Cupric nitrilotriacetate induces oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells

Yuxiang Ma, Liu Cao, Teruyuki Kawabata, Tadashi Yoshino, Burton B. Yang, Shigeru Okada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Recent reports have implicated a possible role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the induction and mediation of apoptosis and DNA damage. Oxidative DNA base modification induced by cupric nitrilotriacetate (Cu-NTA) and the following apoptosis were observed in human promyelocytic leukemia HL- 60 cells. We measured the level of ROS in the cells by using a fluorescence probe, 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA), and the amount of a modified DNA base, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) by HPLC-ECD. It was found that Cu-NTA exposure significantly enhanced ROS and 8-OHdG formation in the cells. Meanwhile, we observed both DNA fragmentation and morphological changes characteristic of apoptosis, which was also determined quantitatively by flow cytometry and showed dose- and time-dependent manners. Furthermore, several antioxidants such as dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase were used to detect whether the apoptosis could be blocked. Only DMSO protected against this form of cell death. To elucidate molecular events in the apoptosis, expressions of Bcl-2 protein family members, such as Bcl-2, Bcl-X and Bax, and heat shock protein 70 (HSP-70) were measured by western blotting using specific antibodies. The levels of Bax and Bcl-X(S) remained largely unchanged, but the Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) expression showed down-regulation. After 24 h incubation in the presence of copper, the levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) reduced about 33.8% and 51.1% compared with untreated cells, respectively. Furthermore, after 16 h incubation, the level of HSP-70 expression was about 3.4-fold greater than that in untreated cells, suggesting that HSP-70 is important in increasing resistance to oxidative stress induced by Cu-NTA. But overexpression of HSP- 70 failed to protect HL-60 cells from apoptosis induced by Cu-NTA. We inferred that Cu-NTA may induce oxidative DNA damage through free radical injuries, which may turn on the apoptosis in HL-60 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-575
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998


  • Apoptosis
  • Copper
  • DNA damage
  • Free radicals
  • HL-60 cells
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cupric nitrilotriacetate induces oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this