Phytochemicals have been known to exhibit potent antioxidant activity. This study examined cytoprotective effects of phytochemicals including quercetin, catechin, caffeic acid, and phytic acid against oxidative damage in SK-Hep-1 cells induced by the oxidative and non-oxidative metabolism of ethanol. Exposure of the cells to excess ethanol resulted in a significant increase in cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, lipid hydroperoxide (LPO), and antioxidant enzyme activity. Excess ethanol also caused a reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and the quantity of reduced glutathione (GSH). Co-treatment of cells with ethanol and quercetin, catechin, caffeic acid and phytic acid significantly inhibited oxidative ethanol metabolism-induced cytotoxicity by blocking ROS production. When the cells were treated with ethanol after pretreatment of 4-methylpyrazole (4-MP), increased cytotoxicity, ROS production, antioxidant enzyme activity, and loss of MMP were observed. The addition of quercetin, catechin, caffeic acid and phytic acid to these cells showed suppression of non-oxidative ethanol metabolism-induced cytotoxicity, similar to oxidative ethanol metabolism. These results suggest that quercetin, catechin, caffeic acid and phytic acid have protective effects against ethanol metabolism-induced oxidative insult in SK-Hep-1 cells by blocking ROS production and elevating antioxidant potentials.
Keywords: Antioxidant; Oxidative stress; Phytochemical; ROS.