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Chem Res Toxicol. 2003 Mar;16(3):415-22.

Naturally occurring coumarins inhibit human cytochromes P450 and block benzo[a]pyrene and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene DNA adduct formation in MCF-7 cells.

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Department of Carcinogenesis, Science Park-Research Division, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, P O Box 389, Smithville, Texas 78957, USA.


Naturally occurring coumarins (NOCs) inhibit polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-induced skin tumor initiation in mice by blocking cytochrome P450 (P450)-mediated bioactivation of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA). Bergamottin selectively inhibits tumor initiation by B[a]P, whereas imperatorin and isopimpinellin inhibit tumor initiation with both carcinogens. The goals of the current study were to examine the ability of NOCs to inhibit human P450s in vitro and to establish whether NOCs, which are anticarcinogenic in mice, can block carcinogen bioactivation in cultured human cells. For the initial experiments, incubations containing 5 microM P450, P450 substrate, an NADPH generating system, and NOCs were used to determine the concentrations of each inhibitor that blocked 50% of P450 activity (IC(50)). These results confirmed that NOCs are capable of inhibiting multiple human P450s and that they exhibit selectivity for certain isoforms of human P450s. In subsequent experiments, we examined the effects of bergamottin, imperatorin, and isopimpinellin on DMBA and B[a]P DNA adduct formation in the human breast MCF-7 adenocarcinoma cell line. Coincubation of cells with the three different NOCs significantly inhibited DMBA DNA adduct formation by 29-82% at doses ranging from 2 to 10 microM and significantly inhibited B[a]P DNA adduct formation by 37-80% at doses ranging from 20 to 80 microM. HPLC analysis of the DNA hydrolysates demonstrated that inhibition of DNA adducts corresponded to inhibition of the major B[a]P and DMBA diol-epoxide-derived adducts. Although bergamottin was not effective at blocking DMBA bioactivation in the mouse skin model, it was similar in effectiveness to imperatorin and isopimpinellin in MCF-7 cells. These results demonstrate that NOCs, which are present in citrus fruits and other components of the human diet, are capable of inhibiting carcinogen metabolizing enzymes and blocking bioactivation of both B[a]P and DMBA in MCF-7 cells.

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