Al Wafai R, El-Rabih W, Katerji M et al.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
Scientific reports. Mar 2017.
Phytochemicals have been extensively researched for their potential anticancer effects. In previous study, direct exposure of rat liver mitochondria to eugenol main ingredient of clove, uncoupled mitochondria and increased F0F1ATPase activity. In the present study, we further investigated the effects of eugenol on MCF-7 cells in culture. Eugenol demonstrated: a dose-dependent decrease in viability (MTT assay), and proliferation (real time cell analysis) of MCF-7 cells, (EC50: 0.9 mM); an increase in reactive oxygen species; a decrease in ATP level and mitochondrial membrane potential (MitoPT JC-1 assay); and a release of cytochrome-c and lactate dehydrogenase (Cytotoxicity Detection Kit (PLUS)) into culture media at eugenol concentration >EC50. Pretreatment with the antioxidants Trolox and N-acetyl cysteine partially restored cell viability and decreased ROS, with Trolox being more potent. Expression levels of both anti- and pro-apoptotic markers (Bcl-2 and Bax, respectively) decreased with increasing eugenol concentration, with no variation in their relative ratios. Eugenol-treated MCF-7 cells overexpressing Bcl-2 exhibited results similar to those of MCF-7. Our findings indicate that eugenol toxicity is non-apoptotic Bcl-2 independent, affecting mitochondrial function and plasma membrane integrity with no effect on migration or invasion. We report here the chemo-sensitivity of MCF-7 cells to eugenol, a phytochemical with anticancer potential.