Neuronal Cell Differentiation of Human Neuroblastoma Cells by Retinoic Acid plus Herbimycin A

Peter N. Preis, Hideyuki Saya, Laszlo Nadasdi, Guenther Hochhaus, Victor Levin, Wolfgang Sadee

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We investigated the effect of retinoic acid (RA) and herbimycin A (herb-A) on cell growth, cell differentiation, and colony formation of human neuroblastoma cell lines. The neuroblastoma line SK-N-SH expressed both neuroblast and nonneuronal phenotypes, whereas its sub-clone SH-SY5Y and the Kelly cell line were predominantly neuroblastic. Both herb-A and RA, given alone, moderately reduced cell growth and colony formation of the neuroblastic cell lines. Growth curve analyses with SK-N-SH suggested that herb-A greatly reduced the number of initially growing cells, whereas RA slightly enhanced initial cell growth. Morphological changes were determined with the use of rhodamine-phalloidin staining of actin. Retinoic acid caused an increase in the fraction of neuroblast cell in SK-N-SH, and conversely of nonneuronal cells in SH-SY5Y and Kelly cell lines. Both drugs also caused partial differentiation towards a neuronal phenotype, and herb-A induced selective lysis of nonneuronal cells of SK-N-SH. Because of their discrepant effects, RA (10 μM) and herb-A (236 nM) were tested in combination at a concentration that had only moderate effects when given alone. The combination further reduced cell growth and colony formation and dramatically enhanced differentiation towards a neuronal morphology. The Kelly cell line with amplified N-myc genome, which correlates with clinical progression of neuroblastoma, was also sensitive to RA plus herb-A. These results recommend the combination of RA and herb-A for differentiation therapy of neuroblastoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6530-6534
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1988 Nov
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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