Andrographolide, an Antioxidant, Counteracts Paraquat- Induced Mutagenesis in Mammalian Cells

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Faculty of Pharmacy, Payap University, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand.

2 Laboratory of Pharmacology, Chulabhorn Research Institute, Bangkok 10210, Thailand.

3 Center of Excellence on Environmental Health and Toxicology, Ministry of Education, Bangkok 10210, Thailand.

4 Departments of Biological Engineering and Chemistry, and Center for Environmental Health Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Paraquat (1,1’-dimethyl, 4,4’-bipyridinium dichloride; PQ), a commonly used herbicide worldwide, is both toxic and mutagenic. The mutagenic effect of PQ stems from its ability to redox-cycle, generating oxidative stress and subsequently oxidative DNA damage, which miscodes when replication is attempted. Andrographolide (AP1), the major constituent in the leaves of the herbaceous plant Andrographis paniculata, is a diterpenoid with reported antioxidant activity. The present study employed the mammalian cell line AS52 to investigate the protective effect of AP1 against PQ-induced mutagenesis. AP1 induced cytotoxicity in AS52 cells in a dose-dependent manner (IC50 = 15.7 µM), which allowed the selection of a non-lethal dose for the mutagenesis studies. While PQ was mutagenic in AS52 cells as evidenced by the increased levels of 6-TGr mutants, AP1 by itself did not increase the mutation frequency. However, co-treatment with AP1 (1-5 µM) or the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (2 mM) almost completely counteracted the mutagenicity of PQ (10-100 µM) in AS52 cells. Taken together, these findings suggest that AP1, and likely by extension, A. paniculata extracts, are effective antioxidants that can protect against PQ-induced mutations, and thus could be a promising alternative treatment for PQ poisoning.


Main Subjects