Di-2-pyridylketone-4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone possesses potent and selective antitumor activity. Its cytotoxicity has been attributed to iron chelation leading to inhibition of the iron-containing enzyme ribonucleotide reductase (RR). Thiosemicarbazone iron complexes have been shown to be redox-active, although their effect on cellular antioxidant systems is unclear. Using a variety of antioxidants, we found that only N-acetylcysteine significantly inhibited thiosemicarbazone-induced antiproliferative activity. Thus, we examined the effects of thiosemicarbazones on major thiol-containing systems considering their key involvement in providing reducing equivalents for RR. Thiosemicarbazones significantly (p < 0.001) elevated oxidized trimeric thioredoxin levels to 213 ± 5% (n = 3) of the control. This was most likely due to a significant (p < 0.01) decrease in thioredoxin reductase activity to 65 ± 6% (n = 4) of the control. We were surprised to find that the non-redox-active chelator desferrioxamine increased thioredoxin oxidation to a lower extent (152 ± 9%; n = 3) and inhibited thioredoxin reductase activity (62 ± 5%; n = 4), but at a 10-fold higher concentration than thiosemicarbazones. In contrast, only the thiosemicarbazones significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the glutathione/oxidized-glutathione ratio and the activity of glutaredoxin that requires glutathione as a reductant. All chelators significantly decreased RR activity, whereas the NADPH/NADP total ratio was not reduced. This was important to consider because NADPH is required for thiol reduction. Thus, thiosemicarbazones could have an additional mechanism of RR inhibition via their effects on major thiol-containing systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine