para-Phenylenediamine induces apoptosis through activation of reactive oxygen species-mediated mitochondrial pathway, and inhibition of the NF-κB, mTOR, and Wnt pathways in human urothelial cells

Kasi Reena, Khuen Yen Ng, Rhun Yian Koh, Ponnudurai Gnanajothy, Soi Moi Chye

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17 Citations (Scopus)


para-Phenylenediamine (PPD) has long been used in two-thirds of permanent oxidative hair dye formulations. Epidemiological studies and in vivo studies have shown that hair dye is a suspected carcinogen of bladder cancer. However, the toxicity effects of PPD to human bladder remains elusive. In this study, the effects of PPD and its involvement in the apoptosis pathways in human urothelial cells (UROtsa) was investigated. It was demonstrated that PPD decreased cell viability and increased the number of sub-G1 hypodiploid cells in UROtsa cells. Cell death due to apoptosis was detected using Annexin V binding assay. Further analysis showed PPD generated reactive oxygen species (ROS), induced mitochondrial dysfunction through the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and increased caspase-3 level in UROtsa cells. Western blot analysis of PPD-treated UROtsa cells showed down-regulation of phosphorylated proteins from NF-κB, mTOR, and Wnt pathways. In conclusion, PPD induced apoptosis via activation of ROS-mediated mitochondrial pathway, and possibly through inhibition of NF-κB, mTOR, and Wnt pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-277
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • apoptosis
  • human urothelial cells
  • mTOR
  • NF-κB
  • para-phenylenediamine

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