Glucocorticoids, oxysterols, and cAMP with glucocorticoids each cause apoptosis of CEM cells and suppress c-myc

E. Brad Thompson, Rheem D. Medh, Feng Zhou, Sylvette Ayala-Torres, Naseem Ansari, Weiping Zhang, Betty H. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In clones of the CEM human acute lymphoblastic leukemic cell line, glucocorticoids, oxysterols and activators of the cAMP pathway acting synergistically with glucocorticoids, each can cause apoptotic cell death. Morphologically and kinetically, these deaths resemble one another. The kinetics are striking: in each case, after addition of the lethal compound(s), an interval of approximately 24 h follows, during which cell growth continues unabated. During this 'prodromal' period, removal of the apoptotic agent leaves the cells fully viable. We hypothesize that a sequence of biochemical events occurs during the prodrome which eventually results in the triggering of the full apoptotic response as evidenced by the activation of caspases and DNA fragmentation. At some point, the process is irreversible and proceeds relatively rapidly to cell death. Suppression of c-Myc seems a universal early event evoked by each of these lethal compounds or combinations, and we conclude that the negative regulation of this proto- oncogene is an important aspect of the critical pre-apoptotic events in these cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-6
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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