Increased Activity and Expression of NAD(P)H:Quinone Acceptor Oxidoreductase in Confluent Cell Cultures and within Multicellular Spheroids

Roger M. Phillips, Aristotle De La Cruz, Robert D. Traver, Neil W. Gibson

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29 Citations (Scopus)


NAD(P)H:quinone acceptor oxidoreductase (NQOl, EC is an enzyme that is believed to play a central role in the bioreductive activation of several compounds, particularly quinones. The results of this study demonstrate that the activity of NQOl is significantly elevated (2.5-fold) in HT-29 human colon cells that are in the plateau phase of the growth curve as opposed to cells in the exponential phase. Analysis of gene expression using semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Northern blot analysis demonstrates that the increased enzyme activity is associated with increased NQOl mRNA levels. Sequential trypsinization of layers of cells from HT-29 multicellular spheroids and analysis of gene expression by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction demonstrate that NQOl expression is elevated in cells close to the necrotic center. Maximum expression occurs at a depth of 90-110 um, with reduced expression as the distance toward both the surface and the necrotic center decreases. HT-29 spheroids were significantly more responsive than monolayers (concentration producing 50% inhibition, 124.6 and 364 nM, respectively) to the experimental drug, 2,5-dimethyl-3,6 diaziridinyl-1,4 benzoquinone. While the environmental stimulus responsible for causing elevated NQOl expression has not been identified, the fact that NQOl expression is influenced by microenvironmental conditions will have important implications for those drugs that are activated by NQOl.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3766-3771
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes


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