Apoptosis is a key mechanism for enhanced cellular radiosensitivity in radiation therapy. Studies suggest that Akt signaling may play a role in apoptosis and radioresistance. This study evaluates the possible modulating role of amiloride, an antihypertensive agent with a modulating effect to alternative splicing for regulating apoptosis, in the antiproliferative effects induced by ionizing radiation (IR) in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) 8401 cells. Analysis of cell viability showed that amiloride treatment significantly inhibited cell proliferation in irradiated GBM8401 cells (p<0.05) in a time-dependent manner, especially in cells treated with amiloride with IR post-treatment. In comparison with GBM8401 cells treated with amiloride alone, with GBM8401 cells treated with IR alone, and with human embryonic lung fibroblast control cells (HEL 299), GBM8401 cells treated with IR combined with amiloride showed increased overexpression of phosphorylated Akt, regardless of whether IR treatment was performed before or after amiloride administration. The alternative splicing pattern of apoptotic protease-activating factor-1 (APAF1) in cells treated with amiloride alone, IR alone, and combined amiloride-IR treatments showed more consistent cell proliferation compared to that in other apoptosis-related genes such as baculoviral IAP repeat containing 5 (BIRC5), Bcl-X, and homeodomain interacting protein kinase-3 (HIPK3). In GBM8401 cells treated with amiloride with IR post-treatment, the ratio of prosurvival (-XL,-LC) to proapoptotic (-LN,-S) splice variants of APAF1 was lower than that seen in cells treated with amiloride with IR pretreatment, suggesting that proapoptotic splice variants of APAF1 (APAF1-LN,-S) were higher in the glioblastoma cells treated with amiloride with IR post-treatment, as compared to glioblastoma cells and fibroblast control cells that had received other treatments. Together, these results suggest that amiloride modulates cell radiosensitivity involving the Akt phosphorylation and the alternative splicing of APAF1, especially for the cells treated with amiloride with IR post-treatment. Therefore, amiloride may improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy for GBMs.
Treatment of irradiated GBM tumors with amiloride inhibited cell proliferation in a time-dependent manner. Drug treatment alone showed increased expression of pAkt.