Endogenous natural killer enhancing factor-B increases cellular resistance to oxidative stresses

Hungyi Shau, Anthony T. Kim, Catherine C. Hedrick, Aldons J. Lusis, Christopher Tompkins, Robert Finney, David W. Leung, Donald E. Paglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Natural killer-enhancing factor (NKEF) was identified and cloned on the basis of its ability to increase NK cytotoxicity. Two genes, NKEF A and -B, encode NKEF proteins and sequence analysis presented suggests that each belongs to a highly conserved family of antioxidants. To examine the antioxidant potential of NKEF, we transfected the coding region of NKEF-B cDNA into the human endothelial cell line ECV304. The stable transfectant, B/1, was found to overexpress NKEF-B gene transcript and protein. We subjected B/1 to oxidative stress by either culturing them with glucose oxidase (GO), which continuously generates hydrogen peroxide, or by direct addition of hydrogen peroxide. We found that B/1 cells were more resistant than control cell lines. Resistance to hydrogen peroxide was originally thought to be mediated mainly by catalase and the glutathione cycle. Therefore, we used inhibitors to block the two pathways and found that B/1 cells were more resistant to oxidative stress than control cells when we used inhibitors to preblock either pathway. We also examined the cellular inflammatory responses to oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) by measuring monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells in vitro and found that B/1 cells were resistant to such responses. Lastly, we found that B/1 cells were more resistant to a novel chemotherapeutic agent CT-2584, which appears to kill tumor cells by stimulating production of reactive oxygen intermediates in mitochondria. These results demonstrate that the NKEF-B is an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress, chemotherapy agents, and inflammation-induced monocyte adhesion. Furthermore, its expression may mediate cellular responses to proinflammatory molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-507
Number of pages11
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • CT-2584 chemotherapy agent
  • Free radical
  • Low-density lipoprotein
  • Monocyte adhesion
  • Natural killer-enhancing factor (NKEF)
  • Thioredoxin peroxidase Antioxidant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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