Amiloride inhibits murine erythroleukemia cell differentiation: Evidence for a Ca2+ requirement for commitment

Robert Levenson, D. Housman, L. Cantley

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The effect of amiloride (an inhibitor of passive Na+ transport in many tissues) on the differentiation of murine erythroleukemia cells was investigated. Amiloride completely blocked the dimethyl sulfoxide (Me2SO)-induced erythroid differentiation of cells at a concentration (10 μg/ml) that did not affect cell proliferation. Amiloride also prevented the decrease in cell volume normally observed after a 20-hr exposure to Me2SO. The ratio of total cell Na+ to total cell water was essentially the same for control cells, Me2SO-treated cells, and cells treated with Me2SO plus amiloride. However, cells treated for 24 hr with Me2SO had a rate of Ca2+ uptake that was twice that of untreated cells and a similarly higher Ca2+ content. Addition of amiloride plus Me2SO prevented both the increase in Ca2+ uptake rate and the increase in Ca2+ content. Cells grown in the presence of Me2SO plus amiloride initiated differentiation immediately after removal of amiloride or addition of the Ca2+ ionophore A23187 (1 μg/ml). Addition of sufficient ethylene glycol bis(β-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid to reduce free extracellular Ca2+ to submicromolar levels prevented Me2SO-induced differentiation while only slightly affecting cell proliferation. These results suggest that an increase in the Ca2+ level is an essential step in Me2SO induction, that amiloride either directly or indirectly inhibits this process, and that Me2SO has an early effect on cells that is necessary for differentiation and is not mimicked by A23187.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5948-5952
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10 II
StatePublished - 1980

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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