Drug Discov Ther. 2016;10(4):195-200. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2016.01049)

Dividing phase-dependent cytotoxicity profiling of human embryonic lung fibroblast identifies candidate anticancer reagents.

Inagaki Y, Matsumoto Y, Tang W, Sekimizu K


Human Embryonic Lung fibroblasts (HEL cells) are widely used as a normal cell in studies of cell biology and can be easily maintained in the resting phase. Here we aimed to discover compounds that exhibit cytotoxicity against HEL cells in the dividing phase, but not in the resting phase. The cytotoxicity of each compound against HEL cells either in the resting phase or in the dividing phase was determined by MTT assay. Ratios of the IC50 of cells in the resting phase and that of cells in the dividing phase (RRD) for these compounds were compared. We selected 44 compounds that exhibited toxic effects on HEL cells in the dividing phase from a chemical library containing 325 anticancer drugs and enzyme inhibitors. The RRD values of those compounds were widely distributed. Paclitaxel and docetaxel, which are clinically used as anticancer drugs, had RRD values larger than 2000. On the other hand, the RRD value of dimethyl sulfoxide, an organic solvent, was 1. The cytotoxic effect of paclitaxel on HEL cells in the dividing phase was attenuated by aphidicolin, hydroxyurea, and nocodazole, confirming that the cytotoxic effects of paclitaxel are dependent on cells being in the dividing phase. Thapsigargin, whose RRD value was 800, the third highest RRD value in the library, exhibited therapeutic effects in a mouse model of FM3A ascites carcinoma. We suggest that compounds with high RRD values for HEL cells are candidate anticancer chemotherapy seeds.

KEYWORDS: Dividing-phase cell, resting-phase cell, anti-cancer reagent, screening, human embryonic lung fibroblast, thapsigargin

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