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Neoplasma. 2003;50(4):291-5.

The free radical scavenging activity of four flavonoids determined by the comet assay.

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Cancer Research Institute, Slovak Academy of Science, 833 91 Bratislava, Slovak Republic.


Flavonoids are reported to exhibit a wide variety of biological effects, including antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities. The aim of our study was to determine the cytotoxicity of flavonoids quercetin, rutin, apigenin and luteolin and their ability to protect DNA molecules against H2O2-induced damage. Cytotoxicity of studied flavonoids was tested in murine leukemia L1210 cells by the trypan blue exclusion technique. DNA strand breaks were determined using the alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). Quercetin was found to possess the highest protective effect among the flavonoids studied (45%). The protective activity determined was lower for luteolin (40%). Protective effect of apigenin (600 microM/L) was only marginal (2%). However, at the higher concentration of apigenin (1200 microM/L), this flavonoid induced DNA single strand breaks. This indicates the ability of apigenin to serve as a pro-oxidant. Rutin had no protective effect on DNA single strand breaks induced by H2O2.

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