Radioresistant Sf9 insect cells display moderate resistance against cumene hydroperoxide.
Lepidopteran insect cells serve as excellent model to study stress responses and are known to display resistance against DNA damaging agents including ionizing radiation; however, limited information is available on the effects of membrane damaging agents in these cells. In this study, we investigated the response of Sf9 cells (derived from ovaries of Spodoptera frugiperda; order Lepidoptera) to cumene hydroperoxide (CHPx), compared to human BMG-1 cells. CHPx treatment at doses lethal for human cells also caused typical necrosis in Sf9. Severe necrosis in human BMG-1 cells was observed at 125 µM, whereas similar effect in Sf9 cells was observed at 250 µM. In Sf9 cells, CHPx (250 µM) induced negligible changes in mitochondrial membrane potential and intracellular reactive oxygen species, while moderate effect was observed on intracellular calcium distribution. Reduced DNA damage and lipid (including cardiolipin) oxidation was observed in Sf9 cells that could be due to moderate total antioxidant status and constitutive/induced glutathione S-transferase activity. This study importantly demonstrates that Lepidopteran insect cells having extensive resistance towards DNA damaging agents show only moderately higher resistance to membrane damaging agents. A stronger reducing environment involving efficient antioxidant system seems to contribute significantly in this response.