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Food Chem Toxicol. 2001 Oct;39(10):981-7.

Effect of onion consumption by rats on hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes.

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  • 1UMR de Toxicologie Alimentaire, INRA-Universit√© de Bourgogne, 17 rue Sully, 21065 Dijon Cedex, France.


Fruits and vegetables or their natural constituents which increase detoxication enzymes and/or reduce activating enzymes are considered as good candidates to prevent chemically-induced carcinogenesis. In this study, rats were fed a diet supplemented with 20% onion powder for 9 days. Several cytochrome P450 (CYP)s enzymes (CYP 1A, 2B, 2E1, 3A), which are involved in carcinogen activation, were determined by measuring their enzyme activities using specific substrates. In addition, phase II enzymes activities such as UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) and glutathione S-transferase (GST), involved in detoxication of carcinogens, were measured. Protein levels of CYPs and GST A1/A2, A3/A5, Ml, M2 and P1 were measured using antibodies in Western blots. Consumption of onion induced CYP 1A and CYP 2B activities while it decreased CYP 2E1 activity. This later modification was accompanied by a decrease of CYP 2E1 levels. The same dietary treatment caused a slight increase of the total GST activity. The relative proportions of GST subunits were modified. GST Al/A2 subunits were increased while GST A3/A5 and GST M2 subunits were decreased and GST M1 and P1 were not modified. Onion consumption also increased p-nitrophenol UGT activity. Taken together, these results suggest that the decrease of CYP 2E1 and the increase of phase II enzymes by onion can afford protection against some carcinogens, while the decrease of some GST subunits could increase the genotoxic effects of other chemicals. The modulating effect of onion could be ascribed to alk(en)yl polysulphides and/or glycosides of flavonols, which were identified in the onion powder.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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