Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 65–71 | Cite as

Induction of Apoptosis by Melamine in Differentiated PC12 Cells

  • Yang-guang Han
  • Shi-chang Liu
  • Tao Zhang
  • Zhuo Yang
Original Research


Melamine (2, 4, 6-triamino-1, 3, 5-triazine) was found in milk powder as an additive to raise the measured protein content in 2008 and thereby resulted in the outbreak of renal failure in infants in China. Previous studies focused on the renal toxicity in dogs and in cats. However, the toxicity of melamine in the central nervous system (CNS) is of little concern. The purpose of this study was to assess the possibility of melamine toxicity in differentiated PC12 cells. MTT assay indicated that melamine (above 33 μg/ml and 12 h) inhibited the proliferation of differentiated PC12 cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Hoechst 33258 staining and flow cytometry assay showed that melamine induced the apoptotic cell death rather than necrosis in a dose-dependent manner. Reduced superoxide dismutase activity indirectly indicated that melamine could cause oxidative damage in differentiated PC12 cells. These results suggest that melamine is able to cause cytotoxicity in differentiated PC12 cells with involvement of oxidative damage and will provide evidence for further research on the potential toxicity in CNS.


Melamine Apoptosis PC12 cell SOD 



This study was partly supported by Tianjin Research Program of Application Foundation, and the Advanced Technology(10jczdjc19100), and The National Natural Science Foundation of China (30870827).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang-guang Han
    • 1
  • Shi-chang Liu
    • 1
  • Tao Zhang
    • 2
  • Zhuo Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Medicine, The Key Laboratory of Bioactive MaterialsMinistry of Education Nankai UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.College of Life ScienceNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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