1. To investigate the possibility that cholinesterase inhibitors may cause adverse hematopoietic effects, we employed antisense oligodeoxynucleotides selectively inhibiting butyrylcholinesterase gene expression (AS-BCHE). Complementary sense (S) oligonucleotides served as controls. 2. In primary bone marrow cell cultures grown with interleukin 3 (IL-3), AS-BCHE but not S-BCHE reduced growth of megakaryocyte colony-forming units (CFU-MK) in a dose-dependent manner at the micromolar range. 3. In cultures grown with IL-3, transferrin, and erythropoietin (Epo), cell counts increased up to twofold, yet colony counts (CFU-GEMM) remained unchanged under AS-BCHE treatment. 4. Electrophoretic measurements of DNA ladder as an apoptotic index revealed that the above oligonucleotide effects were not due to nonspecific induction of programmed cell death. 5. Differential cell counts demonstrated increased myeloidogenesis and reduced levels of early megakaryocytes in CFU-GEMM under AS-BCHE, suggesting requirement of the BuChE protein for megakaryopoiesis. 6. In vivo injection of AS-BCHE reduced BCHE mRNA levels in both young and mature megakaryocytes for as long as 20 days, as shown by in situ hybridization. 7. Ex vivo growth of primary bone marrow cells revealed a twofold reduction in CFU-MK colonies grown from the AS-BCHE- but not the S-BCHE-injected mice, 15 days posttreatment. 8. These findings demonstrate that deficient butyrylcholinesterase expression, and hence interference with this enzyme’s activity through treatment with or exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors, may cause hematopoietic differences in treated patients.
Antisense inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase gene expression predicts adverse hematopoietic consequences to cholinesterase inhibitors
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