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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs cause apoptosis and induce cyclooxygenases in chicken embryo fibroblasts.

Programmed cell death (apoptosis) is an intrinsic part of organismal development and aging. Here we report that many nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) cause apoptosis when applied to v-src-transformed chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs). Cell death was characterized by morphological changes, the induction of tissue transglutaminase, and autodigestion of DNA. Dexamethasone, a repressor of cyclooxygenase (COX) 2, neither induced apoptosis nor altered the NSAID effect. Prostaglandin E2, the primary eicosanoid made by CEFs, also failed to inhibit apoptosis. Expression of the protooncogene bcl-2 is very low in CEFs and is not altered by NSAID treatment. In contrast, p20, a protein that may protect against apoptosis when fibroblasts enter G0 phase, was strongly repressed. The NSAID concentrations used here transiently inhibit COXs. Nevertheless, COX-1 and COX-2 mRNAs and COX-2 protein were induced. In some cell types, then, chronic NSAID treatment may lead to increased, rather than decreased, COX activity and, thus, exacerbate prostaglandin-mediated inflammatory effects. The COX-2 transcript is a partially spliced and nonfunctional form previously described. Thus, these findings suggest that COXs and their products play key roles in preventing apoptosis in CEFs and perhaps other cell types.[1]


  1. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs cause apoptosis and induce cyclooxygenases in chicken embryo fibroblasts. Lu, X., Xie, W., Reed, D., Bradshaw, W.S., Simmons, D.L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
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