Stevioside enhances apoptosis induced by serum deprivation in PC12 cells

Toxicol Mech Methods. 2012 May;22(4):243-9. doi: 10.3109/15376516.2012.658978. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


In the laboratory, using a PC12 cell system, studies have been conducted on the effects of various chemicals on apoptosis, as it is considered to be an essential part of normal development, maintenance, and defense in organisms. Stevioside is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana. Since it is widely used as a sugar replacement, it was decided to evaluate the toxicological effects of low concentrations of stevioside on apoptosis induced by serum deprivation using the PC12 cell system. It was found that based on data from DNA electrophoresis and TUNEL signal assays stevioside enhanced apoptosis induced by serum deprivation. This enhancement was caused by increased expression of Bax and of cytochrome c released into the cytosol. These findings suggest that stevioside affects the regulation of the normal apoptotic condition. Further investigation will be needed to clarify the detailed mechanism of the enhancement due to the treatment with stevioside.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cytochromes c / genetics
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Diterpenes, Kaurane / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / genetics
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Bax protein, rat
  • Diterpenes, Kaurane
  • Glucosides
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • stevioside
  • Cytochromes c