Most nontransformed cell lines respond to confluence by arresting the cell cycle in a viable G(1) phase, whereas immortalized cell lines growing in monolayer do not stop cell cycle progression in response to high cell density and are subjected to density-dependent apoptosis. We have examined the effects, in terms of cell growth, apoptosis, and expression of adhesion molecules of culturing contact inhibition-deficient hamster cells in the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Addition of 1.5% DMSO to the growth medium for 96 h arrested Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in the G(1) phase as a confluent monolayer, associated with a remarkable increase in the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27. Cells cultured in DMSO-containing medium showed increased levels of cadherins and alpha5beta1 and beta1 integrin complexes. Cell exposure to DMSO also reduced both cell density-dependent apoptosis and necrosis and resulted in increased Bcl-2 expression. These results converge to indicate that DMSO restores contact inhibition-induced growth arrest and prevents high-density-dependent apoptosis and suggest that the effect of DMSO may be mediated by intracellular signaling triggered by cell-extracellular matrix and cell-cell interactions. Both p27 and bcl-2 appear to be involved in the resumption of growth control accompanying cell adhesion in DMSO-exposed CHO cells.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.