Protective effects of xanthohumol against the genotoxicity of benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ) and tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BOOH) in HepG2 human hepatoma cells.
Mutat Res. 2007 Aug 15 ;632(1-2):1-8. Epub 2007 May 21. PMID: 17590382
Xanthohumol is the major prenylated flavonoid present in the hop plant Humulus lupulus L. (Cannabinaceae) and a common ingredient of beer. Recently, xanthohumol has gained considerable interest due to its potential cancer chemo-preventive effect. The aim of this study was to reveal the possible anti-genotoxic activity of xanthohumol in metabolically competent human hepatoma HepG2 cells, by use of the comet assay. Xanthohumol by itself was neither cytotoxic nor genotoxic to the cells at concentrations below 10microM. However, a significant protective effect against the pro-carcinogens benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) and 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ) was observed at concentrations as low as 0.01microM. In cells treated with xanthohumol in combination with tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BOOH) - an inducer of reactive oxygen species (ROS) - no protective effect was observed and xanthohumol also showed no significant scavenging activity against 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals. On the other hand, HepG2 cells pre-treated with xanthohumol showed significantly reduced levels of t-BOOH-induced DNA strand breaks, indicating that its protective effect is mediated by induction of cellular defence mechanisms against oxidative stress. As xanthohumol is known to be an effective inhibitor of cytochrome P450 enzymes and an inducer of NAD(P)H: quinone reductase (QR), our findings can be explained by an inhibition of metabolic activation of pro-carcinogens and/or by induction of carcinogen-detoxifying and anti-oxidative enzymes by xanthohumol. These results provide evidence that xanthohumol displays anti-genotoxic activity in metabolically competent human cells.