Abstract Title:

Arsenic-induced micronuclei formation in mammalian cells and its counteraction by tea.

Abstract Source:

Prog Brain Res. 2009;175:239-51. PMID: 15715508

Abstract Author(s):

Dona Sinha, Madhumita Roy, Maqsood Siddiqi, Rathin K Bhattacharya

Article Affiliation:

Environmental Carcinogenesis and Toxicology, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, India.


The Gangetic plain of West Bengal, India, has been engulfed by a disastrous environmental calamity of arsenic contamination of the ground water. Chronic arsenic toxicity caused by drinking arsenic-contaminated water has been one of the worst health hazards gradually affecting nine districts of West Bengal since the early 1980s. Over and above hyperpigmentation and keratosis,weakness, burning sensation of the eyes, swelling of the legs, liver fibrosis, chronic lung disease, gangrene of the toes, neuropathy, and skin cancer are other manifestations. Induction of cancer is frequently associated with DNA damage, changes in ploidy of cells, and non-random chromosome aberrations. Counteraction of these genotoxic and cytogenetic abnormalities with natural dietary polyphenols could be a useful strategy to combat arsenic-induced DNA damage and thereby cancer. A review of the literature showed that it is the antioxidant property of tea polyphenols that affords protection against various types of cancer. The present study was conducted to investigate whether the extracts of green tea and black tea (Darjeeling and Assam) as well as their polyphenols could ameliorate this arsenic-induced genotoxicity. The normal mammalian cell culture derived from male Chinese hamster lung fibroblast cells (V79) was used as the test system to assess the genotoxicity by micronucleus assay. The results showed that both green tea and black tea extracts have equal potential in modulating the arsenic-induced genotoxicity. This effect was perhaps induced by the constituent polyphenols present in green and black tea. In addition, the repair activity of the damaged cells was enhanced when treated with these tea extracts and their polyphenols. Thus, tea and its polyphenols may have a promising role in counteracting the devastating effects of arsenic.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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