The role of quercetin and vitamin C in Nrf2-dependent oxidative stress production in breast cancer cells.
Oncol Lett. 2017 Mar ;13(3):1965-1973. Epub 2017 Jan 18. PMID: 28454351
The balance between the production and elimination of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is essential in determining whether cells survive or undergo apoptosis. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) may act as a sensor for electrophilic stress, thus regulating the intracellular antioxidant response. The present study investigated the role of vitamin C (VC) and quercetin (Q) in the induction of Nrf2-mediated oxidative stress in cancer cells. An MTT assay was conducted to examine the anti-proliferative effects of VC and Q. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis were performed to determine the messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression of Nrf2, respectively. The activity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate dehydrogenase quinone 1, heme oxygenase 1, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and reduced glutathione were measured by spectrophotometric analysis. Intracellular generation of ROS was determined using 2'-7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate fluorescent probes. The results demonstrated that the cytotoxicity (50% inhibitory concentration) of VC and Q were 271.6-480.1 and 155.1-232.9µM, respectively. Additionally, there was a significant decrease in the expression of Nrf2 mRNA and protein levels following the treatment of breast cancer cells with VC and Q (P=0.024). Following treatment with VC and Q, the nuclear/cytosolic Nrf2 ratio was reduced by 1.7-fold in MDA-MB 231 cells,2-fold in MDA-MB 468 cells, 1.4-fold in MCF-7 cells and 1.2 fold in A549 cells. Sequential treatment with VC and Q decreased endogenous production of ROS in a dose-dependent manner (P=0.027). The results of the current study suggest that VC and Q treatment may be developed as an adjuvant for patients with cancer and overexpression of Nrf2.