Human ovarian carcinoma cells (MDAH 2774) were treated with sodium
ascorbate (VC), menadione (VK3), or with a VC:VK3
combination for 1 h and then studied using light microscopy (LM) and
scanning (SEM) and transmission electron (TEM) microscopy. Plasma
membrane damage (blisters and blebs, hairy aspect) results from vitamin
C (VC) treatment, while cytoskeletal damage and self-morsellation are
caused by vitamin K3 (VK3) treatment.
VC:VK3-treated cells exhibit exacerbated injuries
characteristic of both VC and VK3 treatment as well as a
significant decrease in cell diameters from 20–35 μm for
control cells to 7–12 μm for VC:VK3 treatment.
Moreover, after a 1-h exposure to the vitamin combination, autoschizis
(43%), apoptosis (3%), and oncosis (1.9%) are observed at the
percentages indicated. All cellular changes associated with autoschizis
observed with SEM were confirmed by LM and TEM observations and are
consistent with cell death by autoschizis: decrease in cell size,
cytoplasmic self-excisions, degradation of the nucleus and nucleolus
without formation of apoptotic bodies and, ultimately, karyorrhexis and
karyolysis. These results also suggest that the vitamin combination may
find clinical use in the treatment of ovarian cancer.