The mechanism of lovastatin-induced cell death was examined in three established human glioblastoma cell lines; U87, U251, and U138. Changes in potential modifiers of apoptosis, including Bcl-2 family proteins and MAP kinase targets after such lovastatin treatment, were evaluated. Lovastatin (5 μM) treatment causes extensive cell death in two of the cell lines, U87 and U251; but only minimal in a third, U138. Lovastatin-induced death occurs in correlation with significantly increased levels of the BH3-only protein, Bim. The up-regulation of Bim levels was directly associated with an increased incidence of apoptosis. Lovastatin treatment in U87 cells results in activation of targets of three major mitogen-activating protein kinase cascades including Erk1/2, JNK and p38. Changes in levels of Bim, as well as increase phosphorylation of Erk1/2, c-jun, and p38 are all prevented by co-incubation of lovastatin and the isoprenylation metabolite, geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. Inhibition of the MAP kinase pathways failed to block the increased expression of Bim expression or cell death. Further elucidation of the mechanisms of lovastatin-induced up-regulation of Bim and apoptosis in glioblastoma cells are important in determining a potential role for lovastatin as a chemotherapy agent.
- 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl co-enzyme A synthetase inhibitor
- BH3-only protein