Sensitivity of Osteosarcoma Cells to Concentration-Dependent Bioactivities of Lipid Peroxidation Product 4-Hydroxynonenal Depend on Their Level of Differentiation

Cells. 2021 Jan 29;10(2):269. doi: 10.3390/cells10020269.


4-Hydroxynonenal (HNE) is a major aldehydic product of lipid peroxidation known to exert several biological effects. Normal and malignant cells of the same origin express different sensitivity to HNE. We used human osteosarcoma cells (HOS) in different stages of differentiation in vitro, showing differences in mitosis, DNA synthesis, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) staining. Differentiated HOS cells showed decreased proliferation (3H-thymidine incorporation), decreased viability (thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide-MTT), and increased apoptosis and necrosis (nuclear morphology by staining with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole-DAPI). Differentiated HOS also had less expressed c-MYC, but the same amount of c-FOS (immunocytochemistry). When exposed to HNE, differentiated HOS produced more reactive oxygen species (ROS) in comparison with undifferentiated HOS. To clarify this, we measured HNE metabolism by an HPLC method, total glutathione (GSH), oxidized GSH (ox GSH), glutathione transferase activity (GST), proteasomal activity by enzymatic methods, HNE-protein adducts by genuine ELISA and fatty acid composition by GC-MS in these cell cultures. Differentiated HOS cells had less GSH, lower HNE metabolism, increased formation of HNE-protein adducts, and lower proteasomal activity, in comparison to undifferentiated counterpart cells, while GST and oxGSH were the same. Fatty acids analyzed by GC-MS showed that there is an increase in C20:3 in differentiated HOS while the amount of C20:4 remained the same. The results showed that the cellular machinery responsible for protection against toxicity of HNE was less efficient in differentiated HOS cells. Moreover, differentiated HOS cells contained more C20:3 fatty acid, which might make them more sensitive to free radical-initiated oxidative chain reactions and more vulnerable to the effects of reactive aldehydes such as HNE. We propose that HNE might act as natural promotor of decay of malignant (osteosarcoma) cells in case of their differentiation associated with alteration of the lipid metabolism.

Keywords: 4-hydroxynonenal; ALP; C20:3; GSH; GST; HNE-protein adducts; apoptosis; differentiation; fatty acid; human osteosarcoma; proliferation; proteasomal activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes / pharmacology*
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation* / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation*
  • Necrosis
  • Osteosarcoma / enzymology
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism


  • Aldehydes
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Glutathione
  • 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal