In determining the morphological appearance of Balb/c 3T3 cells from berberine-treated (100 and 200 μg/ml) cultures by light microscopy demonstrated that the high berberine concentration (200 μg/ml) treatment was associated with the accumulation of numerous apoptotic cells, as identified by condensed nuclei and decrease in cell size. On the other hand, accumulation of cells in G2/M phase instead of induction of apoptosis was observed after 48-72 h of 100 μg/ml berberine treatment. Berberine was found mainly in cytoplasm during berberine-induced (100 μg/ml) cell cycle G2/M arrest, while it was highly concentrated in nuclei in the induction of apoptosis under high dose of berberine (200 μg/ml) treatment. Further addition of berberine (100-200 μg/ml) had little effect on the induction of apoptosis in the cells that had already been exposed to 100 μg/ml of berberine for 48 h. Our results suggest that there may exist in Balb/c 3T3 cells an important threshold for regulation of cell cycle pause and induction of apoptosis, that is dose-dependent.
- cell cycle pause
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