- Short report
- Open Access
Comparison of different polar compounds-induced cytotoxicity in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells
© Li et al. 2016
Received: 10 December 2015
Accepted: 9 February 2016
Published: 16 February 2016
Total polar compounds (TPC) formed during successive frying have the negative healthy effects. However, little researches focused on the cytotoxicity of different parts of TPC. The present study was carried out to elucidate the different polar compounds-induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) HepG2 cells. The polar compounds of frying oil named oxidized triglycerides oligo (TGO), oxidized triglycerides dimer (TGD), and oxidize triglycerides (ox-TG) were isolated and collected via HPLC. MTT assay was selected to determine the cell viability, and apoptosis rate of the cells was analyzed with the help of flow cytometry. The results indicated that TGO, TGD, or ox-TG could suppress the proliferation of HepG2 cells and improve the cell apoptosis in the concentration- and time- dependent manner. Different polar compounds have the different activity of cytotoxicity and apoptosis (p < 0.05), and ox-TG was the most serious deleterious on HepG2 cell viability and apoptotic, followed by TGO and TGD. At the concentration of 2.00 mg/ml and incubated for 48 h, the cell inhibition rate and apoptotic rate of HepG2 induced by ox-TG could reach 23.0 % and 16.05 %, respectively. Cell cycle analysis showed that the inhibition of TGO, TGD, and ox-TG on HepG2 cells mainly occurred in S phase.
Total polar compounds (TPC), which formed during processing and storage of fats and oils, have raised a great concern because of their adverse healthy effects. Heat is one of the risk factors contributing to the origination of TPC in technologic processes, such as vegetable oils refining, frying and cooking. It is well known that frying oils being used continuously at high temperatures might be subjected to thermal oxidation, polymerization, and hydrolysis in the presence of oxygen and water which is from the food being fried. Subsequently, a wide variety of chemical reactions occur, and these reactions could lead to the formation of kinds of compounds with high molecular and polarity, for instance oxidize triglycerides (ox-TG), oxidized triglycerides dimer (TGD), oxidized triglycerides oligo (TGO), diacylglycerol and some free fatty acids.
These polar compounds and polymeric triacylglycerides produced from degraded frying oils might have an adverse effect on health . An early investigation indicated that it was highly possible that frying oils induce growth retardation, diarrhea, seborrhea, dermatitis, and hair loss in animals [2, 3]. Nwanguma et al. (1999) reported that the experimental rats fed with a thermally oxidized corn oil diet showed significantly higher relative liver weights than the control rats . Liu et al. (2010) also reported that the rats fed with frying oil for 30 days caused gene mutations and chromosomal aberrations . Billek indicated that feeding rats with polar compounds for 18 months resulted in lower body weight gain, an increase of liver and kidney weight, and a rise of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase and glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase levels by 20 % approximately . Therefore, many European countries, namely Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands, have established regulations to monitor the quality of used frying oils in restaurants based on the percentage of TPC. Maximum values ranging from 24 to 27 % by weight TPC designate when oil is unfit for use [7, 8].
TGO, TGD, and ox-TG are derived from oxidation of oils, and they composed most of the non-volatiles in TPC [9, 10]. TGO, TGD, and ox-TG play a vital role in oxidation process. However, former studies focused more on the negative effects of frying oils or TPC on health instead of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG. Moreover, the evaluations of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG-induced effects are controversial. Billek elucidated that TGO, TGD, or ox-TG was harmless because of the low resorption rate . Other studies indicated that the resorption rate of triglyceride polymer (TGP) and ox-TG was high enough to induce toxic effects on animals [11, 12]. Nonetheless, more studies need to be done to illustrate the toxicity of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG developed during frying process.
HepG2 cells were derived from the livers of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. These cells are comparable to normal hepatocytes considering the expression of specific enzymes and the enzyme activities [13–16]. Thus, HepG2 cells can be used to elucidate DNA damage caused by certain compounds, and it is a selectable model to perform the metabolic process. In the present study, the effects of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG on cell proliferation and apoptosis were determined, and the cytotoxicity of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG on HepG2 cells was analyzed.
Materials and methods
Frying oils was provided by Yihai Kerry (Shanghai, China). Silicon for chromatography was from Qingdao Haiyang Chemical Co., Ltd (Qingdao, Shandong, China). HepG2 cells were provided by School of Medicine & Pharmaceutics, Jiangnan University (Wuxi, Jiangsu, China). MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenytetrazolium-bromide] and DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) were purchased from Sigma (St. Louis, MO, USA). Hoechst 33258 Kit, Trypsin-EDTA Solution, Cell Cycle and Apoptosis Analysis Kit were from Beyotime (Shanghai, China). Fetal calf serum (FCS) and RPMI1640 were purchased from Gibco (Gaithersburg, MD, USA).
Isolation and purification of TGD, TGD and ox-TG
TPC was prepared from recycled frying oil. Briefly, the frying oil was obtained from Yihai Kerry, Shanghai. According to AOCS Official Method Cd 20-91 , the chromatographic glass column with 20 mm internal diameter and 500 mm length, and 25 g of silica gel (containing 5 % water) was applied. The elution solvent was petroleum ether/diethyl ether (87:13, v/v). 2.5 g of heated frying oil being dissolved in the elution solvent (125 mg/mL) was introduced onto a glass column filled with silica gel (Branch of Qingdao Haiyang Chemical Co., Ltd) and elution solvent slurry. The non-polar compounds were eluted with 250 mL of the elution solvent, and then the polar fraction was eluted with 150 mL of diethyl ether. TPM was concentrated in a rotary evaporator under reduced pressure at 45 °C, the efficacy of which was determined by thin layer chromatography. TPM was dissolved with tetrahydrofuran to reach a final concentration of 6 mg/mL. Five milliliters of 6 mg/mL TPM tetrahydrofuran solution was filtrated through a filter membrane (0.22 μm, organic phase). Then, TPM was subjected to chromatography on a preparation type high-pressure silica chromatography column (30 * 250 mm, 5 μm, 100 Å, Bonna-Agela Technologies, Tianjin, China). Five peaks would be obtained. The conditions were as follows: flow rate was 1.0 ml/min, and the column temperature was held at 25 °C, injection volume was 10 μl, the gradient program consisted of 0–10 min 30 % (v/v) B (dichloromethane) and 70 % (v/v) A (hexane), 10–30 min 85 % (v/v) B and 15 % (v/v) A. The evaporative light detector spray temperature was set to 30 °C and the evaporation temperature was set to 42 °C. Nitrogen gas flow of 1 L/min was applied. TGD, TGD and ox-TG were collected respectively and they were concentrated in rotary evaporator evaporation.
The human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2 (HB‐8065) was obtained from American Type Culture Collection (Manassas, VA, USA). The HepG2 cells were routinely grown in RPM1640 medium (52400–041, Gibco, USA) supplemented with 10 % heat-inactivated fetal calf serum (FCS, Gibco, USA) and 100 U/ml penicillin/streptomycin. The cells were incubated at 37 °C in a humidified atmosphere containing 5 % CO2. 1 ml trypsin digestion (0.02 % EDTA,0.25 % trypsin) was added when the number of cells achieved 80–90 %, and then the cells were placed at room temperature for 2 min. Then, 2 ml culture medium was added and was mixed gently to suspend the cells when the cells became round under microscope. The cells should be passaged every 2–3 days by 1/3 ratio. All the cells used in the experiments were in logarithmic phase.
Measurement of cell viability
Cell cycle analysis
1 ml cells (106 cells/ml) were seeded in 6-well plates and treated with different TGO, TGD, or ox-TG concentrations. After 24 and 48 h, the cells were collected and suspended in centrifuge tube, and then the cells were stained with 0.5 ml propidium iodide (PI). Being incubated 30 min at 37 °C in the dark, apoptosis of the cells would be examined by FACS Calibur flow cytometry (Becton Dickson, USA) at an excitation wavelength of 480 nm.
Results and discussion
The inhibition rate assessment of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG on HepG2 cells
Cell cycles analysis of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG on HepG2 cells
The propidium iodide (PI), a fluorochrome, staining is widely used for the evaluation of apoptosis. DNA fragmentation is one of the features in apoptotic cells. The nuclear DNA could be identified and quantified via the bind of PI and DNA. Thus, apoptotic cells could be detected by PI flow cytometry assay, which would display a sub-G1 (or hypodiploid) DNA profile because of the loss of DNA content.
The proportion of the HepG2 phase of G0/G1 cells and S in the total number of cells incubated with TGO, TGD and ox-TG
46.32 ± 1.69
41.05 ± 1.33
45.68 ± 0.61
41.67 ± 0.74
47.48 ± 1.41
38.93 ± 1.52
46.28 ± 0.15
43.47 ± 0.17
45.88 ± 0.64
44.74 ± 0.57
40.25 ± 0.83
49.37 ± 0.97
38.84 ± 0.18
49.42 ± 0.17
36.41 ± 0.24
54.54 ± 0.42
47.69 ± 1.59
42.95 ± 1.44
43.40 ± 0.56
42.96 ± 0.18
43.20 ± 0.10
47.62 ± 0.32
38.63 ± 0.78
50.00 ± 0.57
37.60 ± 0.08
50.49 ± 0.09
33.87 ± 0.85
57.68 ± 0.76
40.36 ± 1.35
49.42 ± 1.46
38.18 ± 0.32
50.49 ± 0.34
37.06 ± 0.63
49.69 ± 0.61
36.41 ± 0.79
51.55 ± 0.68
33.67 ± 0.27
54.92 ± 0.18
29.74 ± 0.35
57.60 ± 0.45
Cell apoptosis analysis of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG on HepG2 cells
To confirm the apoptotic effects of TGO, TGD, and ox-TG on HepG2 cells, morphology of the cells was detected via flow cytometry. Apoptosis of the cells results in nucleus and cytoplasm fragmentation, leading to debris production, which would contribute to different scattering characteristics. Forward scatter (FSC) can be used to determine the size of the cells, and side scatter (SSC) represents the granularity of the cells. In the early stage of apoptosis, FSC reduces dramatically, and SSC either increases or maintains constant. However, both FSC and SSC decrease in the late stage of apoptosis. Based on the signal of FSC and SSC, apoptotic rate was determined.
Apoptosis rate of HepG2 cells incubated with TGO, TGD and ox-TG
Apoptosis rate (%)
Apoptosis rate (%)
The above experiment was carried out on HepG2 and the future researches should further investigate the effect of the different polar compounds-induced apoptosis activity on normal cells, including cell proliferation, apoptosis and possible genetic damage. The mechanism of polar compounds-induced apoptosis of enhancing the lipid peroxides in the cells, depleting antioxidants in the cells, enhancing genetic damage or a combination of these actions should also be addressed.
Cell viability assay showed that among the frying oil polar compounds of ox-TG, TGO or TGD, ox-TG was the strongest inhibiter for HepG2 cells viability. The inhibition rate on HepG2 decreased in the order of ox-TG > TGO > TGD. Moreover, the inhibition activities of TGO, TGD, or ox-TG on the HepG2 cells were in a concentration- and time-dependent manner.
The exposure of HepG2 cells to TGO, TGD, or ox-TG could lead to the hypodiploid cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, which indicated that TGO, TGD, and ox-TG all contributed to the apoptosis of HepG2 cells. Among them, ox-TG showed the most serious deleterious on cell apoptotic.
Cell cycle analysis showed that the percentage of cells in S phase increased and G0/G1 phase decreased in HepG2 cells exposed TGO, TGD, and ox-TG to 0.05, 0.5 or 2.00 mg/mL, which indicated the inhibition of TGO, TGD, and ox-TG on HepG2 cells mainly occurred in S phase.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571878 and 31171703), the Public sector research special food (201313011-7-3), and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Project (D151100004015003).
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
- Innawong B, Mallikarjunan K, Marcy JE. The Determination of frying oil quality using a chemosensory system. LWT-Food Sci Technol. 2004;37:35–41.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Saguy IS, Dana D. Integrated approach to deep fat frying: Engineering, nutrition, health and consumer aspects. J Food Eng. 2003;56:143–52.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Cohn J. Oxidized fat in the diet, postprandial lipaemia and cardiovascular disease. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2002;13:19–24.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Nwanguma BC, Achebe AC, Ezeanyika LUS, Eze LC. Toxicity of oxidized fats II: tissue levels of lipid peroxides in rats fed a thermally oxidized corn oil diet [J]. Food Chem Toxicol. 1999;37:413–6.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Liu YF, Mu Z, Shan L, Fan LP, Wang XG. Mutagenicity of frying oil and its polar components formed in heating. J Chin Cereals Oils Assoc. 2010;25(6):51–5.Google Scholar
- Billek G. Health aspects of thermoxidized oils and fats. Eur J Lipid Sci Technol. 2000;102:587–93.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Houhoula DP, Oreopoulou V, Tzia C. The effect of process time and temperature on the accumulation of polar compounds in cotton seed oil during deep-fat frying. J Sci Food Agr. 2003;83:314–9.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Karakaya S, Şimşek Ş. Changes in total polar compounds, peroxide value, total phenols and antioxidant activity of various oils used in deep fat frying. J Am Oil Chem Soc. 2011;88:1361–6.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Rodrigues Machado E, Marmesat S, Abrantes S, et al. Uncontrolled variables in frying studies:Differences in repeatability between therm-oxidation and frying experiments [J]. Grasas Y Aceites. 2007;58(3):283–8.Google Scholar
- Abidi SL, Kim IH, Rennick KA. Determination of nonvolatile components of heated soybean oils separated with high–efficiency mixed-bed polystyrene/divinylbenzene columns [J]. JAOCS. 1999;76(8):939–44.Google Scholar
- Perkins EG, Erickson MD. Deep Frying: Chemistry,nutrition and practical applications [M]. Champaign, IL: AOCS Press; 1996. p. 160–82.Google Scholar
- Márquez-Ruíz G, Guevel G, Dobarganes MC. Applications of chromatographic techniques to evaluate enzymatic hydrolysis of oxidized and polymeric triglycerides by pancreatic lipase in vitro [J]. JAOCS. 1998;75(2):119–26.Google Scholar
- Hrboticky N, Zimmer B, Weber PC. α-linolenic acid reduces the lovastatin-induced rise in arachidonic acid and elevates cellular and lipoprotein eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid levels in HepG2 cells [J]. J Nutr Biochem. 1996;8:465–71.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Tolleson WH, Melchior WB, Morris SM, McGarrity LJ, Domon OE, Muskhelishvili L, James SJ, Howard PC. Apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects of fumonisin B1 in human keratinocytes, fibroblasts, esophageal epithelial cells and hepatoma cells. Carcinogenisis. 1996;17(2):239–49.Google Scholar
- Liu R, Jin Q, Huang J, Liu Y, Wang X, Zhou X, Mao W, Wang S. In vitro toxicity of aflatoxin B1 and its photodegradation products in HepG2 cells [J]. J Appl Toxicol. 2012;32(4):276–81.Google Scholar
- Aden DP, Fogel A, Plotkin S. Controlled synthesis of HBsAg in a differentiated human liver carcinoma-derived cell line [J]. Nature. 1979;282:615–6.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- AOCS. Official methods and recommended practices of the American Oil Chemists’ society. 4th ed. Champaign: AOCS Press; 1993. p. 20–91. Method Cd.Google Scholar
- Mosmann T. Rapid colorimetric assay for cellular growth and survival: application to proliferation and cytotoxicity assays. J Immunol Meth. 1983;65:55–63.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Gomes T, Delcuratolo D, Paradiso VM, et al. Pro–oxidant activity of oxidized triacylglycerols in olive oil and comparison with pro–oxidant action of polar triacylglycerol oligopolymers [J]. LWT–Food Sci Tech. 2011;44(4):1236–9.Google Scholar
- Cao WM, Wang X, Zhang W, Wang X. Toxic effects of triacylglycerol polymer on macrophage in vitro [J]. Eur J Lipid Sci Tech. 2013;115(7):756–63.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Stemmer U, Dunai ZA, Koller D, et al. Toxicity of oxidized phospholipids in cultured macrophages [J]. Lipids Health Dis. 2012;11:110.PubMed CentralView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar