A cardiotonic steroid bufalin-induced differentiation of THP-1 cells. Involvement of Na+, K+-ATPase inhibition in the early changes in proto-oncogene expression

Satoshi Numazawa, Naonori Inoue, Hironori Nakura, Tadashi Sugiyama, Emi Fujino, Masa Aki Shinoki, Takemi Yoshida, Yukio Kuroiwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Human monocytic leukemia THP-1 cells were induced to differentiate into macrophage-like cells by treatment with cardiotonic steroid bufalin, which was previously shown to interact with the Na+, K+-ATPase with similar kinetics to ouabain, a specific inhibitor of the enzyme. This induction of differentiation was characterized by loss of proliferation, cell adherence, increased ability to reduce Nitro Blue tetrazolium (NBT), and increased expression of interleukin 1β (IL-1β). During this process, bufalin down-regulated c-myb and c-myc expressions and induced c-fos and Egr-1 transcripts. Ouabain also caused similar changes in protooncogene expression and induced phenotypic markers of differentiated cells at concentrations comparable to bufalin. The 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate resistant THP-1 cell variant, which was unresponsive to this agent as to growth inhibition and proto-oncogene expression, responded to bufalin. The finding that protein kinase inhibitor H7 failed to inhibit bufalin-mediated c-fos induction further supports the theory that the signal transduction machinery caused by bufalin is separable from the phorbol ester. The cytotoxic effect of high doses of bufalin apparently disappeared in the medium where Na+ was replaced with choline ions. Furthermore, bufalin failed to induce c-fos expression and to downregulate c-myb transcripts in the low-Na+ medium. These findings indicate that an increased intracellular Na+ concentration resulting from the Na+, K+-ATPase inhibition possibly triggers the change in proto-oncogene expression evoked by bufalin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-329
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 26 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Na, K-ATPase
  • THP-1
  • TPA resistance
  • bufalin
  • cell differentiation
  • proto-oncogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'A cardiotonic steroid bufalin-induced differentiation of THP-1 cells. Involvement of Na<sup>+</sup>, K<sup>+</sup>-ATPase inhibition in the early changes in proto-oncogene expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this