Differentiation intensifies the susceptibility of pheochromocytoma cells to antisense oligodeoxynucleotide-dependent suppression of acetylcholinesterase activity

To investigate the effect of neuronal differentiation on the capacity of antisense oligonucleotides (AS-ODNs) to suppress the production of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in rat pheochromocytoma cells, we tested seven 3′-phosphorothioated AS-ODNs targeted to ACHEmRNA and two control ODNs. Three different administration protocols were used: oligonucleotides were added at 1 microM for 24 hours to nondifferentiated PC12 cells, together with nerve growth factor (NGF) or 24 hours following NGF-induced cholinergic differentiation. The content of free thiol groups in lysed cells was measured to evaluate cell number, therefore, survival, and the rate of acetylthiocholine hydrolysis was the measure of AChE activity. Among nondifferentiated cells, over 95% survived treatment with 8 of 9 of the ODNs. Moreover, two AS-ODN suppressed AChE activity in non-differentiated PC12 cells by 16%-20% as compared with 10% suppression by control ODNs (P < or = 0.01). When added concurrently with NGF, one other AS-ODN suppressed AChE activity significantly better (28%) than the control ODNs (16%). Moreover, when added following NGF treatment, which induced a significant increase in AChE activity, four different AS-ODNs but not the control ODNs suppressed 20%-35% of the enhanced AChE activity (p < or = 0.01). Reduced levels of AChE mRNA but no difference in actin mRNA levels were observed by following the kinetics of RT-PCR amplification in differentiated PC12 cells treated with these four AS-ODNs, as compared with control cells. Our findings demonstrate a differentiation-related increase in the susceptibility of PC12 cells to inhibition by specific AS-ODNs, suggesting the use of this model system to select AS-ODNs for suppression of AChE levels in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with cholinergic malfunction.

Authors: Grifman M, Soreq H.
Year of publication: 1997
Journal: Antisense Nucleic Acid Drug Dev. 1997 Aug;7(4):351-9.

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