Differential in vitro cytotoxicity of (-)-epicatechin gallate (ECG) to cancer and normal cells from the human oral cavity

H Babich, M E Krupka, H A Nissim, H L Zuckerbraun
Toxicology in Vitro: An International Journal Published in Association with BIBRA 2005, 19 (2): 231-42
This study evaluated the biologic activity of epicatechin gallate (ECG), a polyphenol in tea, to carcinoma HSC-2 cells and normal HGF-2 fibroblasts cells from the human oral cavity. The relative cytotoxicity of ECG, as compared to five other polyphenols in tea, was evaluated. For the HSC-2 carcinoma cells, ECG, catechin gallate (CG), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) grouped as highly toxic, epigallocatechin (EGC) as moderately toxic, and catechin (C) and epicatechin (EC) as least toxic. For the HGF-2 fibroblasts, ECG and CG grouped as highly toxic, EGCG as moderately toxic, and EGC, C, and EC as least toxic. The cytotoxic effects of the polyphenols were more pronounced to the carcinoma, than to the normal, cells. The addition of ECG to cell culture medium led to the generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). However, ECG, as compared to EGCG, was a poor generator of H2O2 and, hence, the cytotoxicity of ECG was unaffected by the presence of the antioxidants, N-acetyl cysteine and glutathione, and catalase. The cytotoxicity of ECG was unaffected by a metabolic activating system, i.e., a hepatic microsomal S-9 mix. DNA fragmentation, caspase-3 activity, and nuclear staining, both with acridine orange and the TUNEL procedure, were used to assess ECG-induced apoptosis. ECG induced apoptosis in the carcinoma HSC-2 cells, but not in the normal HGF-2 fibroblasts. This research supports those studies suggesting that tea green is an effective chemopreventive agent of oral carcinoma.

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