Background & objective: The most common haematological malignancy is leukaemia. Differentiation induction is considered as one of the effective therapies for leukemia. Piperine, an alkaloid extracted from piperaceae, has been reported to display a variety of pharmacological activities, including sedation, anti-inflammation and antitumor effects. This study was to investigate the effect of piperine on proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis of erythroleukemia K562 cells.
Methods: Inhibition of cell growth was determined by trypan blue exclusion test; cell cycle and cell apoptosis were analyzed by FACS; induction of cell differentiation was confirmed by morphological observation, nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction assay and measurements of CD33 and CD14 expressions.
Results: Piperine induced K562 cells to differentiate into macrophages/monocytes at 20 micromol/L or 40 micromol/L. After incubation with 40 mumol/L piperine for 3 d, the NBT reduction rate of K562 cells increased from (8.5+/-1.9)% to (76.7+/-5.3)%; after incubation with 20 mumol/L piperine for 3 d, the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of CD33 in K562 cells was decreased by 42.05% (P<0.01), whereas the MFI of CD14 was doubled (P<0.01). Piperine inhibited the proliferation of K562 cells in a dose-and time-dependent manner at a concentration of above 20 micromol/L.
Conclusion: Piperine can induce K562 cells to differentiate into macrophages/monocytes.