Nitric oxide (NO), an important effector molecule involved in immune regulation and host defense, was shown to induce apoptosis in lymphoma cells. In the present report the NO donor glycerol trinitrate was found to induce apoptosis in Jurkat cells that are sensitive to CD95-mediated kill. In contrast, a CD95-resistant Jurkat subclone showed substantial protection from apoptosis after exposure to NO. NO induced mRNA expression of CD95 (APO- 1/Fas) and TRAIL/APO-2 ligands. Moreover, NO triggered apoptosis in freshly isolated human leukemic lymphocytes which were also sensitive to anti-CD95 treatment. The ability of NO to induce apoptosis was completely blocked by a broad-spectrum ICE (interleukin-lβ converting enzyme)-protease/caspase inhibitor and correlated with FLICE/caspase-8 activation. This activation was abrogated in some neoplastic lymphoid cells but not in others by the inhibitor of protein synthesis cycloheximide. Our results were confirmed using an in vitro experimental model of coculture of human lymphoid target cells with activated bovine endothelial cells generating NO as effectors. Furthermore, the inhibition of endogenous NO production with the inducible NO synthase inhibitor N(G)monomethyl-L-arginine caused a complete abrogation of the apoptotic effect. Our data provide evidence that NO-induced apoptosis in human neoplastic lymphoid cells strictly requires activation of caspases, in particular FLICE, the most CD95 receptor-proximal caspase. Depending on the cell line tested this activation required or was independent of the CD95 receptor/ligand system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology