Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology 2011, 6:3 doi:10.1186/1745-6673-6-3
The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.occup-med.com/content/6/1/3
Pollutants representative of common environmental contaminants induce intracellular toxicity in human cells, which is generally amplified in combinations. We wanted to test the common pathways of intoxication and detoxification in human embryonic and liver cell lines. We used various pollutants such as Roundup residues, Bisphenol-A and Atrazine, and five precise medicinal plant extracts called Circ1, Dig1, Dig2, Sp1, and Uro1 in order to understand whether specific molecular actions took place or not.
Kidney and liver are major detoxification organs. We have studied embryonic kidney and hepatic human cell lines E293 and HepG2. The intoxication was induced on the one hand by a formulation of one of the most common herbicides worldwide, Roundup 450 GT+ (glyphosate and specific adjuvants), and on the other hand by a mixture of Bisphenol-A and Atrazine, all found in surface waters, feed and food. The prevention and curative effects of plant extracts were also measured on mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase activity, on the entry of radiolabelled glyphosate (in Roundup) in cells, and on cytochromes P450 1A2 and 3A4 as well as glutathione-S-transferase.
Clear toxicities of pollutants were observed on both cell lines at very low sub-agricultural dilutions. The prevention of such phenomena took place within 48 h with the plant extracts tested, with success rates ranging between 25-34% for the E293 intoxicated by Roundup, and surprisingly up to 71% for the HepG2. By contrast, after intoxication, no plant extract was capable of restoring E293 viability within 48 h, however, two medicinal plant combinations did restore the Bisphenol-A/Atrazine intoxicated HepG2 up to 24-28%. The analysis of underlying mechanisms revealed that plant extracts were not capable of preventing radiolabelled glyphosate from entering cells; however Dig2 did restore the CYP1A2 activity disrupted by Roundup, and had only a mild preventive effect on the CYP3A4, and no effect on the glutathione S-transferase.
Environmental pollutants have intracellular effects that can be prevented, or cured in part, by precise medicinal plant extracts in two human cell lines. This appears to be mediated at least in part by the cytochromes P450 modulation.