Kaempferol induces DNA damage and inhibits DNA repair associated protein expressions in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells

Am J Chin Med. 2015;43(2):365-82. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X1550024X. Epub 2015 Mar 17.


Numerous evidences have shown that plant flavonoids (naturally occurring substances) have been reported to have chemopreventive activities and protect against experimental carcinogenesis. Kaempferol, one of the flavonoids, is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables, and may have cancer chemopreventive properties. However, the precise underlying mechanism regarding induced DNA damage and suppressed DNA repair system are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated whether kaempferol induced DNA damage and affected DNA repair associated protein expression in human leukemia HL-60 cells in vitro. Percentages of viable cells were measured via a flow cytometry assay. DNA damage was examined by Comet assay and DAPI staining. DNA fragmentation (ladder) was examined by DNA gel electrophoresis. The changes of protein levels associated with DNA repair were examined by Western blotting. Results showed that kaempferol dose-dependently decreased the viable cells. Comet assay indicated that kaempferol induced DNA damage (Comet tail) in a dose-dependent manner and DAPI staining also showed increased doses of kaempferol which led to increased DNA condensation, these effects are all of dose-dependent manners. Western blotting indicated that kaempferol-decreased protein expression associated with DNA repair system, such as phosphate-ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (p-ATM), phosphate-ataxia-telangiectasia and Rad3-related (p-ATR), 14-3-3 proteins sigma (14-3-3σ), DNA-dependent serine/threonine protein kinase (DNA-PK), O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), p53 and MDC1 protein expressions, but increased the protein expression of p-p53 and p-H2AX. Protein translocation was examined by confocal laser microscopy, and we found that kaempferol increased the levels of p-H2AX and p-p53 in HL-60 cells. Taken together, in the present study, we found that kaempferol induced DNA damage and suppressed DNA repair and inhibited DNA repair associated protein expression in HL-60 cells, which may be the factors for kaempferol induced cell death in vitro.

Keywords: Comet Assay; DNA Damage; DNA Repair; Human Leukemia HL-60 Cells; Kaempferol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Chemoprevention
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • DNA Repair / drug effects*
  • Flavonoids*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Kaempferols / pharmacology*
  • Kaempferols / therapeutic use
  • Leukemia, Prolymphocytic / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Prolymphocytic / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Prolymphocytic / prevention & control
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Flavonoids
  • Kaempferols
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • kaempferol