Notable New Research: Antioxidants & Heavy Metals

by | Feb 22, 2013 | Heavy Metals, Research

An in vitro study in the latest Archives of Oral Biology shows how pure antioxidants may protect oral fibroblasts against the detrimental effects of copper, nickel and zinc:

Antioxidant Combinations Protect Oral Fibroblasts Against Metal-Induced Toxicity

Symone M. San Miguel, Lynne A. Opperman, Edward P. Allen, Jan E. Zielinski,Kathy K.H. Svobodaemail

Archives of Oral Biology
Vol. 58, Issue 3 , pp. 299-310 (March 2013)



In dentistry, the use of metals in fillings, braces, implants, bridges and other prosthodontic restorations is a common practice. Previous studies revealed that zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) released from gold alloys, and nickel (Ni) released from nickel–chromium alloys, have a highly cytotoxic effect on fibroblast cell cultures. Our working hypothesis is that oral fibroblasts are susceptible to damage from metals because they elevate reaction oxygen species (ROS). In this study, we investigated specific antioxidant (AO) combinations to determine if they counteract the effects of Cu, Ni and Zn on cultured oral fibroblast proliferation and oxidative damage.


Oral fibroblasts were pretreated with Cu, Ni and Zn for 60min. Thereafter, cells were treated with 10-5M combinations of bioactive AO resveratrol (R), ferulic acid (F), phloretin (P) and tetrahydrocurcuminoids (T) (RFT, PFR, PFT) for 24h. Cell viability and DNA synthesis were monitored by 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-5-[3-carboxymethoxyphenyl]-2-[4-sulfophenyl]-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) and 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrDU) assays. ROS was measured using the fluorescence response of dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCF).


AO compounds increased recovery of cells exposed to Cu and Zn. Moreover, AO treatment induced DNA synthesis in the presence of the metal stressors. Cu and Ni stimulated production of ROS. PFR treatment decreased ROS in the presence of Cu, Ni and Zn.


These data indicate that pure AOs counteracted the detrimental effects of Cu, Ni, Zn on oral fibroblasts in vitro by increasing cell viability, and DNA synthesis and decreasing ROS activity.

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