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Food Chem Toxicol. 2007 Aug;45(8):1428-36. Epub 2007 Feb 12.

Coffee consumption protects human lymphocytes against oxidative and 3-amino-1-methyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole acetate (Trp-P-2) induced DNA-damage: results of an experimental study with human volunteers.

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  • 1Institute of Cancer Research, Medical University of Vienna, Borschkegasse 8a, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


Aim of the study was to investigate the impact of coffee on DNA-stability in humans. DNA-damage was monitored in lymphocytes of eight individuals with single cell gel electrophoresis assays before and after consumption of 600 ml coffee (400 ml paper filtered and 200 ml metal filtered/d) for five days. Under standard conditions, no alteration of DNA-migration was seen, but a strong reduction of DNA-migration attributable to endogenous formation of oxidised purines and pyrimidines was detected with restriction enzymes; furthermore DNA-damage caused by reactive oxygen radicals (H2O2 treatment) and by the heterocyclic aromatic amine 3-amino-1-methyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole-acetate was significantly reduced after coffee consumption by 17% and 35%, respectively. Also in in vitro experiments, inhibition of H2O2 induced DNA-damage was observed with coffee at low concentrations (<or= 25 microl/ml) whereas the diterpenoids cafestol and kahweol caused only marginal effects indicating that the effects of coffee are due to scavenging effects of other constituents. Enzyme measurements showed that additionally induction of antioxidant enzymes may play a role: while the activity of glutathione peroxidase was only marginally increased after coffee consumption, a significant (38%) increase of superoxide dismutase activity was detected. Comparisons with results of earlier studies suggest that coffee consumption may prevent oxidative DNA-damage to a higher extent as diets enriched in fruits and vegetables.

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