Eicosapentaenoic acid prevents TCDD-induced oxidative stress and inflammatory response by modulating MAP kinases and redox-sensitive transcription factors

Kalaiselvi Palanisamy, Rajashree Krishnaswamy, Poornima Paramasivan, Huang Chih-Yang, Vijaya Padma Vishwanadha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose

Oxidative stress and subsequent activation of inflammatory responses is a widely accepted consequence of exposure to environmental toxins. TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin), a well-known environmental toxin, exerts its toxicity through many signalling mechanisms, with liver being the principal organ affected. However, an effective antidote to TCDD-induced toxicity is unknown. The present study evaluated the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an n3 fatty acid, on TCDD-induced toxicity. 

Experimental Approach 

In cultures of HepG2 cells, the EPA/AA ratio was determined using gas chromatography, oxidative stress and inflammatory responses through reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, antioxidant status, [Ca2+]i, nuclear migration of two redox-sensitive transcription factors, NF-κB p65 and Nrf-2, expression of MAP kinase (p-Erk, p-p38), NF-κB p65, COX-2 and Nrf-2. Cellular changes in ΔΨm, acidic vesicular organelle formation, cell cycle analysis and scanning electron microscopy analysis were performed. 

Key Results 

EPA offered significant cytoprotection by increasing EPA/AA ratios in cell membranes, inhibiting ROS generation, enhancing antioxidant status and modulating nuclear translocation of redox-sensitive transcription factors (NF-κB p65 and Nrf-2) and expression of NF-κB p65, COX-2 and Nrf-2. Furthermore, TCDD-induced upstream events of MAPK phosphorylation, the increase in [Ca2+]i levels and cell surface changes in microvilli were significantly inhibited by EPA. EPA treatment maintained ΔΨm and prevented formation of acidic vesicular organelles. 

Conclusion and Implications 

The present study demonstrates for the first time some underlying molecular mechanisms of cytoprotection exerted by EPA against TCDD-induced oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4726-4740
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number19
Early online date14 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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