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The Beetroot Component Betanin Modulates ROS Production, DNA Damage and Apoptosis in Human Polymorphonuclear Neutrophils


M. Zielińska-Przyjemska, Department of Pharmaceutical Biochemistry, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Święcickiego 4, 60–781 Poznań, Poland.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of betanin, one of the beetroot major components, on ROS production, DNA damage and apoptosis in human resting and stimulated with phorbol 12-myristate13-acetate polymorphonuclear neutrophils, one of the key elements of the inflammatory response.

Incubation of neutrophils with betanin in the concentration range 2–500 µm resulted in significant inhibition of ROS production (by 15–46%, depending on the ROS detection assay). The antioxidant capacity of betanin was most prominently expressed in the chemiluminescence measurements. This compound decreased also the percentage of DNA in comet tails in stimulated neutrophils, but only at the 24 h time point. In resting neutrophils an increased level of DNA in comet tails was observed. Betanin did not affect the activity of caspase-3, in resting neutrophils, but significantly enhanced the enzyme activity in stimulated neutrophils. The western blot analysis showed, however, an increased level of caspase-3 cleavage products as a result of betanin treatment both in resting and stimulated neutrophils. The results indicate that betanin may be responsible for the effect of beetroot products on neutrophil oxidative metabolism and its consequences, DNA damage and apoptosis. The dose and time dependent effects on these processes require further studies. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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