Our previous work has reported an anti-proliferative compound from moutan cortex, paeoniflorigenone which can induce cancer-selective apoptosis. However, its antiproliferative mechanism is still unknown. According to morphology changes (hypertrophy and flattening), we hypothesized that PFG can induce senescence or inhibit cell mitosis. Here we show that PFG can induce cellular senescence, evidenced by the expression of senescence-associated β-galactosidase, G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and permanent loss of proliferative ability, in normal TIG-1 diploid fibroblast but not cancerous HeLa cells. In cancerous HeLa cells, PFG inhibited proliferation by inducing S and G2/M cell cycle arrest and mitosis inhibition. DNA damage response was activated by PFG, interestingly the reactive oxygen species level was suppressed instead of escalated. To sum up, we report 3 new roles of PFG as, 1. inducer of premature senescence in normal TIG-1 cells, 2. inhibitor of mitosis in cancerous HeLa cells, 3. ROS scavenger.
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