Plant polyphenols are important components of human diet, and a number of them are considered to possess chemopreventive and therapeutic properties against cancer. They are recognized as naturally occurring anti-oxidants but also act as pro-oxidants catalyzing DNA degradation in the presence of metal ions such as copper. The plant polyphenol resveratrol confers resistance to plants against fungal agents and has been implicated as a cancer chemopreventive agent. Of particular interest is the observation that resveratrol has been found to induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines but not in normal cells. Over the last few years, we have shown that resveratrol is capable of causing DNA breakage in cells such as human lymphocytes. Such cellular DNA breakage is inhibited by copper specific chelators but not by iron and zinc chelating agents. Similar results are obtained by using permeabilized cells or with isolated nuclei, indicating that chromatin-bound copper is mobilized in this reaction. It is well established that tissue, cellular and serum copper levels are considerably elevated in various malignancies. Therefore, cancer cells may be more subject to electron transfer between copper ions and resveratrol to generate reactive oxygen species responsible for DNA cleavage. The results are in support of our hypothesis that anti-cancer mechanism of plant polyphenols involves mobilization of endogenous copper and the consequent pro-oxidant action. Such a mechanism better explains the anti-cancer effects of resveratrol, as it accounts for the preferential cytotoxicity towards cancer cells.
"In spite of the numerous reports showing antioxidation as chemopreventive activity for berries and several of their constituents , we must recall that these chemicals may also have opposite effects; for example, flavonoids, such as apigenin and quercetin, as well as tannins are known to have DNA strand breaking abilities . Resveratrol and ascorbic acid have also been reported to possibly cause DNA breakage through the generation of ROS  . Heterogeneous effects of quercetin have also been reported; low doses were found to increase the production of micronuclei and chromosomal aberrations, contrary to the protective effect shown against mitomycin C genotoxicity with a high dose . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blueberry is a plant with a number of nutritional and biomedical capabilities. In the present study we initially evaluated the capacity of its juice (BJ) to inhibit the number of aberrant crypts (AC) induced with azoxymethane (AOM) in mouse. BJ was administered daily by the oral route to three groups of animals during four weeks (1.6, 4.1, and 15.0 íµí¼L/g), respectively, while AOM (10 mg/kg) was intraperitoneally injected to the mentioned groups, twice a week, in weeks two and three of the assay. We also included two control groups of mice, one administered distilled water and the other the high dose of BJ. A significant increase of AC was observed in the AOM treated animals, and a mean protection of 75.6% was determined with the two low doses of BJ tested; however, the high dose of the juice administered together with AOM increased the number of crypts more than four times the value observed in animals administered only AOM. Furthermore, we determined the antioxidant potential of BJ with an ex vivo DPPH assay and found a dose-dependent decrease with a mean of 19.5%. We also determined the DNA oxidation/antioxidation by identifying 8-hydroxy-2 í®í° -deoxyguanosine adducts and found a mean decrease of 44.3% with the BJ administration with respect to the level induced by AOM. Our results show a complex differential effect of BJ related to the tested doses, opening the need to further evaluate a number of factors so as to determine the possibility of a cocarcinogenic potential.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 09/2014; 2014. DOI:10.1155/2014/379890 · 1.88 Impact Factor
"A redox reaction of the polyphenols and Cu(II) in the ternary complex may occur leading to the reduction of Cu(II) to Cu(I), whose reoxidation generates a variety of ROS . This has been attributed as a primary reason behind the cytotoxic potential of several polyphenols including resveratrol  . Extensive work has been carried out on the health benefits of resveratrol and the associated mechanism of its action . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resveratrol (5-[(E)-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)ethenyl]benzene-1,3-diol), a redox active phytoalexin with a large number of beneficial activities is also known for antibacterial property. However the mechanism of action of resveratrol against bacteria remains unknown. Due to its extensive redox property it was envisaged if reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by resveratrol could be a reason behind its antibacterial activity. Employing Escherichia coli as a model organism we have evaluated the role of diffusible reactive oxygen species in the events leading to inhibition of this organism by resveratrol. Evidence for the role of ROS in E. coli treated with resveratrol was investigated by direct quantification of ROS by flow cytometry, supplementation with ROS scavengers, depletion of intracellular glutathione, employing mutants devoid of enzymatic antioxidant defences, induction of adaptive response prior to resveratrol challenge and monitoring oxidative stress response elements oxyR, soxS and soxR upon resveratrol treatment. Resveratrol treatment did not result in scavengable ROS generation in E. coli cells. However, evidence towards membrane damage was obtained by potassium leakage (atomic absorption spectrometry) and propidium iodide uptake (flow cytometry and microscopy) as an early event. Based on the comprehensive evidences this study concludes for the first time the antibacterial property of resveratrol against E. coli does not progress via the diffusible ROS but is mediated by site-specific oxidative damage to the cell membrane as the primary event.
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