Calcium chelation induced glutathione efflux from tumor cells and prevention by ruthenium red or neomycin

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1991 Apr 15;176(1):276-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-291x(91)90920-3.


Cultured human lung carcinoma cells (A549) were incubated in a calcium-free medium containing calcium chelators (EGTA, 1-10 mM or BAPTA, 5 mM) for 1 hour at 37 degrees C. With limited toxicity, the presence of calcium chelators resulted in a decrease of cellular GSH and detachment of the cells from the tissue culture flask. The permeable EGTA tetraacetoxymethyl ester (0.5mM-5 mM) caused a decrease in the cellular GSH content without cell detachment. GSH was not oxidized to GSSG nor formed mixed disulfides with protein thiols. AT-125, a gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase inhibitor, prevented detachment, but not the efflux of cellular GSH. Pretreatment with two impermeable compounds (ruthenium red, 100 microM and neomycin, 0.5-10 mM) protected the cells from detachment and prevented the decrease in intracellular GSH. The presence of calcium in the medium during the EGTA and BAPTA treatments also protected the cells. Calcium associated with the cytoplasmic membrane phospholipids or proteins appears important to limit membrane permeability for GSH efflux and to maintain cell attachment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Egtazic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione / analogs & derivatives
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Glutathione Disulfide
  • Humans
  • Isoxazoles / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Neomycin / pharmacology*
  • Ruthenium Red / pharmacology*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Isoxazoles
  • Ruthenium Red
  • Egtazic Acid
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Glutathione
  • Neomycin
  • acivicin
  • Calcium
  • Glutathione Disulfide