Objective: We have previously shown that Adenovirus-p53 (Ad-p53) is a potent inducer of apoptosis in myeloma cells expressing nonfunctional p53 and low levels of bcl-2 and that Apo2L/TRAIL is a potent inducer of apoptosis, independent of bcl-2. A study was designed to test the synergy between Ad-p53 and Apo2L/TRAIL in the induction of apoptosis in relation to the expression of DR4/DR5 and DcR1, in cells undergoing Ad-p53-induced apoptosis.
Methods: Replication deficient Ad-p53 and human recombinant Apo2L/TRAIL were used. Myeloma cells with mutated/w.t. p53 and varying expression of bcl-2 were used to test the effect of Ad-p53, Apo2L/TRAIL, or both, on apoptosis, measured by annexin V.
Results: Treatment with Ad-p53 resulted in a dose-dependent apoptosis concomitant with a dose-dependent increase in the expression of DR4/DR5 and a decrease in the expression of DcR1, in Ad-p53-sensitive cell lines. In these cells, addition of Apo2L/TRAIL to cells treated with Ad-p53 resulted in a dose-dependent increase in apoptosis. Myeloma cells resistant to Ad-p53 had high levels of DR4/DR5 and high levels of DcR1 and treatment with Ad-p53 did not reduce the expression of DcR1. Also, addition of Apo2L/TRAIL to Ad-p53 did not affect the level of apoptosis beyond the level of apoptosis observed with Apo2L/TRAIL alone.
Conclusions: 1) Cotreatment with Ad-p53 and Apo2L/TRAIL resulted in additive apoptosis in myeloma cells expressing nonfunctional p53 and low levels of bcl-2. 2) Resistance to Ad-p53 or to the combination of Ad-p53 and Apo2L/TRAIL was not due to the lack of adenovirus receptor (CAR) or low expression of DR4/DR5 but rather due to the relatively high expression of DcR1 receptor.