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FEBS Lett. 1997 Mar 3;404(1):6-10.

The induction of apoptosis in proliferating human fibroblasts by oxygen radicals is associated with a p53- and p21WAF1CIP1 induction.

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Department of General Surgery, University of Ulm, Germany.


The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase (HX/XO) in the induction of apoptosis was studied in the human fibroblast cell line WI38. Apoptosis but not necrosis was observed in proliferating fibroblasts after 48 h incubation with 1 mM HX and 0.05 U/ml XO. Induction of apoptosis was hindered by catalase. Cell-cycle analysis revealed a reduction of cells in the S/G2 phase 24 and 48 h after stimulation, suggesting that ROS induce a G1 arrest in proliferating fibroblasts. This was supported by an accumulation of p53 and the cdk inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1. Since apoptosis was not inducible in senescent fibroblasts our data indicate that ROS mainly induces apoptosis in proliferating cells.

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