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Phytomedicine 2013 Mar 15;20(5):461-8

Use of the Combination Index to determine interactions between plant-derived phenolic acids on hepatotoxicity endpoints in human and rat hepatoma cells.

Liu Y, Flynn TJ, Ferguson MS, Hoagland EM


The beneficial or adverse effects of isolated phytochemicals are not always concordant with effects of the botanical dietary supplements from which they were derived. This disparity could be due to interactions between the various phytochemicals present in the whole plant. The phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid (RA), caffeic acid (CA) and ferulic acid (FA) are widely present in foods and dietary supplements, and they are assumed to exert various beneficial biological effects. However, there is little data on the potential biological interactions of these three phenolic acids which commonly occur together and are linked metabolically. In the present study, liver toxicity of the three phenolic acids was assessed on the three compounds singly and in various binary and one ternary combinations. A series of in vitro endpoints relevant to liver toxicity were evaluated in both a human (HepG2/C3A) and rat (MH1C1) hepatocyte cell line. The Combination Index (CI) was calculated for each endpoint from both the concentration responses of the single compounds and the responses of the various binary and ternary mixtures. Both synergistic and antagonistic interactions were observed for some endpoints and some combinations of test agents. Interactions were most prevalent in measures of oxidative stress and cytochrome P450 activities in both cell types. There was only a 53% concordance between the rat and human cells which may be suggestive of species differences. The data suggest an approach for better characterizing the beneficial or adverse effects of complex botanical products through evaluation of interactions between individual phytochemical components.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #23380082 DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.12.013
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Food
Entry Created: 2013-02-07 Entry Last Modified: 2013-05-29