2012 Volume 37 Issue 5 Pages 1065-1069
Dihydropyrazines (DHPs), formed by nonenzymatic glycation, are known to exert various effects in vitro and in vivo, such as generation of radical species, DNA strand breakage, enzyme inhibition, and inhibition of bacterial growth. However, their effects on mammalian cells remain elusive. To address this issue, we investigated the effects of a range of DHP concentrations on human hepatoma HepG2 cells using 2,3-dihydro-5,6-dimethylpyrazine (DHP-1), 2,3-dihydro-2,5,6-trimethylpyrazine (DHP-2), and 3-hydro-2,2,5,6-tetramethylpyrazine (DHP-3) as model compounds. All of the tested compounds exerted cytotoxic activity against HepG2 cells in the range of 10 µM-1 mM, and significantly so at the highest concentration. DHP-3 was the most effective drug, and it also caused a significant decrease in the ratio of intracellular reduced and oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG). In addition, the cytotoxic effect of DHP-3, but not DHP-1 and DHP-2, was enhanced by the inhibition of GSH biosynthesis using 100 µM l-buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine (BSO). From these results, it is suggested that the mechanisms of cytotoxicity exerted by DHP-3 are distinct from those exerted DHP-1 and DHP-2. In addition, it is possible that the disruption of intracellular glutathione balance induced by DHP-3 is related to its effect on HepG2 cells.