The investigation of cytotoxic and apoptotic activity of Cl-amidine on the human U-87 MG glioma cell line

Medicine (Baltimore). 2024 Feb 23;103(8):e37015. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000037015.


Background: Peptidyl (protein) arginine deiminases (PADs) provide the transformation of peptidyl arginine to peptidyl citrulline in the presence of calcium with posttranslational modification. The dysregulated PAD activity plays an important role on too many diseases including also the cancer. In this study, it has been aimed to determine the potential cytotoxic and apoptotic activity of chlorine-amidine (Cl-amidine) which is a PAD inhibitor and whose effectiveness has been shown in vitro and in vivo studies recently on human glioblastoma cell line Uppsala 87 malignant glioma (U-87 MG) forming an in vitro model for the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) which is the most aggressive and has the highest mortality among the brain tumors.

Methods: In the study, the antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of Cl-amidine on GBM cancer model were investigated. The antiproliferative effects of Cl-amidine on U-87 MG cells were determined by 4-[3-(4-iodophenyl)-2-(4-nitrophenyl)-2H-5-tetrazolio]-1,3-benzene disulfonate method at the 24th and 48th hours. The apoptotic effects were analyzed by Annexin V and Propidium iodide staining, caspase-3 activation, and mitochondrial membrane polarization (5,5', 6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1', 3,3' tetraethyl benzimidazolyl carbocyanine iodide) methods in the flow cytometry.

Results: It has been determined that Cl-amidine exhibits notable antiproliferative properties on U-87 MG cell line in a time and concentration-dependent manner, as determined through the 4-[3-(4-iodophenyl)-2-(4-nitrophenyl)-2H-5-tetrazolio]-1,3-benzene disulfonate assay. Assessment of apoptotic effects via Annexin V and Propidium iodide staining and 5,5', 6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1', 3,3' tetraethyl benzimidazolyl carbocyanine iodide methods has revealed significant efficacy, particularly following a 24-hour exposure period. It has been observed that Cl-amidine induces apoptosis in cells by enhancing mitochondrial depolarization, independently of caspase-3 activation. Furthermore, regarding its impact on healthy cells, it has been demonstrated that Cl-amidine shows lower cytotoxic effects when compared to carmustine, an important therapeutic agent for glioblastoma.

Conclusion: The findings of this study have shown that Cl-amidine exhibits significant potential as an anticancer agent in the treatment of GBM. This conclusion is based on its noteworthy antiproliferative and apoptotic effects observed in U-87 MG cells, as well as its reduced cytotoxicity toward healthy cells in comparison to existing treatments. We propose that the antineoplastic properties of Cl-amidine should be further investigated through a broader spectrum of cancer cell types. Moreover, we believe that investigating the synergistic interactions of Cl-amidine with single or combination therapies holds promise for the discovery of novel anticancer agents.

MeSH terms

  • Amidines / pharmacology
  • Annexin A5
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis
  • Arginine / metabolism
  • Benzene
  • Carbocyanines / pharmacology
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chlorine
  • Glioblastoma* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iodides / metabolism
  • Iodides / pharmacology
  • Nitrophenols*
  • Ornithine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Propidium
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases / metabolism
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases / pharmacology


  • 4-nitrophenyl
  • Chlorine
  • Annexin A5
  • N-alpha-benzoyl-N5-(2-chloro-1-iminoethyl)-L-ornithine amide
  • Benzene
  • Carbocyanines
  • Caspase 3
  • Iodides
  • Propidium
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Amidines
  • Arginine
  • Nitrophenols
  • Ornithine