Alteration in phase I and II enzyme activities and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons-DNA adduct formation by plant phenolics in mouse epidermis

Nutr Cancer. 2004;48(1):70-7. doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc4801_10.


Several naturally occurring plant phenols were shown to inhibit the mutagenicity and/or tumorigenicity of chemical carcinogens, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In this study, the effect of the topical application of three structurally diverse phenolic acids and trihydroxystilbene, resveratrol, on epidermal aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH), phase II enzymes, as well as the binding of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) to epidermal DNA were compared. The single, topical application of 8 and 16 mumol of protocatechuic or chlorogenic acid increased the activity of AHH by 10-30%, whereas resveratrol in a dose of 16 mumol almost completely (99%) inhibited the enzyme activity. Phenolic acids also increased the activities of phase II enzymes. Resveratrol did not affect the glutathione S-transferase activity but induced UDP glucuronosyltransferase (by approximately 100-150%) and to a lesser extent NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase. In a dose of 16 micromol all phenolic acids afforded 40-50% inhibition of covalent benzo[a]pyrene-diol-epoxide (B[a]PDE) binding to DNA. Resveratrol had no effect on B[a]PDE adduct formation but reduced the levels of all the major DMBA adducts. Phenolic acids, particularly tannic acid, mostly affected the formation of syn- and anti-DMBADE dAdo adducts. These results indicate that both the modulation of carcinogen activating enzymes and the prevention of their ultimate metabolites binding to DNA by naturally occurring phenolics are involved in the antitumorigenic activity of these compounds. For phenolic acids, however, their interactions with reactive PAH metabolites and/or blocking of a specific binding site in a genome seem more important. Derivatives of stilbene, such as resveratrol, affect DNA adduct formation and thus the initiation of tumorigenesis through the interaction with the Ah receptor rather than the scavenging active metabolites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / analogs & derivatives*
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / chemistry
  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antimutagenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / chemistry
  • DNA Adducts / chemistry*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Epidermis / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Hydroxybenzoates / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / chemistry*
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology


  • 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-DNA adduct
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • DNA Adducts
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Stilbenes
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • phenolic acid
  • Resveratrol