Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) induces telomere shortening and clastogenic damage in glioblastoma cells.
Environ Mol Mutagen. 2019 Apr 26. Epub 2019 Apr 26. PMID: 31026358
Epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) is the major polyphenol in green tea, to which many anticancer features, such as anti-oxidative, anti-genotoxic and anti-angiogenetic properties, are attributed. Moreover, it is also well known as a telomerase inhibitor. In this work, we have chronically treated U251 glioblastoma cells with low, physiologically realistic concentrations, of EGCG, in order to investigate its effects both on telomeres and on genome integrity. Inhibition of telomerase activity caused telomere shortening, ultimately leading to senescence and telomere dysfunction at 98 days. Remarkably, we have observed DNA damage through an increase of phosphorylation ofγ-H2AX histone and micronuclei also with doses and at timepoints when telomere shortening was not present. Therefore, we concluded that this DNA damage was not correlated with telomere shortening and that EGCG treatment induced not only an increase of telomere-shortening-induced senescence, but also telomere-independent genotoxicity. This study questions the common knowledge about EGCG properties, but confirms the few works that indicated the clastogenic properties of this molecule, probably due to DNA reductive damage and topoisomerase II poisoning.