Resistance of leukemic cells to 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine is due to a lack of calcium-dependent cytochrome c release

Joya Chandra, Emma Mansson, Vladimir Gogvadze, Scott H. Kaufmann, Freidoun Albertioni, Sten Orrenius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The purine nucleoside 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (CdA) is often used in leukemia therapy. Its efficacy, however, is compromised by the emergence of resistant cells. In the present study, 3 CdA-resistant cell lines were generated and characterized. Their ability to accumulate 2-chloroadenosine triphosphate (CdATP) varied, reflecting differences in activities of deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) and deoxyguanosine kinase (dGK). Nonetheless, the selected lines were uniformly resistant to CdA-induced apoptosis, as assessed by caspase activation and DNA fragmentation. In contrast, cytosols from resistant cells were capable of robust caspase activation when incubated in the presence of cytochrome c and dATP. Moreover, replacement of dATP with CdATP also resulted in caspase activation in the parental and some of the resistant cell lines. Strikingly, CdA-induced decreases in mitochondrial transmembrane potential and release of cytochrome c from mitochondria were observed in the parental cells but not in any resistant lines. The lack of cytochrome c release correlated with an increased ability of mitochondria from resistant cells to sequester free Ca2+. Consistent with this enhanced Ca2+ buffering capacity, an early increase in cytosolic Ca2+ after CdA treatment of parental cells but not resistant cells was detected. Furthermore, CdA-resistant cells were selectively cross-resistant to thapsigargin but not to staurosporine- or Fas-induced apoptosis. In addition, CdA-induced caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation were inhibited by the Ca2+ chelator BAPTA-AM in sensitive cells. Taken together, the data indicate that the mechanism of resistance to CdA may be dictated by changes in Ca2+-sensitive mitochondrial events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-663
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Resistance of leukemic cells to 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine is due to a lack of calcium-dependent cytochrome c release'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this