Archives of Pharmacal Research

, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 1216–1224 | Cite as

Apoptosis-mediated cytotoxicity of ouabain, digoxin and proscillaridin A in the estrogen independent MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells

  • Katarzyna WinnickaEmail author
  • Krzysztof Bielawski
  • Anna Bielawska
  • Wojciech Miltyk


We examined the effects of three cardiac glycosides, ouabain, digoxin and proscillaridin A, on the proliferation of estrogen independent MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. In terms of reduction in cell viability, the compounds rank for both 24 h and 48 h of incubation in MDA-MB-231 cells in the order proscillaridin A > digoxin > ouabain. Digoxin for 24 h and 48 h of incubation in MDA-MB-231 cells proved to be only slightly more potent than ouabain, with IC50 values of 122 ± 2 and 70 ± 2 nM, respectively, compared to 150 ± 2 and 90 ± 2 nM for ouabain. In contrast, proscillaridin A, was much more active and showed a high level of cytotoxic potency, IC50 51 ± 2 and 15 ± 2 nM for 24 h and 48 h of incubation, respectively. The concentrations of digoxin, ouabain and proscillaridin A needed to inhibit [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA by 50% (IC50) in MDA-MB-231 cells for 24 h of incubation were found to be 124 ± 2 nM, 142 ± 2 nM, and 48 ± 2 nM, respectively. In the present study, we demonstrated that ouabain, digoxin, and proscillaridin A induce apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells by increasing free calcium concentration and by activating caspase-3.

Key words

Cytotoxicity Apoptosis Breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells Ouabain Digoxin Proscillaridin A 


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Copyright information

© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katarzyna Winnicka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Krzysztof Bielawski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anna Bielawska
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wojciech Miltyk
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of PharmacyMedical University in BialystokBialystokPoland
  2. 2.Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Technology, Faculty of PharmacyMedical University in BialystokBialystokPoland

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