Synergistic effect of hydrogen peroxide on polyploidization during the megakaryocytic differentiation of K562 leukemia cells by PMA

Yoshihiro Ojima, Mark Thompson Duncan, Retno Wahyu Nurhayati, Masahito Taya, William Martin Miller

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The human myelogenous cell line, K562 has been extensively used as a model for the study of megakaryocytic (MK) differentiation, which could be achieved by exposure to phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). In this study, real-time PCR analysis revealed that the expression of catalase (cat) was significantly repressed during MK differentiation of K562 cells induced by PMA. In addition, PMA increased the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) concentration, suggesting that ROS was a key factor for PMA-induced differentiation. PMA-differentiated K562 cells were exposed to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to clarify the function of ROS during MK differentiation. Interestingly, the percentage of high-ploidy (DNA content >4N) cells with H2O2 was 34.8±2.3% at day 9, and was 70% larger than that without H2O2 (21.5±0.8%). Further, H2O2 addition during the first 3 days of PMA-induced MK differentiation had the greatest effect on polyploidization. In an effort to elucidate the mechanisms of enhanced polyploidization by H2O2, the BrdU assay clearly indicated that H2O2 suppressed the division of 4N cells into 2N cells, followed by the increased polyploidization of K562 cells. These findings suggest that the enhancement in polyploidization mediated by H2O2 is due to synergistic inhibition of cytokinesis with PMA. Although H2O2 did not increase ploidy during the MK differentiation of primary cells, we clearly observed that cat expression was repressed in both immature and mature primary MK cells, and that treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine effectively blocked and/or delayed the polyploidization of immature MK cells. Together, these findings suggest that MK cells are more sensitive to ROS levels during earlier stages of maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2205-2215
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013


  • Catalase down-regulation
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • K562 cell
  • Megakaryocytic differentiation
  • Polyploidization
  • Reactive oxygen species


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