Doxorubicin (DOXO), a widely used chemotherapeutic agent, induces apoptosis in transformed and non-transformed cells. The apoptotic effect of DOXO has been linked to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Antioxidants may be effective in the prevention of DOX-induced apoptosis. In the present study we investigated the effects of stobadine, a pyridoindole antioxidant in a DOXO-induced apoptosis model of P815 cells by flow cytometric analyses and by measuring caspase-3 and caspase-9 activities. Pretreating cells with stobadine significantly increased cell viability and decreased apoptosis rate. Inhibition in apoptosis was observed at maximum levels following treatment of cells with 10(-7) M stobadine as evident from flow cytometric analyses. The antiapoptotic effect of stobadine was further confirmed by inhibition of caspase-3 and caspase-9 activities. We found that the antioxidative effects of stobadine were comparable to the effects of a well known antioxidant, N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC). (C) 2007 International Federation for Cell Biology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.