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J Dent Res. 1994 May;73(5):1043-9.

Genotoxic and non-genotoxic effects of betel quid ingredients on oral mucosal fibroblasts in vitro.

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  • 1School of Dentistry, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, ROC.


To understand the role of betel quid (BQ) in the pathogenesis of oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) and oral cancer, we used DNA damage, cytotoxicity, and cell proliferation assays to study the pathobiological effects of aqueous extracts of three BQ constituents [betel nut (Areca catechu, BN), inflorescence of Piper betle (IPB), and lime], one BN alkaloid (arecoline), and one BN polyphenol [(+)-catechin] on cultured oral mucosal fibroblasts. Extracts of BN and IPB induced DNA strand break formation in a dose-dependent manner. Extracts of BN and IPB, (+)-catechin, and arecoline decreased cell survival and proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. However, aqueous extract of lime (50-800 micrograms/mL) increased cell proliferation by 20-40%. These results indicate that BQ contains not only genotoxic and cytotoxic agents, but also compounds which stimulate cell proliferation. These compounds may act synergistically in the pathogenesis of OSF and oral cancer in BQ chewers. In addition, five anti-oxidants [glutathione (GSH), cysteine, mannitol, catalase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD)] were tested for their protective effects against the cytotoxicity of BQ constituents. GSH (1.95 and 2.6 mmol/L) and cysteine (4 and 8 mmol/L) prevented the arecoline-induced cytotoxicity. In contrast, mannitol, catalase, and SOD did not decrease the arecoline-induced cytotoxicity. These results indicate that thiol depletion, but not the attack of oxygen free radicals, could be the mechanism for arecoline cytotoxicity. GSH could also protect cells from the cytotoxicity of IPB extract. Increasing dietary intake of GSH-rich foods or dietary supplements of GSH may have chemopreventive potential to reduce BQ-associated oral lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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