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Chem Biol Interact. 1992 Jun 15;83(1):65-71.

Inhibition of microsome-mediated binding of benzo[a]pyrene to DNA by flavonoids either in vitro or after dietary administration to rats.

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Unité de Toxicologie Nutritionnelle, INRA, Dijon, France.


The in vitro and in vivo effects of selected natural flavonoids (flavone, flavanone, tangeretin, quercetin, chrysin) on the microsome-catalysed binding of [3H]benzo[a]pyrene to calf thymus DNA were investigated and compared with those of two synthetic flavonoids, 7,8-benzoflavone and 5,6-benzoflavone. In vitro addition of these flavonoids (0.1 mM) to an incubation system containing hepatic microsomes prepared from Aroclor 1254-pretreated rats strongly inhibited BaP-DNA adduct formation (72-89%). The incubation of BaP with hepatic microsomes prepared from animals fed 0.3% quercetin, tangeretin and 7,8-benzoflavone for 2 weeks also resulted in less effective binding of BaP metabolites to added DNA, than with microsomes from untreated rats. Other tested compounds, chrysin, flavone, flavanone and 5,6-benzoflavone showed no or little effect. The influence of flavonoid pretreatment on hepatic microsomal enzymes involved in BaP metabolism has also been examined. Aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity was moderately increased (1.5-1.8-fold) in microsomes prepared from rats fed flavone, tangeretin, 7,8-benzoflavone and 5,6-benzo-flavone. Epoxide hydrolase activity was enhanced by 7,8-benzoflavone (1,6-fold), and by flavone and flavanone (5-fold). These results confirm that flavonoids, in vitro, are potent inhibitors of carcinogen-DNA binding. Oral administration of 0.3% flavonoids alters the properties of liver microsomes, resulting in the decreased ability of BaP metabolites to bind DNA.

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