Common cancer treatments targeting DNA double strand breaks affect long-term memory and relate to immediate early gene expression in a sex-dependent manner

Sydney Weber Boutros, Destine Krenik, Sarah Holden, Vivek K. Unni, Jacob Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) have been highly studied in the context of cancers, as DSBs can lead to apoptosis or tumorigenesis. Several pharmaceuticals are widely used to target DSBs during cancer therapy. Amifostine (WR-2721) and etoposide are two commonly used drugs: amifostine reduces DSBs, whereas etoposide increases DSBs. Recently, a novel role for DSBs in immediate early gene expression, learning, and memory has been suggested. Neither amifostine nor etoposide have been assessed for their effects on learning and memory without confounding factors. Moreover, sex-dependent effects of these drugs have not been reported. We administered amifostine or etoposide to 3–4-month-old male and female C57Bl/6J mice before or after training in fear conditioning and assessed learning, memory, and immediate early genes. We observed sex-dependent baseline and drug-induced differences, with females expressing higher cFos and FosB levels than males. These were affected by both amifostine and etoposide. Post-training injections of amifostine affected long-term contextual fear memory; etoposide affected contextual and cued fear memory. These data support the hypothesis that DSBs contribute to learning and memory, and that these could play a part in cognitive side effects during common treatment regimens. The sex-dependent effects also highlight an important factor when considering treatment plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-213
Number of pages16
JournalOncotarget
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amifostine
  • Double strand breaks
  • Etoposide
  • Memory
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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