Change in anticancer drug sensitivity during neuronal differentiation of PC12 cells

Hiroshi Sakagami, Yaeko Hara, Haixia Shi, Soichi Iwama, Mika Nakagawa, Hayato Suzuki, Kenta Tanaka, A. B.E. Tomoyuki, Nobuaki Tamura, Hiroshi Takeshima, Norio Horie, Takahiro Kaneko, Hiroshi Shiratsuchi, Tadayoshi Kaneko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aim: Although there are many reports of anticancer drug-induced neurotoxicity, most previous data have been derived from neuronal cell models grown in a variety of culture conditions. This has prevented accurate assessment of the potency of their neurotoxicity and of changes in drug sensitivity of neuronal cells during differentiation. In this study, a simple neuronal differentiation induction system was established and the relative potency of neurotoxicity of eight anticancer drugs was compared during neuronal cell differentiation. Materials and Methods: Rat PC12 cells were induced to differentiate into neuronal cells by 50 ng/ml nerve growth factor in serum-free Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium, followed by overlay of fresh nutrients at day 3, without medium change. Cell viability was determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide method. Results: During differentiation, PC12 cells became 1.1-to more than 10,000-fold resistant to anticancer drugs. Topoisomerase inhibitors (doxorubicin, SN-38, etoposide) were the most toxic to differentiated PC12 cells, followed by docetaxel, gefitinib, melphalan, 5-fluorouracil and methotrexate. Docetaxel showed the highest cytotoxicity against undifferentiated PC12 cells, but its cytotoxicity was dramatically reduced during differentiation. Conclusion: The present study demonstrated considerable variation in the neurotoxicity of anticancer drugs during the cell differentiation process. The present simple assay system may be useful to search for neuroprotective substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-770
Number of pages6
JournalIn vivo (Athens, Greece)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Anticancer drug
  • Differentiation stage
  • Neurotoxicity
  • NGF
  • PC12


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