INTRODUCTION: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B plasma cell malignancy currently incurable, and novel therapeutics are needed. Evidences regarding the effect of natural compound schweinfurthins suggest that hematological cancers showed growth inhibitory effects to this family of compounds at single nanomolar concentrations. In this study, we evaluated the cytotoxicity of the schweinfurthin synthetic analog 5'-methylschweinfurthin G (MeSG) in MM cell lines, to better understand the validity of this compound as a therapeutic candidate for further studies in MM. METHODS: MeSG toxicity against MM cell lines RPMI-8226, MM.1S, and H-929 was evaluated. Trypan blue exclusion and MTT assays measured cell viability and mitochondrial activity, respectively. Flow cytometry was performed to detect apoptotic mitochondria. Flow cytometry and Western blotting techniques were used to investigate apoptosis and to examine the cell cycle. Western blotting was used to determine AKT activation upon MeSG treatment. RESULTS: We provide evidence that in all MM cells analyzed, MeSG exerts diverse cytotoxic effects. MeSG treatment of MM.1S and H-929, but not in RPMI-8226, causes a loss of mitochondria membrane potential. MeSG causes an arrest in G2/M, especially in RPMI-8226, supported by decreased levels of cyclin-B1 and early increased levels of p21. Finally, there is a diverse response to the MeSG treatment for AKT phosphorylation. MM.1S and H-929 showed a marked decrease in AKT phosphorylation at earlier time points compared to the RPMI-8226 line. CONCLUSIONS: MeSG cytotoxicity has been confirmed in all of 3 cell lines studied. Results suggest an early event of increased reactive oxygen species, and/or involvement of cholesterol homeostasis via decreased AKT activation, both of which are currently under investigation.
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