Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) protects skin cells from ionizing radiation via heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) overexpression

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) protects skin cells from ionizing radiation via heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) overexpression

Author: Wei Zhu, Jing Xu, Yangyang Ge, Han Cao, Xin Ge, Judong Luo, Jiao Xue, Hongying Yang, Shuyu Zhang and Jianping Cao

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenolic constituent of green tea, is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that may have therapeutic applications for the treatment of many disorders. Radiation therapy is widely used for the treatment of various types of cancers; however, radiation-induced skin injury remains a serious concern. EGCG has not yet been reported as protecting skin cells against ionizing radiation. In the present study, we investigated whether EGCG confers cytoprotection against ionizing radiation. We found that, compared with the control, pretreatment with EGCG significantly enhanced the viability of human skin cells that were irradiated with X-rays, and decreased apoptosis induced by X-ray irradiation. Mito-Tracker assay showed that EGCG suppressed the damage to mitochondria induced by ionizing radiation via upregulation of SOD2. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) in HaCaT cells were significantly reduced when pretreated with EGCG before irradiation. Radiation-induced γH2AX foci, which are representative of DNA double-strand breaks, were decreased by pretreatment with EGCG. Furthermore, EGCG induced the expression of the cytoprotective molecule heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in a dose-dependent manner via transcriptional activation. HO-1 knockdown or treatment with the HO-1 inhibitor tin protoporphyrin (SnPPIX) reversed the protective role of EGCG, indicating an important role for HO-1. These results suggest that EGCG offers a new strategy for protecting skin against ionizing radiation.


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