The Prooxidant Action of Dietary Antioxidants Leading to Cellular DNA Breakage and Anticancer Effects: Implications for Chemotherapeutic Action Against Cancer
ABSTRACT Plant-derived dietary antioxidants have attracted considerable interest in recent past for their ability to induce apoptosis and regression of tumors in animal models. While it is believed that the antioxidant properties of these agents may contribute to lowering the risk of cancer induction by impeding oxidative injury to DNA, it could not account for apoptosis induction and chemotherapeutic observations. In this article, we show that dietary antioxidants can alternatively switch to a prooxidant action in the presence of transition metals such as copper. Such a prooxidant action leads to strand breaks in cellular DNA and growth inhibition in cancer cells. Further, the cellular DNA breakage and anticancer effects were found to be significantly enhanced in the presence of copper ions. Moreover, inhibition of antioxidant-induced DNA strand breaks and oxidative stress by Cu(I)-specific chelators bathocuproine and neocuproine demonstrated the role of endogenous copper in the induction of the prooxidant mechanism. Since it is well established that tissue, cellular, and serum copper levels are considerably elevated in various malignancies, such a prooxidant cytotoxic mechanism better explains the anticancer activity of dietary antioxidants against cancer cells.
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ABSTRACT: " Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" was quoted by Hippocrates more than two thousand years ago and since ancient times the health benefits of different natural agents have been exploited. In modern research, the disease preventive benefits of many such natural agents, particularly dietary compounds and their derivatives, has been attributed to their well recognized activity as the regulators of redox state of the cell. Nevertheless, most of these studies have focused on their antioxidant activity. A large body of evidence indicates that a major fraction of these agents can elicit pro-oxidant (radical generating) behavior which has been linked to their anti-cancer effects. This editorial provides an overview of the under-appreciated pro-oxidant activity of natural products, with a special focus on their ability to generate reactive oxygen species in the presence of transition metal ions, and discusses their possible use as cancer chemotherapeutic agents.F1000Research. 01/2013; 2.
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ABSTRACT: Plant-derived polyphenols, a prominent class of phytochemicals, are considered important components of human diet. A number of them are known to possess chemopreventive and therapeutic properties against various diseases including cancer. Several studies using cancer cell lines and animal models of carcinogenesis have shown that a wide range of polyphenols possess anticancer and apoptosis-inducing properties. Notably, an important aspect of the chemopreventive action of polyphenols is their differential activity in selectively targeting cancer cells while sparing normal cells. However, the mechanism through which polyphenols modulate their cancer cell selective anticancer effects has not been clearly delineated. In this regard, identification of a definitive anticancer mechanism of polyphenols would contribute to establish them as potent lead compounds for the synthesis of novel anticancer drugs. Although polyphenols are generally recognized as antioxidants, they also act as prooxidants inducing DNA degradation in the presence of metal ions such as copper. Based on our own observations and those of others, a mechanism for the anticancer properties of polyphenols that involves mobilization of chromatin-bound copper and consequent prooxidant action leading to cell death, was proposed. Since it is known that tissue and cellular copper levels are significantly elevated in a number of malignancies, cancer cells would be more subject to redox cycling between copper ions and polyphenols to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) responsible for DNA breakage. This review discusses such a copper-dependent prooxidant mechanism of action of polyphenols that accounts for their observed chemopreventive properties, as also for their preferential cytotoxicity towards cancer cells.Current drug targets 11/2012; · 3.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Plant-derived dietary antioxidants have attracted considerable interest in recent past for their chemopreventive and cancer therapeutic abilities in animal models. Thymoquinone (TQ) is the major bioactive constituent of volatile oil of Nigella sativa and has been shown to exert various pharmacological properties, such as anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, analgesic, anti-neoplastic, anticancer and chemopreventive. Although several mechanisms have been suggested for the chemopreventive and anticancer activity of TQ, a clear mechanism of action of TQ has not been elucidated. TQ is a known antioxidant at lower concentrations and most of the studies elucidating the mechanism have centered on the antioxidant property. However, recent publications have shown that TQ may act as a prooxidant at higher concentrations. It is well known that plant-derived antioxidants can switch to prooxidants even at low concentrations in the presence of transition metal ions such as copper. It is well established that tissue, cellular and serum copper levels are considerably elevated in various malignancies. Copper is an important metal ion present in the chromatin and is closely associated with DNA bases, particularly guanine. Using human peripheral lymphocytes and comet assay, we first show that TQ is able to cause oxidative cellular DNA breakage. Such a DNA breakage can be inhibited by copper-chelating agents, neocuproine and bathocuproine, and scavengers of reactive oxygen species. Further, it is seen that TQ targets cellular copper in prostate cancer cell lines leading to a prooxidant cell death. We believe that such a prooxidant cytotoxic mechanism better explains the anticancer activity of plant-derived antioxidants.Cell Death & Disease 01/2013; 4:e660. · 6.04 Impact Factor