Oxygenation conditions are crucial for growth and tumor progression. Recent data suggests a decrease in cancer cell proliferation occurring after exposure to normobaric hyperoxia. Those changes are associated with fractal dimension. The purpose of this research was to study the impact of hyperoxia on apoptosis and morphology of leukemia cell lines. Two hematopoietic lymphoid cancer cell lines (a T-lymphoblastoid line, JURKAT and a B lymphoid line, CCRF-SB) were tested under conditions of normobaric hyperoxia (FiO2 > 60%, ± 18h) and compared to a standard group (FiO2 = 21%). We tested for apoptosis using a caspase-3 assay. Cell morphology was evaluated by cytospin, microphotography after coloration, and analysis by a fractal dimension calculation software. Our results showed that exposure of cell cultures to transient normobaric hyperoxia induced apoptosis (elevated caspase-3) as well as significant and precocious modifications in cell complexity, as highlighted by increased fractal dimensions in both cell lines. These features are associated with changes in structure (pycnotic nucleus and apoptosis) recorded by microscopic analysis. Such morphological alterations could be due to several molecular mechanisms and rearrangements in the cancer cell, leading to cell cycle inhibition and apoptosis as shown by caspase-3 activity. T cells seem less resistant to hyperoxia than B cells.
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