Telomere Science Library

Publications, Presentations, and Videos
about the Nobel-Prize Winning Science of Telomere Biology

The correlation between telomerase activity and Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in valproic acid-treated MCF-7 breast cancer cell line.

Authors: Zahra Z. Vafaiyan, Roghaye R. Gharaei, Jahanbakhsh J. Asadi
Published: 09/09/2015, Iranian journal of basic medical sciences


Valproic acid (VPA), a drug used in the treatment of neurological disorders, has been shown to have cytotoxic effects on cancer cells through different mechanisms. Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein reverse transcriptase, is responsible for elongation of the telomere and is activated in cancers. A relation between telomerase activity and resistance to apoptosis has been established. This study focused on probable effects of VPA on MCF-7 cancer cells. In particular, we investigated VPA effects on viability, apoptosis and telomerase activity.

Materials And Methods

Cytotoxicity effects of VPA on MCF-7 cells were determined by neutral red uptake assay. Cells were treated with different concentrations of VPA (0-32 mM) and telomerase activity and Bax and Bcl-2 protein levels were determined using TRAP assay (PCR-ELISA) method and ELISA method, respectively.


The cytotoxic effects of different concentration of VPA on MCF-7 cells were observed as a reduction in cell viability and telomerase activity and altered expression of Bcl-2 family protein levels. The results also showed that there is a significant correlation between reduction of telomerase activity and increase in Bax/Bcl-2 ratio (P=0.001).


Our study demonstrated that cell viability of MCF-7 cells was decreased after treatment with VPA, probably through a reduction of telomerase activity and an increase in Bax/bcl-2 ratio. Therefore, it could be concluded that VPA is a potent anti-cancer agent for breast cancer cells through inhibition of telomerase activity and induction of apoptosis.