siRNA-mediated silencing of survivin inhibits proliferation and enhances etoposide chemosensitivity in acute myeloid leukemia cells.
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Overexpression of survivin, a known inhibitor of apoptosis, is associated with tumor progression and drug resistance in numerous malignancies, including leukemias. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a specific survivin small interference RNA (siRNA) on proliferation and the sensitivity of HL-60 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells to the chemotherapeutic drug etoposide.The cells were transfected with siRNAs using LipofectamineTM2000 transfection reagent. Relative survivin mRNA and protein levels were measured by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Trypan blue exclusion assays were performed to monitor tumor cell proliferation after siRNA transfection. The cytotoxic effects of etoposide and survivin siRNA, alone and in combination, on leukemic cells were determined using MTT assay. Apoptosis was assessed by ELISA cell death assay.Survivin siRNA markedly reduced both mRNA and protein expression levels in a time-dependent manner, leading to distinct inhibition of cell proliferation and increased spontaneous apoptosis. Surprisingly, survivin siRNA synergistically increased the cell toxic effects of etoposide. Moreover, survivin down-regulation significantly enhanced its induction of apoptosis.Our study suggests that down-regulation of survivin by siRNA can trigger apoptosis and overcome drug resistance of leukemia cells. Therefore, survivin siRNA may be an effective adjuvant in AML chemotherapy.