Various studies have recently shown that sulphurous waters acts against the oxidants released during respiratory bursts of human neutrophils, and free radicals such as HO•, O2¯•, Tempol and Fremy's salt. However, there is still a lack of data concerning their direct protection of DNA. The aim of this study was to investigate the antigenotoxicity effects of sulphurous water, which has never been previously investigated for this purpose, using the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) approach (comet assay). The comet assay is a sensitive method for assessing DNA fragmentation in individual cells in genotoxicity studies but can also be used to investigate the activity of agents that protect against DNA damage. The extent of migration was measured by means of SCGE, and DNA damage was expressed as tail moment. All of these assays were made using natural sulphurous water, degassed sulphurous water (no detectable HS), and reconstituted sulphurous water (degassed plus NaHS). DNA damages was significantly inhibited by natural water with HS concentrations of 5.0 and 2.5 μg/mL. The use of degassed water did not lead to any significant differences from baseline values, whereas the reconstituted water led to significant results overlapping those obtained using natural water. These findings confirm the importance of the presence of an HS group (reductive activity) and indicate that, in addition to their known mucolytic activity and trophic effects on respiratory mucosa, HS groups in sulphurous water also protect against oxidative DNA damage and contribute to the water's therapeutic effects on upper and lower airway inflammatory diseases.
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