Factors that affect the type of cell death induced by chemicals

Autophagy. Sep-Oct 2007;3(5):493-5. doi: 10.4161/auto.4594. Epub 2007 Jun 18.


Surveying about 1000 compounds, we found that several low molecular weight alpha, beta-unsaturated ketones induced non-apoptotic cell death characterized by the formation of autophagosomes, occasionally accompanied by mitochondrial shrinkage. The cytotoxic activity of these compounds was significantly reduced by the addition of N-acetyl-L-cysteine, suggesting their interaction with SH groups of intracellular targeted molecules (the so-called "non-sterically hindered Michael acceptor"). This suggests that the nature of the chemical structure as well as the type of target cells is another factor that determines the type of cell death induced by chemicals.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Cell Death / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Necrosis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents