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ABT‐199 (Venetoclax), a BH3‐mimetic Bcl‐2 inhibitor, does not cause Ca2+‐signalling dysregulation or toxicity in pancreatic acinar cells

Jakubowska, Monika A., Kerkhofs, Martijn, Martines, Claudio, Efremov, Dimitar G., Gerasimenko, Julia V. ORCID:, Gerasimenko, Oleg V ORCID:, Petersen, Ole H. ORCID:, Bultynck, Geert, Vervliet, Tim and Ferdek, Pawel E. 2019. ABT‐199 (Venetoclax), a BH3‐mimetic Bcl‐2 inhibitor, does not cause Ca2+‐signalling dysregulation or toxicity in pancreatic acinar cells. British Journal of Pharmacology 176 (22) , pp. 4402-4415. 10.1111/bph.14505

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Background and Purpose: Many cancer cells depend on anti‐apoptotic B‐cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl‐2) proteins for their survival. Bcl‐2 antagonism through Bcl‐2 homology 3 (BH3) mimetics has emerged as a novel anti‐cancer therapy. ABT‐199 (Venetoclax), a recently developed BH3 mimetic that selectively inhibits Bcl‐2, was introduced into the clinic for treatment of relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Early generations of Bcl‐2 inhibitors evoked sustained Ca2+ responses in pancreatic acinar cells (PACs) inducing cell death. Therefore, BH3 mimetics could potentially be toxic for the pancreas when used to treat cancer. Although ABT‐199 was shown to kill Bcl‐2‐dependent cancer cells without affecting intracellular Ca2+ signalling, its effects on PACs have not yet been determined. Hence, it is essential and timely to assess whether this recently approved anti‐leukaemic drug might potentially have pancreatotoxic effects. Experimental Approach: Single‐cell Ca2+ measurements and cell death analysis were performed on isolated mouse PACs. Key Results: Inhibition of Bcl‐2 via ABT‐199 did not elicit intracellular Ca2+ signalling on its own or potentiate Ca2+ signalling induced by physiological/pathophysiological stimuli in PACs. Although ABT‐199 did not affect cell death in PACs, under conditions that killed ABT‐199‐sensitive cancer cells, cytosolic Ca2+ extrusion was slightly enhanced in the presence of ABT‐199. In contrast, inhibition of Bcl‐xL potentiated pathophysiological Ca2+ responses in PACs, without exacerbating cell death. Conclusion and Implications: Our results demonstrate that apart from having a modest effect on cytosolic Ca2+ extrusion, ABT‐199 does not substantially alter intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis in normal PACs and should be safe for the pancreas during cancer treatment.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0007-1188
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 November 2018
Date of Acceptance: 13 September 2018
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 21:24

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