Effect of thiopental, propofol, and etomidate on vincristine toxicity in PC12 cells

C. R. Lin, J. T. Cheng, F. C. Lin, A. K. Chou, T. C. Lee, J. T. Chen, L. C. Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

4 Scopus citations


Neurotoxicity is the dose-limiting side-effect of vincristine in cancer therapy. Using the nerve growth factor (NGF)-dependent neurite outgrowth and cell proliferation of the PC12 pheochromocytoma cell line as an in vitro assay, the protective effect of different intravenous anesthetics was assessed. Vincristine (1 nmol/L) significantly decreased the percentage of neurite-forming cells from 68% ± 9% to 27% ± 7% within a 3-day incubation period. The longer neurites (> 2 × cell body) in particular proved to be extremely sensitive to vincristine (from 17% ± 4% to 0% of total neurite-expressing cells). Flow cytometry results revealed an S-phase percentage of 15.85% ± 3.25% after NGF induction, with vincristine reducing this percentage to 0.68% ± 0.38%. Reversal of the inhibitory effect of vincristine was noted in the cells treated with thiopental or propofol but not etomidate. Bicuculline partially antagonized the protective effect of thiopental and propofol in both studies. We conclude that thiopental and propofol, but not etomidate, have a protective effect in vincristine-induced neurotoxicity. The protective effect produced by thiopental and propofol is probably secondary to activation of GABAA receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalCell Biology and Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bicuculline
  • Etomidate
  • Nerve growth factor
  • PC12 cells
  • Propofol
  • Thiopental


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