We evaluated the effects of the two main kiwifruit cultivars (gold kiwifruit (GOK) and green kiwifruit (GRK)) and their active phenolic compound, quercetin, on H2O2-induced inhibition of gap-junction intercellular communication (GJIC) in WB-F344 rat liver epithelial cells. We found that both GOK and GRK protect WB-F344 cells from H2O2-induced inhibition of GJIC. The extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2)–connexin 43 (Cx43) signalling pathway is crucial for the regulation of GJIC, and both GOK and GRK blocked the H2O2-induced phosphorylation of Cx43 and ERK1/2 in WB-F344 cells. Quercetin alone attenuated the H2O2-mediated ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling pathway and consequently reversed H2O2-mediated inhibition of GJIC in WB-F344 cells. A free radical-scavenging assay using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl showed that the scavenging activity of quercetin was higher than that of a synthetic antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene, per mol, suggesting that the chemopreventive effect of quercetin on H2O2-mediated inhibition of ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling and GJIC may be mediated through its free radical-scavenging activity. Since the carcinogenicity of reactive oxygen species such as H2O2 is attributable to the inhibition of GJIC, GOK, GRK and quercetin may have chemopreventive potential by preventing the inhibition of GJIC.
(Received August 10 2009)
(Revised December 11 2009)
(Accepted January 12 2010)
(Online publication March 22 2010)
Abbreviations: BHT, butylated hydroxytoluene; Cx43, connexin 43; DPPH, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl; ERK1/2, extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2; GJIC, gap-junction intercellular communication; GOK, gold kiwifruit; GRK, green kiwifruit