Toxicology mechanisms and methods

Differentiated NSC-34 cells as an in vitro cell model for VX.

PMID 25045830


The US military has placed major emphasis on developing therapeutics against nerve agents (NA). Current efforts are hindered by the lack of effective in vitro cellular models to aid in the preliminary screening of potential candidate drugs/antidotes. The development of an in vitro cellular model to aid in discovering new NA therapeutics would be highly beneficial. In this regard, we have examined the response of a differentiated hybrid neuronal cell line, NSC-34, to the NA VX. VX-induced apoptosis of differentiated NSC-34 cells was measured by monitoring the changes in caspase-3 and caspase-9 activity post-exposure. Differentiated NSC-34 cells showed an increase in caspase-3 activity in a manner dependent on both time (17-23 h post-exposure) and dose (10-100 nM). The maximal increase in caspase-3 activity was found to be at 20-h post-exposure. Caspase-9 activity was also measured in response to VX and was found to be elevated at all concentrations (10-100 nM) tested. VX-induced cell death was also observed by utilizing annexin V/propidium iodide flow cytometry. Finally, VX-induced caspase-3 or -9 activities were reduced with the addition of pralidoxime (2-PAM), one of the current therapeutics used against NA toxicity, and dizocilpine (MK-801). Overall the data presented here show that differentiated NSC-34 cells are sensitive to VX-induced cell death and could be a viable in vitro cell model for screening NA candidate therapeutics.

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