Much attention in recent years has been given to the antigenotoxicity of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll, however, is known to be converted into pheophytin, pyropheophytin, and pheophorbide in processed vegetable food and following ingestion by humans. Studies were conducted on the antimutagenic and tumoricidal potencies of these compounds. All the chlorophyll derivatives tested exhibit identical antimutagenic effect towards 3-methylcholanthrene (3-MC), suggesting that the porphyrin nucleus may complex directly with the mutagen. It does not exclude, however, another mechanism of activity involving inactivation the enzymatic transformation of 3-MC. In contrast, the action of N'-nitro-N'-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) depends upon structural differences between the chlorophyll derivatives. It is significantly lower when the phytol-containing pheophytin and pyropheophytin are tested as to that of the phytol-lacking pheophorbide. The higher concentrations of the chlorophyll derivatives were required to reduce the mutagenicity of MNNG than needed for 3-MC. The cytotoxicity of chlorophyll derivatives against tumor cells also was evaluated. The cellular uptake and inhibition of myeloma cell multiplicity were found to be greater for pheophorbide than for pheophytin. Calculated on the amount of cell associated chlorophyll derivative, however, pheophytin was more cytostatic/cytotoxic than pheophorbide. The results presented in this report indicate that food sources that yield chlorophyll derivatives may play a significant role in cancer prevention. Teratogenesis Carcinog. Mutagen. 19:313-322, 1999.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.