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Molecular pharmacology

6-Mercaptopurine decreases the Bcl-2/Bax ratio and induces apoptosis in activated splenic B lymphocytes.


PMID 9058596

Abstract

6-Mercaptopurine and related purine antimetabolites are used in the treatment of several B cell disorders. These drugs inhibited the proliferation of mature splenic B cells after being triggered with polyclonal mitogens. In addition to the antiproliferative effects, 6-mercaptopurine, 2-mercaptopurine, and aminoguanidine evoked a rapid apoptotic cell death in activated B cells that started at 6 hr after drug treatment and therefore preceded DNA synthesis. Incubation of activated B lymphocytes with 6-mercaptopurine blocked the low but sustained nitric oxide release observed in these cells that contributes to the prevention of apoptotic cell death; the addition of chemical nitric oxide donors significantly antagonized the apoptosis elicited by these drugs. The inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis elicited by mercaptopurines correlated with a decrease in the release of nitric oxide-derived species to the culture medium and in the intracellular levels of cGMP. The ratio between the amounts of Bcl-2 and Bax, two proteins involved in the control of apoptosis in mature B cells, markedly decreased as result of mercaptopurine treatment.

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M6875
2-Mercaptopurine, ≥95%, crystalline
C5H4N4S