Melatonin's inhibitory effect on growth of ME-180 human cervical cancer cells is not related to intracellular glutathione concentrations

Published on Tuesday, 03 April 2018


The effects of various concentrations of melatonin on the growth of ME-180 human cervical cancer cells in vitro was examined.

Melatonin at a concentration of 2 mM inhibited the growth of the cells after 48 h of melatonin treatment. At concentrations of 2 microM or 0.1 mM melatonin had no effect on cell proliferation.

To determine whether the inhibitory effect of melatonin on the growth of the cervical cancer cells was linked to intracellular glutathione concentrations, experiments were performed in which intracellular glutathione levels were depressed by the addition of buthionine sulfoximine to the incubation medium 24 h before the addition of melatonin.

The results show that 2 mM melatonin treatment still inhibits the growth of cells when glutathione levels are depressed by 95%. Even with depressed glutathione levels, 0.1 mM melatonin still had no effect on cell growth.

Thus, melatonin's ability to inhibit ME-180 cervical cell growth in vitro may be independent of intracellular glutathione concentrations. It was also found that during one passage the intracellular glutathione levels of cervical cancer cells gradually decreases. When 4.5-day-old medium was replaced with new medium, intracellular glutathione levels partially recovered within 36 h.

This suggests that the observed gradual reduction of cellular glutathione during incubation was a result of a reduction of some constituent in the medium after prolonged culture of the cells.


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