Dimethyl sulfoxide restores contact inhibition-induced growth arrest and inhibits cell density-dependent apoptosis in hamster cells

Exp Cell Res. 1999 Aug 25;251(1):102-10. doi: 10.1006/excr.1999.4542.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Annexin A5 / metabolism
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Communication / drug effects
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Contact Inhibition / drug effects*
  • Contact Inhibition / physiology
  • Cricetinae
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • G1 Phase / drug effects
  • Integrin beta1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Fibronectin / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • Annexin A5
  • Cadherins
  • Cdkn1b protein, mouse
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Integrin beta1
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Receptors, Fibronectin
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide