Department of Life Science, School of Natural Sciences, University of Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Sensitising cancer cells and at the same time desensitizing normal cells is a double task in cancer management. Agents which can combat the debilitating side effects of cancer therapeutics and simultaneously synergize with anticancer agents in specifically targeting cancer cells are needed. Selenium, a proven anticarcinogen, gains due importance in terms of its efficacy to combat the side effects of cancer therapy. This study is a comparative analysis of the chemoprotective effects of selenium compounds, methyl selenol (generated from organic selenomethionine (5mmol/L ; METase 40U/L)) and sodium selenite (inorganic form)(30M) in peripheral blood human lymphocytes exposed to cisplatin and mitomycin. Biochemical alterations occurring in many cells during apoptosis include loss of plasma membrane phospholipid asymmetry, DNA fragmentation, and activation of caspase-3. The present study demonstrated that the selenium metabolite and selenite are efficient in protecting lymphocytes undergoing DNA damage and exerted their activity by reducing caspase 3 expression. Interestingly organic methylselenol (MeSe) was found to offer more protective effects compared to inorganic selenite (SeL), by reducing the induction of apoptosis by the cytotoxic agents. This suggests that MeSe and to a lesser extent selenite might have potential for assessment in clinical trials and could be considered as strong candidates in pharmacogenomics or in the nutriprotective arena.