Background: As a major tumor suppressor gene, P53 plays a principal role in the apoptosis of cancer cells. Harmine is a harmal-derived alkaloid with antioxidant and anticancer properties. This study was designed to assess the ability of harmine to express P53 gene and stimulate apoptosis in breast cancer cell line.
Methods: MCF-7 cell line was cultured and treated with harmine. Half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) assay was carried out through MMT method following 24 h of treatment. Flow cytometry technique was employed to measure apoptotic cells and real-time PCR was performed to estimate P53 gene expression in tumor cells.
Results: The IC50 for the harmine extract in MCF-7 cells was 30 μM. Harmine administration in all treated groups resulted in a significant increase in apoptosis and P53 gene expression in MCF-7 cells (P < 0.00001).
Conclusions: It seems that harmine administration is able to induce apoptosis in MCF-7 cells through the up-regulation of P53 expression.