[Differentiation of erythroleukemia K562 cells induced by piperine]

Ai Zheng. 2008 Jun;27(6):571-4.
[Article in Chinese]


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / analysis
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells / cytology
  • K562 Cells / drug effects*
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / analysis
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3


  • Alkaloids
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • Benzodioxoles
  • CD33 protein, human
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3
  • piperine