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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 969476, 8 pages
Research Article

Karyotype and DNA-Methylation Responses in Myelodysplastic Syndromes following Treatment with Traditional Chinese Formula Containing Arsenic

National Hematological Medical Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Department of Hematology, Xiyuan Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100091, China

Received 30 July 2012; Revised 3 September 2012; Accepted 10 September 2012

Academic Editor: Shao Li

Copyright © 2012 Sun Shuzhen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have previously shown that arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula, Qing-Huang powder capsule (containing tetraarsenic tetrasulfide, As4S4), is effective in the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS); yet the underlined mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, using standard cytogenetic analysis (G-banded) and global DNA methylation method (ChIP-on-chip assays), we aimed to determine the effect of arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula on karyotype status and the genomic methylation level in primarily diagnosed MDS patients. Correlation of aberrant DNA methylation and chromosome aberrations in MDS was also investigated. We found that the number of genes with aberrant DNA methylation was highest in MDS patients with normal karyotype, followed by trisomy 8 karyotype, and relatively low in patients with cytogenetic abnormalities other than trisomy 8. Treatment with arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula had no effects on karyotype status, but resulted in a significant genome-wide demethylation. Our research uncovered a DNA demethylating activity of arsenic-containing Chinese herbal formula in the treatment of MDS.