, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 1183-1189

Role of NADPH oxidase-mediated generation of reactive oxygen species in the mechanism of apoptosis induced by phenolic acids in HepG2 human hepatoma cells

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Although plant-derived phenolic acids have been reported to have anti-cancer activity, the exact mechanism is not completely understood. In this study, we investigated the role for reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a mediator of the apoptosis induced by caffeic acid (CA) and ferulic acid (FA), common phenolic acids in plants, in HepG2 human hepatoma cells. CA and FA reduced cell viability, and induced apoptotic cell death in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, they evoked a dose-related elevation of intracellular ROS. Treatment with various inhibitors of NADPH oxidase (diphenylene iodonium, apocynin, neopterine) significantly blunted both the generation of ROS and the induction of apoptosis induced by CA and FA. These results suggest that ROS generated through activation of NADPH oxidase may play an essential role in the apoptosis induced by CA and FA in HepG2 cells. These results further suggest that CA and FA may be valuable for the therapeutic management of human hepatomas.