Allium compounds, dipropyl and dimethyl thiosulfinates as antiproliferative and differentiating agents of human acute myeloid leukemia cell lines

Biologics. 2008 Dec;2(4):885-95. doi: 10.2147/btt.s3212.


Epidemiologic studies support the premise that Allium vegetables may lower the risk of cancers. The beneficial effects appear related to the organosulfur products generated upon processing of Allium. Leukemia cells from patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) display high proliferative capacity and have a reduced capacity of undergoing apoptosis and maturation. Whether the sulfur-containing molecules thiosulfinates (TS), diallyl TS (All(2)TS), dipropyl TS (Pr(2)TS) and dimethyl TS (Me(2)TS), are able to exert chemopreventative activity against AML is presently unknown. The present study was an evaluation of proliferation, cytotoxicity, differentiation and secretion of AML cell lines (U937, NB4, HL-60, MonoMac-6) in response to treatment with these TS and their related sulfides (diallylsulfide, diallyl disulfide, dipropyl disulfide, dimethyl disulfide). As assessed by flow cytometry, ELISA, gelatin zymogaphy and RT-PCR, we showed that Pr(2)TS and Me(2)TS, but not All(2)TS and sulfides, 1) inhibited cell proliferation in dose- and time-dependent manner and this process was neither due to cytotoxicity nor apoptosis, 2) induced macrophage maturation, and 3) inhibited the levels of secreted MMP-9 (protein and activity) and TNF-alpha protein, without altering mRNA levels. By establishing for the first time that Pr(2)TS and Me(2)TS affect proliferation, differentiation and secretion of leukemic cell lines, this study provides the opportunity to explore the potential efficiency of these molecules in AML.

Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia; differentiation; matrix metalloproteinase-9; proliferation; thiosulfinate.