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26 August 2017 : Laboratory Research  

Induction of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage by Antibiotic Drug Doxycycline Enhances the Responsiveness of Glioblastoma to Chemotherapy

Qian Tan1ABCDEF, Xiaoqiong Yan1ABCDEF, Lin Song1BCD, Hongxiang Yi1B, Ping Li1B, Guobin Sun1B, Danfang Yu1E, Le Li1E, Zheng Zeng1E, Zhenlin Guo1ACDEG*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.903245

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:4117-4125


BACKGROUND: Inducing mitochondrial dysfunction has been recently demonstrated to be an alternative therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that has been shown to have anti-cancer activities in various cancers by way of targeting mitochondria. In this work, we examined whether doxycycline can be repurposed for glioblastoma treatment.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The effects of doxycycline on the growth, survival, and mitochondrial metabolisms of glioblastoma were investigated. The efficacy of a combination of doxycycline with temozolomide was examined using xenograft mouse model in total number of 40 mice.

RESULTS: Doxycycline targeted glioblastoma cell lines, regardless of their origin, through inhibiting growth and inducing cell death, accompanied by a significant decrease in proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and increase in cleaved caspase-3. In addition, doxycycline significantly sensitized glioblastoma cell response to temozolomide in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, doxycycline disrupted mitochondrial functions through decreasing mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial respiration. Inducing mitochondrial dysfunctions by using doxycycline led to energy crisis, oxidative stress, and damage as shown by the decreased levels of ATP and the elevated levels of mitochondrial superoxide, intracellular ROS, 8-OHdG, protein carbonylation, and lipid peroxidation. An antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) significantly abolished the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of doxycycline, demonstrating that doxycycline acts on glioblastoma via inducing oxidative stress.

CONCLUSIONS: In our study, we show that the antibiotic doxycycline is effective in targeting glioblastoma through inducing mitochondrial dysfunctions and oxidative stress. Our work also demonstrated the importance of mitochondrial metabolism in glioblastoma.

Keywords: doxycycline, Glioblastoma, Mitochondria


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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research eISSN: 2325-4416
Medical Science Monitor Basic Research eISSN: 2325-4416