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Molecules 2015, 20(3), 3730-3743;

Dose-Dependent Cytotoxic Effects of Boldine in HepG-2 Cells—Telomerase Inhibition and Apoptosis Induction

Deptartment of Biology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Hakim Sabzevari University, P.O. Box 397, Sabzevar, 9617966376 Iran
Department of Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, INF 364, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maurizio Battino
Received: 31 December 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 24 February 2015
PDF [1531 KB, uploaded 26 February 2015]


Plant metabolites are valuable sources of novel therapeutic compounds. In an anti-telomerase screening study of plant secondary metabolites, the aporphine alkaloid boldine (1,10-dimethoxy-2,9-dihydroxyaporphine) exhibited a dose and time dependent cytotoxicity against hepatocarcinoma HepG-2 cells. Here we focus on the modes and mechanisms of the growth-limiting effects of this compound. Telomerase activity and expression level of some related genes were estimated by real-time PCR. Modes of cell death also were examined by microscopic inspection, staining methods and by evaluating the expression level of some critically relevant genes. The growth inhibition was correlated with down-regulation of the catalytic subunit of telomerase (hTERT) gene (p < 0.01) and the corresponding reduction of telomerase activity in sub-cytotoxic concentrations of boldine (p < 0.002). However, various modes of cell death were stimulated, depending on the concentration of boldine. Very low concentrations of boldine over a few passages resulted in an accumulation of senescent cells so that HepG-2 cells lost their immortality. Moreover, boldine induced apoptosis concomitantly with increasing the expression of bax/bcl2 (p < 0.02) and p21 (p < 0.01) genes. Boldine might thus be an interesting candidate as a potential natural compound that suppresses telomerase activity in non-toxic concentrations. View Full-Text
Keywords: boldine; chemoprevention; telomerase; apoptosis; senescence boldine; chemoprevention; telomerase; apoptosis; senescence

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kazemi Noureini, S.; Wink, M. Dose-Dependent Cytotoxic Effects of Boldine in HepG-2 Cells—Telomerase Inhibition and Apoptosis Induction. Molecules 2015, 20, 3730-3743.

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