Rutin is a flavonoid with antioxidant, vasodilatory, anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating activities. To study the toxicity of rutin and its protective effect, this work investigated the cytotoxic, apoptosis-inducing, genotoxic and protective effects of rutin in HTC cells. In the MTT assay, the highest concentration tested (810 μM) showed cytotoxicity after 72 h of treatment, where cell viability and cell proliferation was diminished. None of the concentrations of rutin tested induced apoptosis after 24h treatment. The highest concentration of rutin after 24h treatment induced DNA damage, shown in the comet assay, but did have a genotoxic effect in the micronucleus test. Rutin was tested against the pro-carcinogenic agent benzo(a)pyrene, at concentrations of 90, 270 and 810 μM, and was found to reduce induced DNA damage significantly. This protective effect of rutin against a pro-carcinogen, suggests an important biological activity for this compound, which can contribute to human health through the diet.
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