Sodium butyrate stimulates polyamine biosynthesis in colon cancer cells

D. Parekh, R. Saydjari, J. Ishizuka, C. M. Townsend, J. C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Differentiation inducers act through polyamine-dependent and independent pathways. Sodium butyrate (NaB) inhibits proliferation and induces terminal differentiation in human and murine cancer cell lines. An effect of this agent on polyamine biosynthesis has not been demonstrated previously. In the present study, we examined the effects of NaB on polyamine biosynthesis in mouse colon cancer (MC-26) cells. All studies were performed on exponentially growing cells, and ODC and polyamine transport measurements were performed as described previously. NaB inhibited the growth of MC-26 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Cell shape was significantly altered by treatment with NaB (development of dendritic-like processes and flattening and spreading out of cells on culture dishes). NaB stimulated ODC activity in a dose-dependent manner. The activity was elevated by 8 h after treatment, and at 48 h there was a ten-fold increase in activity (compared with control activity). The increase in ODC activity led to an increase in polyamine biosynthesis; putrescine, spermidine, and spermine levels in MC-26 cells were significantly elevated by 24 h after treatment with NaB. Polyamine uptake was similar in control cells and cells treated with NaB alone. Our finding of significant stimulation of polyamine uptake by NaB after inhibition of endogenous synthesis (by an ODC-dependent pathway) in DFMO-treated cells suggests that cellular requirements are increased for polyamines in NaB-treated cells. We conclude that polyamine-dependent processes are important in the mechanism of action of NaB in colon cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-322
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • ODC activity
  • differentiation
  • polyamines
  • sodium butyrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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