oredsson
Publishing year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 1033-1039
Publication/Series: European Journal of Biochemistry
Volume: 269
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The spen-nine analogue N-1,N-11-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM) efficiently depletes the cellular pools of putrescine, spermidine and spermine by down-regulating the activity of the polyamine biosynthetic enzymes and up-regulating the activity of the catabolic enzyme spermidine/spermine N-1-acetyltransferase (SSAT). In the breast cancer cell line L56Br-Cl. treatment with 10 muM DENSPM induced SSAT activity 60 and 240-fold at 24 and 48 h after seeding. respectively, which resulted in polyamine depletion. Cell proliferation appeared to be totally inhibited and within 48 h of treatment, there was an extensive apoptotic response. Fifty percent of the cells were found in the sub-G(1) region, as determined by flow cytometry, and the presence of apoptotic nuclei was morphologically assessed by fluorescence microscopy. Caspase-3 and caspase-9 activities were significantly elevated 24 h after seeding, At 48 h after seeding, caspase-3 and caspase-9 activities were further elevated and at this time point a significant activation of caspase-8 was also found. The DENSPM-induced cell death was dependent on the activation of the caspases as it was inhibited by the general caspase inhibitor Z-Val-Ala-Asp fluoromethyl ketone. The results are discussed in the fight of the L56Br-Cl cells containing mutated BRCA1 and p53, two genes involved in DNA repair.


  • Cancer and Oncology
  • N-11-diethylnorspermine
  • N-1
  • DNA fragmentation
  • caspase
  • apoptosis
  • breast cancer cells


  • ISSN: 0014-2956
Stina Oredsson
E-mail: stina [dot] oredsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

+46 46 222 94 97



Principal investigator

LUCC - Lund University Cancer Centre

Research group

Animal Physiology


Cell proliferation

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD Students, main supervisor

Wendy Soria Sotillo

PhD Students, assistant supervisor

Atena Malakpour Permlid