Cell biology and toxicology

Inhibitory effect of a naphthazarin derivative, S64, on heat shock factor (Hsf) activation and glutathione status following hypoxia.

PMID 14703115


The presence of hypoxic cells in solid tumors has long been considered a problem in cancer treatment. Resistance of hypoxic cells to ionizing radiation and anticancer drugs has in part been attributed to changes in altered gene expression by hypoxia. We previously reported an activation of heat shock factor (Hsf) in murine tumor RIF cells following hypoxia and suggested that a subsequent accumulation of heat shock protein(s) (Hsp) is likely to contribute to the malignant progression of hypoxic tumor cells (Baek et al., 2001). In this study, we showed that hypoxia induced a DNA-binding activity of Hsf and activation of hsp70 gene expression in colon cancer Clone A cells, and that a naphthazarin derivative, S64, significantly inhibited the hypoxia-inducible hsp70 gene expression in Clone A cells. We also showed that S64 significantly reduced the cellular glutathione levels in this cell line. Considering the proposed effects of Hsp and glutathione on radiation and chemotherapy sensitivity, we suggest that the inhibitory effects of S64 on Hsf activation and cellular glutathione levels have potentially important clinical implications. We believe that the previously reported in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor effect of S64 (Song et al., 2000a, 2001) might be attributed, at least in part, to its effect on Hsf activation and/or glutathione depletion. We also believe that the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of S64 on Hsf and glutathione level following hypoxia deserve a more rigorous future study, the results of which could offer novel strategy to manipulate the resistance mechanisms of solid tumors.

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5,8-Dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, technical grade