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Catalog No.: GC12431

Glutathione peroxidase 4 inhibitor

RSL3 Chemical Structure

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10mM (in 1mL DMSO)
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Cell experiment [1]:

Cell lines

BJ-TERT/LT/ST/RASV12 and DRD cells

Preparation method

Soluble in DMSO. General tips for obtaining a higher concentration: Please warm the tube at 37 ℃ for 10 minutes and/or shake it in the ultrasonic bath for a while. Stock solution can be stored below -20℃ for several months.

Reacting condition

5 μg/ml, 2 days


RSL3 displayed synthetic lethality with oncogenic RAS in both BJ-TERT/LT/ST/RASV12 and DRD cells. RSL3 inhibited the growth of BJ-TERT/LT/ST/RASV12 and DRD cells as low as 10 ng/ml and started to kill sensitive cells as early as 8 hr after treatment. Longer treatment with RSL3 had little effect on the viability of cells lacking oncogenic RAS. RSL3 induced rapid and nonapoptotic cell death in oncogenic ras containing tumorigenic cells.

Animal experiment [2]:

Animal models

Athymic nude mice xenografted with BJeLR cells

Dosage form

Subcutaneous injection (s.c.), 100 mg/kg, twice each week for 2 weeks.


RSL3 prevented tumor growth in a xenograft model. (1S, 3R)-RSL3 significantly prevented tumor growth. (1S, 3R)-RSL3 significantly reduced tumor volume via the induction of ferroptosis. Intraperitoneal injection of (1S, 3R)-RSL3 showed no toxicity up to 400 mg/kg dose, which suggested that (1S, 3R)-RSL3 was well tolerated.

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[1]. Yang W S, Stockwell B R. Synthetic lethal screening identifies compounds activating iron-dependent, nonapoptotic cell death in oncogenic-RAS-harboring cancer cells[J]. Chemistry & biology, 2008, 15(3): 234-245.

[2]. Yang W S, SriRamaratnam R, Welsch M E, et al. Regulation of ferroptotic cancer cell death by GPX4[J]. Cell, 2014, 156(1): 317-331.


RSL3 is identified as a potent ferroptosis-triggering agent, which is dependent on the activity of GPX4. RSL3 behaved as an inhibitor of GPX4, reducing the expression of GPX4 and inducing ferroptotic death of head and neck cancer cell[1]

In vitro study demonstrated that RSL3 have a degree of synthetic lethality with oncogenic RAS. RSL3 showed rapid and potent ability to induce synthetic lethality with oncogenic RAS. RSL3 inhibited the growth of BJ-TERT/LT/ST/RASV12 and DRD cells as low as 10 ng/ml and started to kill sensitive cells as early as 8 h after treatment. The growth inhibitory effect and the selectivity of RSL3 were confirmed by trypan blue exclusion assay, which demonstrated the potency and selectivity of RSL3. Moreover, longer treatment with RSL3 had little effect on the viability of cells lacking oncogenic RAS, confirming the qualitative nature of RSL3’s selectivity.[2]

In vivo study determined that RSL3-induced ferroptosis could be enhanced by cetuximab with the mechanism of suppressing the Nrf2/HO-1 axis. A DLD-1 xenograft nude mouse model was established to further explored whether cetuximab promotes RSL3-induced ferroptosis in vivo. All the mice survived well after cell implantation or were treated with vehicle, RSL3, cetuximab, or RSL3 in combination with cetuximab. However, administration of RSL3 alone and treatment with both RSL3 and cetuximab led to a decrease in tumour size and tumour volume. Meanwhile, the relative levels of Nrf2 and HO-1 were decreased and that keap1 expressed was relatively increased after co-treatment with RSL3 and cetuximab.[3]

[1]. Sui X, et al. RSL3 Drives Ferroptosis Through GPX4 Inactivation and ROS Production in Colorectal Cancer. Front Pharmacol. 2018 Nov 22;9:1371.
[2]. Shin D, et al. Nrf2 inhibition reverses resistance to GPX4 inhibitor-induced ferroptosis in head and neck cancer. Free Radic Biol Med. 2018 Dec;129:454-462.
[3]. Yang J, et al. Cetuximab promotes RSL3-induced ferroptosis by suppressing the Nrf2/HO-1 signalling pathway in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Nov 13;12(11):1079.

Chemical Properties

Cas No. 1219810-16-8 SDF
Synonyms N/A
Chemical Name (1S,3R)-methyl 2-(2-chloroacetyl)-1-(4-(methoxycarbonyl)phenyl)-2,3,4,9-tetrahydro-1H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole-3-carboxylate
Canonical SMILES COC(C1=CC=C([C@@]2([H])C3=C(C4=CC=CC=C4N3)C[C@](N2C(CCl)=O)([H])C(OC)=O)C=C1)=O
Formula C23H21ClN2O5 M.Wt 440.88
Solubility ≥ 125.4 mg/mL in DMSO Storage Store at -20°C, sealed storage, away from moisture
General tips For obtaining a higher solubility , please warm the tube at 37 ℃ and shake it in the ultrasonic bath for a while.Stock solution can be stored below -20℃ for several months.
Shipping Condition Evaluation sample solution : ship with blue ice
All other available size: ship with RT , or blue ice upon request

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Research Update

RSL3 Drives Ferroptosis Through GPX4 Inactivation and ROS Production in Colorectal Cancer

Front Pharmacol2018 Nov 22;9:1371.PMID: 30524291DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01371

Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent, oxidative cell death, and is characterized by iron-dependent accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within the cell. It has been implicated in various human diseases, including cancer. Recently, ferroptosis, as a non-apoptotic form of cell death, is emerging in specific cancer types; however, its relevance in colorectal cancer (CRC) is unexplored and remains unclear. Here, we showed that ferroptosis inducer RSL3 initiated cell death and ROS accumulation in HCT116, LoVo, and HT29 CRC cells over a 24 h time course. Furthermore, we found that ROS levels and transferrin expression were elevated in CRC cells treated with RSL3 accompanied by a decrease in the expression of glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4), indicating an iron-dependent cell death, ferroptosis. Overexpression GPX4 resulted in decreased cell death after RSL3 treatment. Therefore, RSL3 was able to induce ferroptosis on three different CRC cell lines in vitro in a dose- and time-dependent manner, which was due to increased ROS and an increase in the cellular labile iron pool. Moreover, this effect was able to be reversed by overexpression of GPX4. Taken together, our results suggest that the induction of ferroptosis contributed to RSL3-induced cell death in CRC cells and ferroptosis may be a pervasive and dynamic form of cell death for cancer treatment.

Cetuximab promotes RSL3-induced ferroptosis by suppressing the Nrf2/HO-1 signalling pathway in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer

Cell Death Dis2021 Nov 13;12(11):1079.PMID: 34775496DOI: 10.1038/s41419-021-04367-3

Cetuximab is approved for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with RAS wild-type. Nevertheless, the prognosis remains poor and the effectiveness of cetuximab is limited in KRAS mutant mCRC. Recently, emerging evidence has shown that ferroptosis, a newly discovered form of nonapoptotic cell death, is closely related to KRAS mutant cells. Here, we further investigated whether cetuximab-mediated regulation of p38/Nrf2/HO-1 promotes RSL3-induced ferroptosis and plays a pivotal role in overcoming drug resistance in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer (CRC). In our research, we used two KRAS mutant CRC cell lines, HCT116 and DLD-1, as models of intrinsic resistance to cetuximab. The viability of cells treated with the combination of RSL3 and cetuximab was assessed by the CCK-8 and colony formation assays. The effective of cetuximab to promote RSL3-induced ferroptosis was investigated by evaluating lipid reactive oxygen species accumulation and the expression of the malondialdehyde and the intracellular iron assay. Cetuximab therapy contributed to regulating the p38/Nrf2/HO-1 axis, as determined by western blotting and transfection with small interfering RNAs. Cetuximab promoted RSL3-induced ferroptosis by inhibiting the Nrf2/HO-1 in KRAS mutant CRC cells, and this was further demonstrated in a xenograft nude mouse model. Our work reveals that cetuximab enhances the cytotoxic effect of RSL3 on KRAS mutant CRC cells and that cetuximab enhances RSL3-induced ferroptosis by inhibiting the Nrf2/HO-1 axis through the activation of p38 MAPK.

Microglia and macrophage exhibit attenuated inflammatory response and ferroptosis resistance after RSL3 stimulation via increasing Nrf2 expression

J Neuroinflammation2021 Oct 30;18(1):249.PMID: 34717678DOI: 10.1186/s12974-021-02231-x

Background: Many neurological diseases involve neuroinflammation, during which overproduction of cytokines by immune cells, especially microglia, can aggregate neuronal death. Ferroptosis is a recently discovered cell metabolism-related form of cell death and RSL3 is a well-known inducer of cell ferroptosis. Here, we aimed to investigate the effects of RSL3 in neuroinflammation and sensitivity of different type of microglia and macrophage to ferroptosis.
Methods: Here, we used quantitative RT-PCR analysis and ELISA analysis to analyze the production of proinflammatory cytokine production of microglia and macrophages after lipopolysaccharides (LPS) stimulation. We used CCK8, LDH, and flow cytometry analysis to evaluate the sensitivity of different microglia and macrophages to RSL3-induced ferroptosis. Western blot was used to test the activation of inflammatory signaling pathway and knockdown efficiency. SiRNA-mediated interference was conducted to knockdown GPX4 or Nrf2 in BV2 microglia. Intraperitoneal injection of LPS was performed to evaluate systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation severity in in vivo conditions.
Results: We found that ferroptosis inducer RSL3 inhibited lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-induced inflammation of microglia and peritoneal macrophages (PMs) in a cell ferroptosis-independent manner, whereas cell ferroptosis-conditioned medium significantly triggered inflammation of microglia and PMs. Different type of microglia and macrophages showed varied sensitivity to RSL3-induced ferroptosis. Mechanistically, RSL3 induced Nrf2 protein expression to inhibit RNA Polymerase II recruitment to transcription start site of proinflammatory cytokine genes to repress cytokine transcription, and protect cells from ferroptosis. Furthermore, simultaneously injection of RSL3 and Fer-1 ameliorated LPS-induced neuroinflammation in in vivo conditions.
Conclusions: These data revealed the proinflammatory role of ferroptosis in microglia and macrophages, identified RSL3 as a novel inhibitor of LPS-induced inflammation, and uncovered the molecular regulation of microglia and macrophage sensitivity to ferroptosis. Thus, targeting ferroptosis in diseases by using RSL3 should consider both the pro-ferroptosis effect and the anti-inflammation effect to achieve optimal outcome.

NCOA4-mediated ferritinophagy promotes ferroptosis induced by erastin, but not by RSL3 in HeLa cells

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res2021 Feb;1868(2):118913.PMID: 33245979DOI: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2020.118913

Ferroptosis is a regulated cell death characterized by a lethal accumulation of lipid peroxides due to an increase of intracellular iron and a decrease of antioxidant capacity. The reduction of antioxidant activity is obtained by using chemical agents, such as erastin and RSL3, the first one inhibiting the transmembrane cystine-glutamate antiporter causing a cysteine and glutathione depletion and the second one inactivating directly the glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) respectively. The role of iron and its related proteins in supporting the formation of lipid peroxides, is not completely understood hence to try to shed light on it we generated HeLa clones with altered ferritinophagy, the ferritin degradation process, by knocking-out or overexpressing Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 4 (NCOA4), the ferritin autophagic cargo-receptor. NCOA4 deficiency abolished ferritinophagy increasing ferritin level and making the cells more resistant to erastin, but unexpectedly more sensitive to RSL3. Interestingly, we found that erastin promoted ferritinophagy in HeLa cells expressing NCOA4, increasing the free iron, lipid peroxidation and the sensitivity to ferroptosis. In contrast, RSL3 did not modulate ferritinophagy, while NCOA4 overexpression delayed RSL3-induced cell death suggesting that RSL3 mechanism of action is independent of ferritin degradation process. Therefore, the ferritin-iron release in the execution of ferroptosis seems to depend on the inducing compound, its target and downstream pathway of cell death activation.

RSL3 Drives Ferroptosis through NF- κ B Pathway Activation and GPX4 Depletion in Glioblastoma

Oxid Med Cell Longev2021 Dec 26;2021:2915019.PMID: 34987700DOI: 10.1155/2021/2915019

Glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of malignant glioma, is very difficult to treat because of its aggressively invasive nature and high recurrence rates. RAS-selective lethal 3 (RSL3), a well-known inhibitor of glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4), could effectively induce oxidative cell death in glioblastoma cells through ferroptosis, and several signaling pathways are involved in this process. However, the role of the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) pathway in glioblastoma cell ferroptosis has not yet been investigated. Therefore, we aimed to clarify the underlying mechanism of the NF-κB pathway in RSL3-induced ferroptosis in glioblastoma cells. We found that RSL3 led to an increase in lipid ROS concentration and downregulation of ferroptosis-related proteins such as GPX4, ATF4, and SLC7A11 (xCT) in glioblastoma cells. Additionally, the NF-κB pathway was activated by RSL3, and its inhibition by BAY 11-7082 could alleviate ferroptosis. The murine xenograft tumor model indicated that NF-κB pathway inhibition could mitigate the antitumor effects of RSL3 in vivo. Furthermore, we found that GPX4 knockdown could not effectively induce ferroptosis. However, NF-κB pathway activation coupled with GPX4 silencing induced ferroptosis. Additionally, ATF4 and xCT expression might be regulated by the NF-κB pathway. Collectively, our results revealed that the NF-κB pathway plays a novel role in RSL3-induced ferroptosis in glioblastoma cells and provides a new therapeutic strategy for glioblastoma treatment.

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