, Volume 38, Issue 7, pp 4265-4272
Date: 30 Nov 2010

Effects of ascorbic acid and β-carotene on HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line

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Recent studies have demonstrated that vegetable rich diets have protective effects on the occurrence and prognosis of various cancers. In addition to dietary intakes, ascorbic acid and β-carotene are also taken as supplements. The aim of this study was to assess effects of ascorbic acid, β-carotene and their combinations on human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2. Ascorbic acid and β-carotene were applied to cells as plasma peak concentrations (70 and 8 μM, respectively) and their half concentrations (35 and 4 μM, respectively) for 24 and 48 h. Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of ascorbic acid and β-carotene were evaluated by alkali single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE), acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining patterns of cells (apoptosis and necrosis) and lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS). Results of the SCGE demonstrated that both ascorbic acid and β-carotene caused DNA damage on HepG2 which were also concordant to increased apoptosis and necrosis of cells. Increased TBARS values also demonstrated increased lipid peroxidation in these cells. Results of the present study demonstrates that when dietary intakes of ascorbic acid and β-carotene and their relevant achievable plasma level concentrations were considered, both ascorbic acid and β-carotene induce genotoxic and cytotoxic damage on HepG2 together with increased oxidative damage in contrast to their protective effect on healthy cells. This may be correlated to oxidative status and balance of ROS in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.