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Green tea polyphenols in combination with copper(II) induce apoptosis in HeLa cells

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In the present investigation we report that the natural antioxidant green tea polyphenols (GTPs) could induce apoptosis in HeLa cells in the presence of copper cation. After treatment with low concentrations of GTP (5-15 μM) plus 2 μM Cu2+, HeLa cells died gradually as measured by the MTT assay. Agarose gel electrophoresis analysis of DNA extracted from HeLa cells exposed to GTP/Cu2+ showed typical internucleosomal DNA fragmentation (DNA ladder), which was also confirmed by DNA content analysis by flow cytometry. Morphological observation of HeLa cells treated with GTP/Cu2+ by transmission electronic microscopy also showed typical apoptotic features including cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation, and the formation of apoptotic bodies. Laser confocal microscopy determination of intracellular calcium level revealed that exposure to GTP/Cu2+ triggered increase of cytosolic calcium ion, which may be involved in the process of apoptosis. This evidence suggested that GTPs might be used as potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer.


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