In vivo reactivation of DNases in implanted human prostate tumors after administration of a vitamin C/K3 combination

Henryk S. Taper, James M. Jamison, J. Gilloteaux, Carley A. Gwin, T. Gordon, Jack L Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human prostate cancer cells (DU145) implanted into nude mice are deficient in DNase activity. After administration of a vitamin C/vitamin K3 combination, both alkaline DNase (DNase I) and acid DNase (DNase II) activities were detected in cryosections with a histochemical lead nitrate technique. Alkaline DNase activity appeared 1 hr after vitamin administration, decreased slightly until 2 hr, and disappeared by 8 hr after treatment. Acid DNase activity appeared 2 hr after vitamin administration, reached its highest levels between 4 and 8 hr, and maintained its activity 24 hr after treatment. Methyl green staining indicated that DNase expression was accompanied by a decrease in DNA content of the tumor cells. Microscopic examination of 1-μm sections of the tumors indicated that DNase re-activation and the subsequent degradation of DNA induced multiple forms of tumor cell death, including apoptosis and necrosis. The primary form of vitamin-induced tumor cell death was autoschizis, which is characterized by membrane damage and the progressive loss of cytoplasm through a series of self-excisions. These self-excisions typically continue until the perikaryon consists of an apparently intact nucleus surrounded by a thin rim of cytoplasm that contains damaged organelles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer cell death
  • DNase
  • Necrobiology
  • Prostate cancer
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K


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