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

Antiproliferative effects of N1,N4-dibenzylputrescine in human and rodent tumor cells.

Polyamines (putrescine, spermidine and spermine) increase in proliferating tissues and are essential for cellular growth and cell division processes. We had previously shown that alkyl substituted putrescines can inhibit cell proliferation. We now tested the effects of the (N(alpha),N(omega)-dibenzyl derivatives of the simple diamines putrescine, cadaverine and 1,3-diaminopropane on the growth of three human squamous cell carcinoma ( SCC) lines and a rat hepatoma (H-4-II-E) cell line. Survival assays were measured by treating exponentially-growing SCC cultures with N1,N4-dibenzylputrescine (DBP) (270 microM) or a rat hepatoma cell culture with DBP (100 microM) for 48 hrs. Inhibition of cell growth was measured either by the colony forming assay or by cell counting. DBP inhibited proliferation of the rat hepatoma (H-4-II-E) cell line and induced cytotoxicity when used at a concentration of 100 microM for >48 hrs. N1,N5-dibenzylcadaverine (DBC) also induced cytotoxicity at a similar concentration, while N1,N3-dibenzyl-1,3-diaminopropane (DBPr) was a much weaker inhibitor of cell growth. Inhibition of cell growth by DBP resulted in marked modifications of cell morphology, such as vacuole formation, decrease in size, pycnosis, change in staining behavior toward trypan blue and lack of adherence. DBP was also growth inhibitory in the three human SCC cell lines tested. The concentration of DBP required to achieve growth inhibition of SCC cells could be dramatically decreased in the presence of N1,N4-bis(buta-2,3-dienyl)butanediamine, a specific inhibitor of polyamine oxidase ( PAOI). Moreover, although the presence of PAOI only prevented the oxidation (debenzylation) of approximately 20% of intracellular DBP over a 5-day period, it produced a 5-fold increase in the inhibition of cell proliferation by DBP. DBP (and DBC) inhibited putrescine uptake by rat hepatoma (H-4-II-E) cells in what appears to be a competitive reaction. A tenfold excess of putrescine over DBP did not inhibit the antiproliferative or cytotoxic effects of the latter. DBP administered for 72 hrs. depleted intracellular levels of putrescine, spermidine and spermine in the SCC lines by 50-100% of control values. It was found that DBP inhibited nucleic acid and protein synthesis at an early stage of cell proliferation, hence its growth inhibitory effect may be related to inhibition of the synthesis of macromolecules.[1]


  1. Antiproliferative effects of N1,N4-dibenzylputrescine in human and rodent tumor cells. Aizencang, G., Harari, P., Buldain, G., Guerra, L., Pickart, M., Hernandez, P., Frydman, B. Cell. Mol. Biol. (Noisy-le-grand) (1998) [Pubmed]
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