Spermine toxicity and glutathione depletion in BHK-21/C13 cells

V G Brunton, M H Grant, H M Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Spermine, a polycationic amine, produced a dose-dependent inhibition of BHK-21/C13 cell growth. This response was not due to the extracellular metabolism of spermine by an amine oxidase found in bovine serum, as the toxicity was observed when the cells were grown in medium supplemented with horse serum. Three indices were used to monitor cell growth, cell number, protein content and [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA. Spermine (2mM) caused significant reductions in all three measurements after a 6-8 hr exposure. The amine was rapidly taken up into the cells reaching levels 15-16-fold greater than in control cells within 2 hr. There was a rapid loss of intracellular reduced glutathione following exposure to toxic concentrations of spermine, which occurred before any effect on cell growth. Three methods for the determination of intracellular glutathione content were compared in this system. The effect on both cell growth and glutathione was reversible following removal of spermine from the extracellular medium. The possible mechanisms involved in this toxic response are discussed with particular reference to the depletion in intracellular reduced glutathione.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1893-900
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 1990

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival
  • Cricetinae
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione
  • Polyamines
  • Spermine
  • Time Factors


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