International Journal of Medical Sciences

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12 December 2018

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Int J Med Sci 2015; 12(10):805-810. doi:10.7150/ijms.12429

Research Paper

Lithium Chloride Promotes Apoptosis in Human Leukemia NB4 Cells by Inhibiting Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 Beta

Liu Li1,2, Hao Song1, Liang Zhong2, Rong Yang2, Xiao-Qun Yang2, Kai-Ling Jiang2, Bei-Zhong Liu1,2 ✉

1. Central Laboratory of Yong-chuan hospital, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 402160, China.
2. Key Laboratory of Laboratory Medical Diagnostics, Ministry of Education, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Chong-qing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China.


Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). With the application of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide (ATO), APL becomes one of best prognosis of leukemia. However, ATRA and ATO are not effective against all APLs. Therefore, a new strategy for APL treatment is necessary. Here, we investigated whether lithium chloride (LiCl), a drug used for the treatment of mental illness, could promote apoptosis in human leukemia NB4 cells. We observed that treatment with LiCl significantly accelerated apoptosis in NB4 cells and led to cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase. Moreover, LiCl significantly increased the level of Ser9-phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3β(p-GSK-3β), and decreased the level of Akt1 protein in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, LiCl inhibition of c-Myc also enhanced cell death with a concomitant increase in β-catnin. Taken together, these findings demonstrated that LiCl promoted apoptosis in NB4 cells through the Akt signaling pathway and that G2/M phase arrest was induced by increase of p-GSK-3β(S9).

Keywords: Lichium chloride, GSK-3β, leukemia cells, proliferation, apoptosis

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How to cite this article:
Li L, Song H, Zhong L, Yang R, Yang XQ, Jiang KL, Liu BZ. Lithium Chloride Promotes Apoptosis in Human Leukemia NB4 Cells by Inhibiting Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 Beta. Int J Med Sci 2015; 12(10):805-810. doi:10.7150/ijms.12429. Available from