Iron release and oxidant damage in human myoblasts by divicine

Paolino Ninfali, Maria Paola Perini, Nereo Bresolin, Gianfranca Aluigi, Caterina Cambiaggi, Marco Ferrali, Alfonso Pompella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Divicine is an aglycone derived from vicine, a glucosidic compound contained in fava beans (Vicia faba major or broad beans). In this study, we investigated the effect of divicine on cultured human myoblasts from normal subjects, in order to see if the drug may induce signs of oxidant stress in these cells. Myoblasts incubated 24 hours in the presence of 1 mM divicine, showed an increase of carbonyl groups and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) bound to cell proteins, as well as a significant release of iron and lactate dehydrogenase in the culture medium. Desferrioxamine (DFO), an iron chelator, significantly prevented protein oxidation and formation 4-HNE adducts. Our results can be interpreted as indicating that divicine autooxidizes both at extracellular level and into myoblasts thus inducing the release of free iron, which initiates oxidation of cellular proteins and lipids. DFO protects the cells by subtracting the free iron both at intracellular and extracellular level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 31 1999


  • 4-hydroxynonenal adducts
  • Divicine
  • Free iron
  • Myoblasts
  • Oxidant stress
  • Protein carbonyls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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