Diethyldithiocarbamate induction of cytokine release in human long-term bone marrow cultures

C. J. East, C. N. Abboud, R. F. Borch

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18 Scopus citations


Diethyldithiocarbamate (DDTC) is a biochemical modulating agent that protects murine bone marrow progenitor cells from the cytotoxicity of a variety of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. However, the mechanism of this protection is not well understood. Long-term human bone marrow cultures (LTBMC) were established and at day 17 treated with 30 μmol/L DDTC for 1 hour, after which DDTC was removed and replaced with complete medium. Conditioned medium was then collected 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours later and analyzed for the presence of cytokines. A time-dependent increase in granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) (12-fold), granulocyte-CSF (G-CSF) (66-fold), interleukin (IL)-6, (three-fold), IL-1β (161-fold), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α (25-fold) was observed. The maximum increase for the factors other than TNF-α was at 24 to 48 hours posttreatment. However, TNF-α peaked as early as 6 hours post-DDTC. When conditioned medium from these cultures was tested in a granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cell (GM-CFC) assay, an increase in colony formation was observed that correlated with the increased levels of cytokines in the medium. The specificity of this effect was confirmed by the fact that the closely related congener bis(hydroxyethyl)dithiocarbamate was devoid of colony-stimulating activity. The addition of antibodies for TNF-α and/or IL-1α following DDTC treatment did not inhibit the release of GM-CSF, G-CSF, or IL-6 from the LTBMC. These results suggest that DDTC accelerates bone marrow recovery following myelotoxic drug treatment via increased production of cytokines that are known to be essential for hematopoiesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1177
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992


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