Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

DNA damage by reactive species is associated with susceptibility to chronic human degenerative disorders. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring antioxidants, that may prevent or reverse such damage. There is considerable interest in anthocyanic food plants as good dietary sources, with the potential for reducing susceptibility to chronic disease. While structure-activity relationships have provided guidelines on molecular structure in relation to free hydroxyl-radical scavenging, this may not cover the situation in food plants where the anthocyanins are part of a complex mixture, and may be part of complex structures, including anthocyanic vacuolar inclusions (AVIs). Additionally, new analytical methods have revealed new structures in previously-studied materials. We have compared the antioxidant activities of extracts from six anthocyanin-rich edible plants (red cabbage, red lettuce, blueberries, pansies, purple sweetpotato skin, purple sweetpotato flesh and Maori potato flesh) using three chemical assays (DPPH, TRAP and ORAC), and the in vitro Comet assay. Extracts from the flowering plant, lisianthus, were used for comparison. The extracts showed differential effects in the chemical assays, suggesting that closely related structures have different affinities to scavenge different reactive species. Integration of anthocyanins to an AVI led to more sustained radical scavenging activity as compared with the free anthocyanin. All but the red lettuce extract could reduce endogenous DNA damage in HT-29 colon cancer cells. However, while extracts from purple sweetpotato skin and flesh, Maori potato and pansies, protected cells against subsequent challenge by hydrogen peroxide at 0 degrees C, red cabbage extracts were pro-oxidant, while other extracts had no effect. When the peroxide challenge was at 37 degrees C, all of the extracts appeared pro-oxidant. Maori potato extract, consistently the weakest antioxidant in all the chemical assays, was more effective in the Comet assays. These results highlight the dangers of generalising to potential health benefits, based solely on identification of high anthocyanic content in plants, results of a single antioxidant assay and traditional approaches to structure activity relationships. Subsequent studies might usefully consider complex mixtures and a battery of assays.

Original publication

DOI

10.3390/ijms10031081

Type

Journal article

Journal

International journal of molecular sciences

Publication Date

11/03/2009

Volume

10

Pages

1081 - 1103

Addresses

The University of Auckland, New Zealand. m.philpott@auckland.ac.nz

Keywords

HT29 Cells, Humans, Plants, DNA Damage, Hydrogen Peroxide, Free Radicals, Anthocyanins, Plant Extracts, Free Radical Scavengers, Comet Assay, Diet, Structure-Activity Relationship