Luteolin inhibits Cr(VI)-induced malignant cell transformation of human lung epithelial cells by targeting ROS mediated multiple cell signaling pathways


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Abstract

Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a well-known human carcinogen associated with the incidence of lung cancer. Inhibition of metal induced carcinogenesis by a dietary antioxidant is a novel approach. Luteolin, a natural dietary flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. We found that short term exposure of human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) to Cr(VI) (5 μM) showed a drastic increase in ROS generation, NADPH oxidase (NOX) activation, lipid peroxidation, and glutathione depletion, which were significantly inhibited by the treatment with luteolin in a dose dependent manner. Treatment with luteolin decreased AP-1, HIF-1α, COX-2, and iNOS promoter activity induced by Cr(VI) in BEAS-2B cells. In addition, luteolin protected BEAS-2B cells from malignant transformation induced by chronic Cr(VI) exposure. Moreover, luteolin also inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α) and VEGF in chronic Cr(VI) exposed BEAS-2B cells. Western blot analysis showed that luteolin inhibited multiple gene products linked to survival (Akt, Fak, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL), inflammation (MAPK, NF-κB, COX-2, STAT-3, iNOS, TNF-α) and angiogenesis (HIF-1α, VEGF, MMP-9) in chronic Cr(VI) exposed BEAS-2B cells. Nude mice injected with BEAS-2B cells chronically exposed to Cr(VI) in the presence of luteolin showed reduced tumor incidence compared to Cr(VI) alone treated group. Overexpression of catalase (CAT) or SOD2, eliminated Cr(VI)-induced malignant transformation. Overall, our results indicate that luteolin protects BEAS-2B cells from Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis by scavenging ROS and modulating multiple cell signaling mechanisms that are linked to ROS. Luteolin, therefore, serves as a potential chemopreventive agent against Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis.HighlightsLuteolin inhibited Cr(VI)-induced oxidative stress.Luteolin inhibited chronic Cr(VI)-induced malignant transformation.Luteolin inhibited chronic Cr(VI)-induced inflammation.Luteolin inhibited chronic Cr(VI)-induced angiogenesis.

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