Tannic acid (TA) portrays a myriad of beneficial properties and has forthwith achieved incessant significance for its cytoprotective qualities in traditional and modern-day medicine. However, TA displays an ambiguous nature demonstrating anti-oxidant and pro-oxidant traits, beckoning further research. Although vast literature on the anti-proliferative effects of TA on cancer cell lines exist, the effects on normal cells remain unchartered. Herein, the cytoproliferative and anti-oxidant effects induced by TA in human embryonic kidney (Hek-293) cells were investigated. Data obtained from the 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay demonstrated that TA increased the cell viability and cellular proliferation rate at higher concentrations. Hoechst assay, examining proliferation marker Ki67 supported these findings. DNA fragmentation and oxidative stress-inducers were specifically noted at IC25 and IC50 treatments via biochemical assays. This alluded to TA’s pro-oxidant characteristics. However, the countervailing anti-oxidant defence mechanisms as the endogenous anti-oxidants and phase2 detoxification enzymes were significantly upregulated. Luminometry fortified the anti-oxidant capacity of TA, whereby executioner caspase-3/7 were not activated subservient to the activation of initiator caspases-8 and -9. Thus, proving that TA has anti-apoptotic traits, inter alia. Therefore, TA proved to harbour anti-oxidant, anti-apoptotic, and proliferative effects in Hek-293 cells with its partial cytotoxic responses being outweighed by its cytoprotective mechanisms.
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