Antioxidant effect of a phytoestrogen equol on cultured muscle cells of embryonic broilers.
ABSTRACT Previous studies have shown that the in ovo injection of equol can markedly improve the water-holding capacity of muscles of broilers chickens at 7 wk of age through promotion of the antioxidant status. We aimed to investigate directly the antioxidant effects of equol on muscle cells in broilers. Muscle cells were separated from leg muscle of embryos on the 11th day of incubation and treated with equol and H(2)O(2), either alone or together. Cells were pretreated with medium containing 1, 10, or 100 μM equol for 1 h prior to the addition of 1 mM H(2)O(2) for a further 1 h. Photomicrographs of cells were obtained. Cell viability, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and L-lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in the cell supernatant, as well as intracellular total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities were determined. Treatment with 1 mM H(2)O(2) caused serious damage to cells, indicated by comets with no clear head region but a very apparent tail of DNA fragments. Pretreatment with low (1 μM) but not high concentrations of equol (10 μM) inhibited cell damage, while 100 μM equol caused more serious damage than H(2)O(2) alone. Pretreatment with 1 μM equol had no effect on cell viability, while pretreatment with 10 and 100 μM equol significantly decreased cell viability in a dose-dependent manner. Compared with H(2)O(2) alone, pretreatment with low-dosage equol markedly decreased LDH activity and MDA production in the supernatant, significantly increased intracellular T-SOD activity (P < 0.05) and tended to increase intracellular GSH-Px activity (0.05 < P < 0.1). Pretreatment with high-dosage equol (10 and 100 μM) significantly enhanced LDH activity, but had no effect on MDA content, T-SOD or GSH-Px activity induced by H(2)O(2,) except for an obvious increase in GSH-Px activity caused by 10 μM equol. These results indicate that equol at low dosage can prevent skeletal muscle cell damage induced by H(2)O(2), while pretreatment with high-dosage equol shows a synergistic effect with H(2)O(2) in inducing cell damage.