Bryostatin 1 is a naturally occurring macrocyclic lactone which when applied to cells in culture activates protein kinase C (PKC). In vivo bryostatin 1 functions as an anticancer agent with activity against murine lymphomas, leukemias, and melanoma. Because all organs and tissues contain PKC, normal cells would also be a likely target for this agent. Here we demonstrate that in vivo administration of bryostatin 1 activates platelets over a dose range of 0.4 to 40 µg/kg with half-maximal activation occurring at 3 µg/kg and stimulation of neutrophils over a similar dose range. This in vivo activation of neutrophils is associated with a rapid decrease in measurable cytosolic PKC, a finding consistent with translocation of the enzyme to the membrane. In contrast, no statistically significant change in PKC location was found in liver, spleen, brain, or L10A B-cell lymphoma. However, in culture the L10A lymphoma did respond to bryostatin 1 with translocation of PKC. To evaluate whether the lack of effect of bryostatin 1 on PKC in organs was secondary to rapid degradation, we developed a bioassay to measure the levels of bryostatin 1 in the blood. To measure the presence of bryostatin 1, human neutrophils were incubated with plasma from mice given injections of different concentrations of bryostatin 1. Using this assay, bryostatin 1 at levels as low as 60 nm could be measured in the plasma. A time course with this bloassay demonstrated that less than 10% of the bryostatin 1 injected was detectable after 2.5 min. These results demonstrate that bryostatin 1 is capable of activating platelets and neutrophils and modulating PKC in vivo. The lack of effect of bryostatin 1 on specific organs may be secondary to the rapid clearance/degradation of this compound from the blood.


Supported by CA42533 (A. S. K.), the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation, the Arizona Disease Control Research Commission, the Robert B. Dalton Endowment Fund (G. R. P.), a grant from the American Heart Association (R. L. B.), and NIH Grant AI15986.

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