Modulation of cadmium induced alterations in murine thymocytes by piperine: Oxidative stress, apoptosis, phenotyping and blastogenesis

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Piperine, a main component of Piper longum Linn. and Piper nigrum Linn., is a plant alkaloid with a long history of medicinal use in Indian medicine. It is known to exhibit a variety of biological activities which include anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, hepatoprotective and antitumor. Its immunomodulatory role has so far been limited to humoral response. The influence of piperine on murine thymocytes, immunocompromised by cadmium has been reported by us in this investigation. The various biochemical parameters such as oxidative stress markers (ROS and GSH), Bcl-2 protein expression, mitochondrial membrane potential, caspase-3 activity, DNA damage, blastogenesis and T lymphocyte phenotypes were determined. Cadmium (25 μM) induced apoptosis earliest at 6 h. Alterations in ROS and GSH preceded mitochondrial membrane depolarization and caspase-3 activation followed by apoptosis. The phenotypic changes occurred at 18 h and blastogenesis at 72 h. Various conc. of piperine (1, 10 and 50 μg/ml) when added along with Cd (25 μM) from 1.5 to 72 h, caused a dose and time dependent amelioration in all the cellular events mentioned above. Modulation of oxidative stress has earlier been reported to reduce Cd induced apoptosis in murine lymphocytes. Inhibition of the ROS production and replenishment of GSH by piperine, may in part be responsible for the suppression of downstream cascade of events, i.e. apoptosis, blastogenesis and T lymphocyte phenotyping. The study clearly demonstrated the anti-oxidative, anti-apoptotic, and restorative ability against cell proliferative mitogenic response and phenotypic alterations by piperine, suggesting its therapeutic usefulness in immunocompromised conditions.

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