Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) fractions and the importance of gallate moieties--electron transfer capacities in their antitumoral properties.

D. Lizarraga, S. Tourino, F.J. Reyes Zurita, T.M. de Kok, J.H. van Delft, L.M. Maas, J.J. Briede, J.J. Centelles, J.L. Torres, M. Cascante*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Witch hazel ( Hamamelis virginia ) extracts are used in traditional medicine. They are particularly rich in gallate esters included in proanthocyanidins, hydrolyzable tannins (galloylated sugars), and methyl gallate. This study examines the response of human colon cancer cells to treatment with fractions obtained from a witch hazel polyphenolic extract. The results are compared with those obtained previously with homologous fractions from grape (less galloylated) and pine (nongalloylated). Witch hazel fractions were the most efficient in inhibiting cell proliferation in HT29 and HCT116 human colon cancer cell lines, which clearly shows that the more galloylated the fractions, the more effective they were at inhibiting proliferation of colon cancer cells. Witch hazel fractions were, in addition, more potent in arresting the cell cycle at the S phase and inducing apoptosis; they also induced a significant percentage of necrosis. Interestingly, the apoptosis and cell cycle arrest effects induced were proportional to their galloylation. Moreover, witch hazel fractions with a high degree of galloylation were also the most effective as scavengers of both hydroxyl and superoxide radicals and in protecting against DNA damage triggered by the hydroxyl radical system. These findings provide a better understanding of the structure-bioactivity relationships of polyphenolics, which should be of assistance in choosing an appropriate source and preparing a rational design for formulations of plant polyphenols in nutritional supplements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11675-11682
    JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
    Issue number24
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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