Cytoglobin is a recently identified vertebrate globin whose functions include scavenging reactive oxygen and nitrosative species. In tumor cells, CYGB may function as a tumor suppressor gene. Here we show that knockdown of cytoglobin expression can sensitize human glioma cells to oxidative stress induced by chemical inhibitors of the electron transport chain and as well can increase cellular radiosensitivity. When treated with antimycin A, an inhibitor of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, cytoglobin-deficient cells showed significantly higher H2O2 levels, whereas H2O2 levels were significantly reduced in cytoglobin-overexpressing cells. In addition, cytoglobin knockdown significantly decreased the doubling time of glioma cell lines, consistent with a putative tumor suppressor function. These finding suggest that modulating cytoglobin levels may be a promising treatment strategy for sensitizing human glioma cells to oxidative stress that is induced by ionizing radiation, certain chemotherapies and ischemia-reperfusion.
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Vol. 176 • No. 2