Effect of antioxidants on the genotoxicity of phenethyl isothiocyanate.

PMID 25681790


Isothiocyanates are plant-derived compounds that may be beneficial in the prevention of certain chronic diseases. Yet, by stimulating the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), isothiocyanates can be genotoxic. Whether antioxidants influence isothiocyanate-induced genotoxicity is unclear, but this situation was clarified appreciably herein. In HCT116 cells, phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) increased ROS production, which was inhibited by N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and deferoxamine (DFO) but not by ascorbic acid (ASC) and trolox (TRX) that were found to be more potent radical scavengers. Surprisingly, ASC and TRX each intensified the DNA damage that was caused by PEITC, but neither ASC nor TRX by themselves caused any DNA damage. In contrast, NAC and DFO each not only attenuated PEITC-induced DNA damage but also attenuated the antioxidant-intensified, PEITC-induced DNA damage. To determine if the DNA damage could be related to possible changes in the major antioxidant defence system, glutathione (GSH) was investigated. PEITC lowered GSH levels, which was prevented by NAC, whereas ASC, TRX and DFO neither inhibited nor enhanced the GSH-lowering effect of PEITC. The GSH synthesis inhibitor, buthionine sulphoxime, intensified PEITC-induced DNA damage, although by itself buthionine sulphoxime did not directly cause DNA damage. The principal findings suggest that ASC and TRX make PEITC more genotoxic, which might be exploited in killing cancer cells as one approach in killing cancer cells is to extensively damage their DNA so as to initiate apoptosis.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

2,2′-Bipyridyl, ReagentPlus®, ≥99%