Regional localisation of p53-independent apoptosis determines toxicity to 5-fluorouracil and pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate in the murine gut

S P Bach, S E Williamson, S T O'Dwyer, C S Potten, A J M Watson

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC) enhanced the activity of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in a colorectal cancer xenograft model. Pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate also reduced gastrointestinal toxicity associated with 5-FU therapy in large but not small bowel. We sought to clarify the basis of this differential enteric toxicity. Apoptosis and mitosis were assessed on a cell positional basis in small and large intestinal crypts of p53 wild-type (+/+) and p53 null (-/-) mice 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72 h after the administration of high (200 mg kg(-1)) or low (40 mg kg(-1)) dose 5-FU+/-250 mg kg(-1) PDTC. Regimens were chosen to model a single human dose and a weekly schedule. The effects of another antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) were also investigated. Large intestinal crypts affect apoptosis purely by p53-dependent mechanisms, whereas small intestinal crypts are able to initiate both p53-dependent and -independent pathways following treatment with 5-FU. Pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate and NAC antagonised p53-dependent but potentiated p53-independent apoptotic activity. Consequently, the proportion of surviving clonogens increased in the large but not in the small intestine. Regional availability of p53-dependent and -independent apoptotic pathways in small and large intestine together with separate modulation of these pathways by antioxidants explains the different regional enterotoxicity following 5-FU therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2006


  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Apoptosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Antagonism
  • Drug Synergism
  • Fluorouracil
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Intestine, Large
  • Intestine, Small
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitosis
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Thiocarbamates
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays

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