Molecular cytotoxic mechanisms of anticancer hydroxychalcones
Chalcones are being considered as anticancer agents as they are natural compounds that are particularly cytotoxic towards K562 leukemia or melanoma cells. In this study, we have investigated phloretin, isoliquiritigenin, and 10 other hydroxylated chalcones for their cytotoxic mechanisms towards isolated rat hepatocytes. All hydroxychalcones partly depleted hepatocyte GSH and oxidized GSH to GSSG. These chalcones also caused a collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential and increased oxygen uptake. Furthermore, glycolytic or citric acid cycle substrates prevented cytotoxicity and mitochondrial membrane potential collapse. The highest pK(a) chalcones were the most effective at collapsing the mitochondrial membrane potential which suggests that the cytotoxic activity of hydroxychalcones are likely because of their ability to uncouple mitochondria. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.