Monocytic differentiation of leukemic HL-60 cells induced by co-treatment with TNF-alpha and MK886 requires activation of pro-apoptotic machinery
The block of hematopoietic differentiation program in acute myeloid leukemia cells can be overcome by differentiating agent like retinoic acid, but it has several side effects. A study of other differentiation signaling pathways is therefore useful to predict potential targets of anti-leukemic therapy. We demonstrated previously that the co-treatment of HL-60 cells with Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) (1 ng/mL) and inhibitor of 5-lipoxygenase MK886 (5 mu M) potentiated both monocytic differentiation and apoptosis. In this study, we detected enhanced activation of three main types of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) (p38, c-Jun amino-terminal kinase [JNK], extracellular signal-regulated kinase [ERK]), so we assessed their role in differentiation using appropriate pharmacologic inhibitors. The inhibition of pro-apoptotic MAPKs (p38 and JNK) suppressed the effect of MK886 + TNF-alpha co-treatment. On the other hand, down-regulation of prosurvival ERK pathway led to increased differentiation. Those effects were accompanied by increased activation of caspases in cells treated by MK886 + TNF-alpha. Pan-caspase inhibitor ZVAD-fmk significantly decreased both number of apoptotic and differentiated cells. The same effect was observed after inhibition of caspase 9, but not caspase 3 and 8. To conclude, we evidenced that the activation of apoptotic processes and pathways supporting apoptosis (p38 and JNK MAPKs) is required for the monocytic differentiation of HL-60 cells.