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Chem Biol Interact. 2009 Mar 16;178(1-3):324-31. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Hepatocyte cytotoxicity induced by hydroperoxide (oxidative stress model) or glyoxal (carbonylation model): prevention by bioactive nut extracts or catechins.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Carbonyl and oxidative stress play important roles in the development of diabetic complications and have been shown to be augmented by various natural compounds and pharmacological agents. Nuts are a rich source of bioactive compounds and antioxidants and various beneficial health effects of nuts have been reported. This study was conducted to evaluate the cytoprotectiveness of various nut extracts and bioactive compounds found in nuts for decreasing cytotoxicity, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation in cell toxicity models of diabetes-related carbonyl (glyoxal) and oxidative stress (hydroperoxide). Methanol, ethyl acetate or water were used to prepare crude hazelnut and walnut extracts, which were then used to screen for in vitro cytoprotection of freshly isolated rat hepatocytes against these toxins. The order of protection by nut extracts against hydroperoxide induced cell death was: walnut methanolic extract>walnut aqueous extract>lipophilic walnut extract>hazelnut aqueous extract>hazelnut methanolic extract whereas the lipophilic hazelnut extract did not protect against cell death. The order of protection against lipid peroxidation was the same except for the hazelnut methanolic extract, which prevented lipid peroxidation better than the hazelnut aqueous extract. Catechin, epicatechin and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) were investigated for possible protective effects against carbonyl stress cell death and protein carbonylation in hepatocytes. Catechin protected against glyoxal induced cell death and protein carbonylation, and even elicited protection when added to hepatocytes 30 min after the addition of glyoxal. When catechin and epicatechin were compared for protectiveness against glyoxal induced carbonyl stress in hepatocytes, epicatechin protected more effectively than catechin against cell death and protein carbonylation at 120 min. Both compounds also elicited better protection when premixed with glyoxal before addition to hepatocytes, compared to not premixing with glyoxal. Our results suggest (a) that bioactive nut constituents in the non-lipophilic extracts were more effective than lipophilic extracts for cytoprotection against hydroperoxide induced oxidative stress, (b) catechin compounds under physiological conditions were likely effective at preventing glyoxal cytotoxicity by trapping glyoxal or reversing early stage carbonylation (Schiff base formation).

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