62 Citations (Scopus)


It has been demonstrated that nitric oxide (NO) can promote apoptosis in human cancer cells. To test the protective effects of antioxidants (N-acetyl-L-cysteine (LNAC)) and free-radical spin traps (5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide and 2,2,6,6,-tetramethyl-1-piperidinyloxy) against NO-induced apoptosis, a human colon cancer cell line (COLO 205) was treated with NO, and its survival rate was evaluated both with and without antioxidant therapy. LNAC arrested the development of progression of apoptosis in COLO 205 cells in a dose-dependent manner, promoted long-term survival, and prevented the internucleosomal DNA cleavage induced by NO. The intracellular level of glutathione (GSH) was found to be elevated in cells after exposure to LNAC. The bax protein levels were elevated by NO treatment, and this effect was blocked by LNAC. On the other hand, the bcl-2 oncoprotein level in the LNAC-pretreated cells was significantly elevated in a time-dependent manner compared to cells that received NO pretreatment. In summary, our results suggest that the protective effect of LNAC may be linked to its inducement of increases in cellular GSH and bcl-2 protein levels and to its suppression of cellular bax protein in treated cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-113
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Antioxidant
  • Apoptosis
  • Bax
  • Bcl-2
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Biology


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