Molecular targets of the natural antioxidant pterostilbene: effect on protein kinase C, caspase-3 and apoptosis in human neutrophils in vitro.

OBJECTIVE: Pterostilbene, a naturally occurring phenolic derivative, exhibits various pharmacological effects, e.g. anti-cancerous, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic. Based on our previous study, we assessed the cellular and molecular effects of pterostilbene on human neutrophils and in cell free systems. Experimental and theoretical molecular descriptors of stilbene derivatives were also determined.

METHODS: We assessed the antioxidant properties of pterostilbene using cell free system and computational methods. The effect of pterostilbene on protein kinase C activation/phosphorylation was detected by special anti-phospho protein kinase C antibodies. Membrane associated changes determining the life span of neutrophils and human recombinant caspase-3 assay were examined.

RESULTS: Pterostilbene possessed comparable antioxidant properties as resveratrol in cell free system. Computational methods were used to establish the molecular characteristics of stilbene derivatives. The values of electronic parameters suggest a slight enhancement of electron donor properties of pterostilbene compared to resveratrol. Phosphorylation and thus activation of protein kinase C alpha/beta II in activated neutrophils was not decreased by pterostilbene. Pterostilbene in concentrations of 10-100 μM was found to inhibit the activity of human caspase-3 purified enzyme and did not influence cell viability significantly.

CONCLUSION: Pterostilbene, an analog of resveratrol, was identified as a good natural antioxidant compound. However, reducing the oxidative burst of human neutrophils during their activation in vitro with pterostilbene does not include protein kinase C phosphorylation pathway. Pterostilbene showed dose dependent activation/inhibition of caspase-3 enzyme activity.

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