- Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) was recently suggested as a third subcellular compartment in apoptotic execution. Survivin is a member of inhibitors of apoptosis and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) prevents apoptosis from various apoptotic stimuli. To assess the activity of survivin and the effect of UDCA on the survivin in ER stress-mediated apoptosis, we treated hepatoma cell lines with thapsigargin (TG). TG-induced apoptosis was assessed by morphological changes, DNA fragmentation, cleavages of poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP), and activation of calpain and caspase-12. The level of survivin was decreased after TG treatment in hepatoma cell lines indicating that survivin play an important role in ER stress-mediated apoptosis. UDCA prevented decrease in survivin levels and inhibited TG-induced apoptosis and caspase-12 activation suggesting an anti-apoptotic effect of UDCA.