Combined low dose ionizing radiation and green tea-derived epigallocatechin-3-gallate treatment induces human brain endothelial cells death

Nancy McLaughlin, Borhane Annabi, Marie Paule Lachambre, Kwang Sik Kim, Jean Paul Bahary, Robert Moumdjian, Richard Béliveau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The microvasculature of brain tumors has been proposed as the primary target for ionizing radiation (IR)-induced apoptosis. However, the contribution of low dose IR-induced non-apoptotic cell death pathways has not been investigated. This study aimed to characterize the effect of IR on human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC) and to assess the combined effect of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCg), a green tea-derived anti-angiogenic molecule. HBMEC were treated with EGCg, irradiated with a sublethal (≤10 Gy) single dose. Cell survival was assessed 48 h later by nuclear cell counting and Trypan blue exclusion methods. Cell cycle distribution and DNA fragmentation were evaluated by flow cytometry (FC), cell death was assessed by fluorimetric caspase-3 activity, FC and immunoblotting for pro-apoptotic proteins. While low IR doses alone reduced cell survival by 30%, IR treatment was found more effective in EGCg pretreated-cells reaching 70% cell death. Analysis of cell cycle revealed that IR-induced cell accumulation in G2-phase. Expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21(CIP/Waf1) and p27(Kip) were increased by EGCg and IR. Although random DNA fragmentation increased by approximately 40% following combined EGCg/IR treatments, the synergistic reduction of cell survival was not related to increased pro-apoptotic caspase-3, caspase-9 and cytochrome C proteins. Cell necrosis increased 5-fold following combined EGCg/IR treatments while no changes in early or late apoptosis were observed. Our results suggest that the synergistic effects of combined EGCg/IR treatments may be related to necrosis, a non-apoptotic cell death pathway. Strategies sensitizing brain tumor-derived EC to IR may enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy and EGCg may represent such a potential agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Cell death
  • Green tea
  • Human brain endothelial cells
  • Necrosis
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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