Antioxidant activity of Zein hydrolysates from zea species and their cytotoxic effects in a hepatic cell culture uri icon


  • © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.In recent years, food proteins with bioactivity have been studied for cancer treatment. Zein peptides have shown an important set of bioactivities. This work compares the cytotoxic activity of zein hydrolyzed, extracted from four Zea species: teosinte, native, hybrid, and transgenic (Teo, Nat, Hyb, and HT) in a hepatic cell culture. Zein fraction was extracted, quantified, and hydrolyzed. Antioxidant capacity and cytotoxicity assays were performed on HepG2 cells. The levels of expression of caspase 3, 8, and 9 were evaluated in zein-treated cell cultures. Zea parviglumis showed the highest zein content (46.0 mg/g) and antioxidant activity (673.40 TE/g) out of all native zeins. Peptides from Hyb and HT showed high antioxidant activity compared to their native counterparts (1055.45 and 724.32 TE/g, respectively). Cytotoxic activity was observed in the cell culture using peptides of the four Zea species; Teo and Nat (IC50:1781.63 and 1546.23 ng/mL) had no significant difference between them but showed more cytotoxic activity than Hyb and HT (IC50:1252.25 and 1155.56 ng/mL). Increased expression of caspase 3 was observed in the peptide-treated HepG2 cells (at least two-fold more with respect to the control sample). These data indicate the potential for zein peptides to prevent or treat cancer, possibly by apoptosis induction.

Publication date

  • January 1, 2018