Paeonol induces apoptosis in human ovarian cancer cells

Acta Histochem. 2013 Oct;115(8):835-9. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 Jun 13.


Paeonol is a broad-spectrum antitumor agent, which is widely used in the treatment of various tumors in Asia. However, the effect of paeonol on ovarian cancer remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of paeonol on ovarian cancer cells and its possible mechanism. Results measured by MTT (methyl thiazoyltetrazolium) assay showed that cell viability was markedly reduced in a dosage-dependent manner, when treated with paeonol for 24 h. Flow cytometry and Hoechst staining results indicated that the rate of apoptosis in the paeonol pretreatment group was higher than the control group. After co-culture with paeonol, cleaved Caspase 3 protein levels increased while survivin protein levels decreased. In conclusion, our findings indicate that paeonol can induce apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells via activation of Caspase 3 and down-regulation of survivin, and therefore is potentially an effective chemotherapeutic agent for ovarian cancer.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Caspase 3; Ovarian cancer; Paeonol; Survivin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetophenones / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Acetophenones
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • paeonol