Abstract: Polyphenols, occurring in fruit and vegetables, wine, tea, extra virgin olive oil, chocolate and other cocoa products, have been demonstrated to have clear antioxidant properties in vitro, and many of their biological actions have been attributed to their intrinsic reducing capabilities. However, it has become clear that, in complex biological systems, polyphenols exhibit several additional properties which are yet poorly understood. Apoptosis is a genetically controlled and evolutionarily conserved form of cell death of critical importance for the normal embryonic development and for the maintenance of tissue homeostasis in the adult organism. The malfunction of the death machinery may play a primary role in various pathological processes, since too little or too much apoptosis can lead to proliferative or degenerative diseases, respectively. Cancer cells are characterized by a deregulated proliferation, and/or an inability to undergo programmed cell death. A large body of evidence indicates that polyphenols can exert chemopreventive effects towards different organ specific cancers, affecting the overall process of carcinogenesis by several mechanisms: inhibition of DNA synthesis, modulation of ROS production, regulation of cell cycle arrest, modulation of survival/proliferation pathways. In addition, polyphenols can directly influence different points of the apoptotic process, and/or the expression of Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2008, 9 214 regulatory proteins. Although the bulk of data has been obtained in in vitro systems, a number of clinical studies suggesting a preventive and therapeutic effectiveness of polyphenols in vivo is available. However, a deeper knowledge of the underlying mechanisms responsible for the modulation of apoptosis by polyphenols, and their real effectiveness, is necessary in order to propose them as potential chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic candidates for cancer treatment.
Keywords: polyphenols; carcinogenesis; apoptosis.
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D’Archivio, M.; Santangelo, C.; Scazzocchio, B.; Varì, R.; Filesi, C.; Masella, R.; Giovannini, C. Modulatory Effects of Polyphenols on Apoptosis Induction: Relevance for Cancer Prevention. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2008, 9, 213-228.
D’Archivio M, Santangelo C, Scazzocchio B, Varì R, Filesi C, Masella R, Giovannini C. Modulatory Effects of Polyphenols on Apoptosis Induction: Relevance for Cancer Prevention. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2008; 9(3):213-228.
D’Archivio, Massimo; Santangelo, Carmela; Scazzocchio, Beatrice; Varì, Rosaria; Filesi, Carmela; Masella, Roberta; Giovannini, Claudio. 2008. "Modulatory Effects of Polyphenols on Apoptosis Induction: Relevance for Cancer Prevention." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 9, no. 3: 213-228.