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Abstract: Oxidants, antioxidants and carcinogenesis

  [ 24 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • September 29, 2003

Indian J Exp Biol. 2002 Nov;40(11):1213-32.

Ray G, Husain SA.

Department of Biosciences, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi 110025, India.

Reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs), such as superoxide anions (O2*-) hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and hydroxyl radical (*OH), malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) are directly or indirectly involved in multistage process of carcinogenesis. They are mainly involved in DNA damage leading sometimes to mutations in tumour suppressor genes.
They also act as initiator and/or promotor in carcinogenesis. Some of them are mutagenic in mammalian systems. O2*-, H2O2 and *OH are reported to be involved in higher frequencies of sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) and chromosome breaks and gaps (CBGs).

MDA, a bi-product of lipid peroxidation (LPO), is said to be involved in DNA adduct formations, which are believed to be responsible for carcinogenesis. NO, on the other hand, plays a duel role in cancer.

At high concentration it kills tumour cells, but at low concentration it promotes tumour growth and metastasis. It causes DNA single and double strand breaks. The metabolites of NO such as peroxynitrite (OONO-) is a potent mutagen that can induce transversion mutations. NO can stimulate O2*-/H2O2/*OH-induced LPO. These deleterious actions of oxidants can be countered by antioxidant defence system in humans. There are first line defense antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and catalase (CAT).

SOD converts O2*- to H2O2, which is further converted to H2O with the help of GPx and CAT. SOD inhibits *OH production. SOD also act as antipoliferative agent, anticarcinogens, and inhibitor at initiation and promotion/transformation stage in carcinogenesis. GPx is another antioxidative enzyme which catalyses to convert H2O2, to H2O.

The most potent enzyme is CAT. GPx and CAT are important in the inactivation of many environmental mutagens. CAT is also found to reduce the SCE levels and chromosomal aberrations. Antioxidative vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and C have a number of biological activities such as immune stimulation, inhibition of nitrosamine formation and an alteration of metabolic activations of carcinogens. They can prevent genetic changes by inhibiting DNA damage induced by the ROMs. Therefore, these antioxidants may be helpful in the treatment of human cancer. However, detailed studies are required to draw a definite conclusion.

PMID: 13677623 [PubMed - in process]

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