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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

MCF-7 cell cycle arrested at G1 through ursolic acid, and increased reduction of tetrazolium salts.

The effect of ursolic acid on the proliferation of MCF-7 human breast tumor cells was studied. During investigations of the anti-proliferative effects of this triterpene, we observed a clear difference between MTT colorimetric assay and direct cell counting, particularly 24 h after drug treatment. The MTT assay showed a stimulation of formazan production in the first 24 h exposure of cells to drug. The maximum stimulation was obtained with 15 and 20 microM of ursolic acid (about 30 - 40% of increase with respect to control); however, the number of cells was not increased as revealed by direct cell counting. Ursolic acid is a potent inhibitor of MCF-7 cell proliferation. This triterpene exhibits both cytostatic and cytotoxic activity. It exerts an early cytostatic effect at G1 followed by cell death. Cell cycle analysis is performed by propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry technique. These results suggest that alterations in cell cycle phase redistribution of MCF-7 human breast cancer, by ursolic acid, may significantly influence MTT reduction to formazan.[1]


  1. MCF-7 cell cycle arrested at G1 through ursolic acid, and increased reduction of tetrazolium salts. Es-Saady, D., Simon, A., Jayat-Vignoles, C., Chulia, A.J., Delage, C. Anticancer Res. (1996) [Pubmed]
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