Effects of the synthetic anti-oxidant, probucol, on the U937 monoblastoid cell line

  • Lee Faulkner
    Correspondence to: Ms L. Faulkner, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, Bland-Sutton Institute, 48, Riding House St., London, W1P 7PN, UK
    British Heart Foundation Atheroma Research Group, University College & Middlesex School of Medicine and St George's Hospital Medical School, Bland-Sutton Institute, 48, Riding House St., London, WIP 7PN, UK
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  • Okezie I. Aruoma
    The Pharmacology Group, University of London King's College, Chelsea Campus, Manresa Road, London, SW3 6LX UK
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  • Paul M. Brickell
    Medical Molecular Biology Unit, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, Windeyer Building, Cleveland St., London, WIP 6BD, UK
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  • Michael J. Davies
    British Heart Foundation Atheroma Research Group, University College & Middlesex School of Medicine and St George's Hospital Medical School, Bland-Sutton Institute, 48, Riding House St., London, WIP 7PN, UK
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  • Barry Halliwell
    The Pharmacology Group, University of London King's College, Chelsea Campus, Manresa Road, London, SW3 6LX UK
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  • Neville Woolf
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  • David R. Katz
    British Heart Foundation Atheroma Research Group, University College & Middlesex School of Medicine and St George's Hospital Medical School, Bland-Sutton Institute, 48, Riding House St., London, WIP 7PN, UK
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      Probucol is a clinically important drug that decreases plasma cholesterol in humans and has a marked anti-atherogenic effect in hyperlipidaemic Watanabe rabbits. The action of probucol in this animal model has been partly attributed to its anti-oxidant abilities. Probucol can decrease the oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein and hence diminish its uptake by macrophages. In this paper, we have examined the effect of probucol on the monoblastic cell line U937 and on U937 cells induced to differentiate towards a macrophage phenotype by 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (DHCC), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) or phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). We found that probucol enhanced the proliferation of undifferentiated U937 cells. Probucol also enhanced proliferation in cultures that had been pre-treated with DHCC or TNFα, but had no effect on cultures that had been pre-treated with PMA. In contrast, when U937 cells were treated simultaneously with probucol and DHCC or TNF-α, there was a more marked decrease in proliferation than was induced by these agents in the absence of probucol. Probucol had little effect on the phenotype of resultant cells. The surface expression of CD 13 (aminopeptidase N), CD4, CD35 (C3b receptor), CD64 (FcyRI), CD71 (transferrin receptor) and HLA Class II was not affected by probucol. Probucol treatment led to a small increase in the surface expression of CD16 (FcγRIII) in TNF-a treated cells and to a small decrease in the expression of CD14 (a monocyte marker) in PMA-treated cells. The induction of c-fgr mRNA and TNF-α mRNA by DHCC or PMA or TNF-a was not significantly altered in the presence of probucol. The affect of probucol on U937 cells does not appear to be due to its anti-oxidant abilities because butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), an equally powerful anti-oxidant, did not have the same effect on the cell proliferation as probucol and because no changes were detected in the levels of lipid peroxidation in U937 cell culture supernatants.


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