Author(s): Lin KH, Lin CY, Liu CC, Chou MY, Lin JK
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Abstract The areca nut is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in Taiwan, India, and Southeast Asia. It is considered to be an environmental risk factor for the development of oral submucous fibrosis and cancer. Arecoline, the major alkaloid of areca nut, has been known to cause cytotoxicity and genotoxicity in various systems. However, the active compound accounting for arecoline-induced damage in normal human oral cells is still uncharacterized. The present study was undertaken to identify the active metabolite of arecoline that might induce damage in human oral tissues and cause mutagenicity in Salmonella typhimurium tester strains TA 100 and TA 98. It is interesting to find that the major metabolite of arecoline, arecoline N-oxide, is moderately mutagenic to these Salmonella tester strains. This mutagenicity was potently inhibited by sulfhydryl compounds, namely, glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, and cysteine, whereas methionine is inactive in this inhibition. The mutagenicity of arecoline N-oxide was strongly inhibited by the N-oxide reducing agent titanium trichloride. The possible role of arecoline N-oxide in the induction of oral carcinogenesis by areca nut chewing is discussed.
This article was published in J Agric Food Chem
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology