• Authors: Furfaro, A. L., Macay, J. R., Marengo, B., Nitti, M., Parodi, A., Fenoglio, D., Marinari, U. M., Pronzato, M. A., Domenicotti, C., Traverso, N.
  • Year: 2012
  • Journal: Free Radic Biol Med 52 488-96
  • Applications: in vitro / siRNA / INTERFERin
  • Cell type: GI-ME-N
    Description: Human neuroblastoma cells


Cancer cell survival is known to be related to the ability to counteract oxidative stress, and glutathione (GSH) depletion has been proposed as a mechanism to sensitize cells to anticancer therapy. However, we observed that GI-ME-N cells, a neuroblastoma cell line without MYCN amplification, are able to survive even if GSH-depleted by l-buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine (BSO). Here, we show that in GI-ME-N cells, BSO activates Nrf2 and up-regulates heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Silencing of Nrf2 restrained HO-1 induction by BSO. Inhibition of HO-1 and silencing of Nrf2 or HO-1 sensitized GI-ME-N cells to BSO, leading to reactive oxygen/nitrogen species overproduction and decreasing viability. Moreover, targeting the Nrf2/HO-1 axis sensitized GI-ME-N cells to etoposide more than GSH depletion. Therefore, we have provided evidence that in GI-ME-N cells, the Nrf2/HO-1 axis plays a crucial role as a protective factor against cellular stress, and we suggest that the inhibition of Nfr2/HO-1 signaling should be considered as a central target in the clinical battle against neuroblastoma.