Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) protects against chromate-induced toxicityin vitro

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Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a human carcinogen that results in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a variety of DNA lesions leading to cell death. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol present in green tea, possesses potent antioxidative activity capable of protecting normal cells from various stimuli-induced oxidative stress and cell death. Here we demonstrated that co-treatment with EGCG protected human normal bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells from Cr(VI)-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner. Cr(VI) induces apoptosis as the primary mode of cell death. Co-treatment of BEAS-2B cells with EGCG dose-dependently suppressed Cr(VI)-induced apoptosis. Fluorescence microscopic analyses and quantitative measurement revealed that EGCG significantly decreased intracellular levels of ROS induced by Cr(VI) exposure. Using a well-established K+/SDS precipitation assay, we further showed that EGCG was able to dose-dependently reduce DNA–protein cross-links (DPC), lesions that could be partially attributed to Cr(VI)-induced oxidative stress. Finally, analyses of Affymetrix microarray containing 28,869 well-annotated genes revealed that, among the 3412 genes changed more than 1.5-fold by Cr(VI) treatment, changes of 2404 genes (70%) were inhibited by pretreatment of EGCG. Real-time PCR confirmed the induction of 3 genes involved in cell death and apoptosis by Cr(VI), which was eliminated by EGCG. In contrast, Cr(VI) reduced the expression of 3 genes related to cellular defense, and this reduction was inhibited by EGCG. Our results indicate that EGCG protects BEAS-2B cells from Cr(VI)-induced cytotoxicity presumably by scavenging ROS and modulating a subset of genes. EGCG, therefore, might serve as a potential chemopreventive agent against Cr(VI) carcinogenesis.

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