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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(2), 2307-2319;

Gentamicin Arrests Cancer Cell Growth: The Intriguing Involvement of Nuclear Sphingomyelin Metabolism

Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Perugia, Perugia 06122, Italy
Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Udine, Udine 33100, Italy
Laboratory of Nuclear Lipid BioPathology, CRABiON, Perugia 06122, Italy
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: William Chi-shing Cho
Received: 11 December 2014 / Revised: 29 December 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 22 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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The use of gentamicin for the treatment of bacterial infection has always been an interesting and highly speculated issue for the scientific community. Conversely, its effect on cancer cells has been very little investigated. We studied the effect of high doses of gentamicin on non-Hodgkin’s T-cell human lymphoblastic lymphoma (SUP-T1). We showed that gentamicin delayed cell growth and induced cell death in lymphoma cells with a rather mild effect on lymphocytes. In SUP-T1 cells, GAPDH, B2M, CDKN1A and CDKN1B were down-expressed in comparison with lymphocytes. Gentamicin treatment in SUP-T1 cells restored the expression of GAPDH, B2M and CDKN1A to values similar to those of lymphocytes and caused overexpression of CDKN1B. The drug acted via sphingomyelin metabolism; in whole cells, sphingomyelinase activity was stimulated, whereas in purified nuclei, sphingomyelinase activity was inhibited and that of sphingomyelin-synthase was stimulated, with a consequent high level of nuclear sphingomyelin content. We suggest that the increase of nuclear sphingomyelin might enrich the nucleus of lipid microdomains that act as a platform for active chromatin and, thus, might be responsible for gene expression. It is possible that in lymphoblastic lymphoma, high doses of gentamicin induce a beneficial therapeutic outcome. View Full-Text
Keywords: gentamicin; lymphoma; nucleus; sphingomyelinase; sphingomyelin synthase gentamicin; lymphoma; nucleus; sphingomyelinase; sphingomyelin synthase

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Codini, M.; Cataldi, S.; Ambesi-Impiombato, F.S.; Lazzarini, A.; Floridi, A.; Lazzarini, R.; Curcio, F.; Beccari, T.; Albi, E. Gentamicin Arrests Cancer Cell Growth: The Intriguing Involvement of Nuclear Sphingomyelin Metabolism. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 2307-2319.

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