Induction of DNA fragmentation by tannin- and lignin-related substances

H. Sakagami, N. Kuribayashi, M. Iida, T. Sakagami, M. Takeda, K. Fukuchi, K. Gomi, H. Ohata, K. Momose, Y. Kawazoe, T. Hatano, T. Yoshida, T. Okuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of tannin and lignin-related compounds were compared for their ability to induce nucleosome-sized DNA fragmentation (a biochemical hallmark of apoptosis), using agarose gel electrophoresis and a fluorescence activated cell sorter. Monomeric, dimeric, trimeric and tetrameric hydrolysable tannins induced nucleosome-sized DNA fragmentation in HL-60 cells, more potently than condensed tannins. The highest activity was detected in gallic acid, a component unit of tannins. Natural lignified materials, except for caffeic acid and its dehydrogenation polymer, showed much weaker activity. Protein-bound polysaccharide (PSK) was inactive. Gallic acid induced DNA fragmentation in four human myelogenous leukaemic cell lines, but not in human T-cell leukaemia and erythroleukaemia cell lines. Ca2+ depletion from the culture medium slightly, but significantly, reduced the apoptosis-inducing activity of gallic acid, but did not significantly affect that of tannic acid or caffeic acid. After treatment with gallic acid, intracellular Ca2+ concentration was significantly elevated. The apoptosis-inducing activity of polyphenols may further emphasize their medicinal efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2121-2128
Number of pages8
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number5 B
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium
  • DNA fragmentation
  • Lignin
  • Tannin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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