OBJECTIVE: To determine the role of norepinephrine (NE) on DNA damage and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in ovarian surface epithelial cells.
METHOD: Non-tumorigenic, immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cells were treated with NE, bleomycin, and bleomycin followed by NE. The comet assay was performed on each treatment group to determine the amount of single and double-strand breaks induced by treatments. ROS levels for each treatment group were measured using the H2DCF-DA fluorescence assay. Finally, RNA transcripts were measured for each treatment group with regards to the expression of DNA repair and oxidative stress genes.
RESULTS: The mean tail moment of untreated cells was significantly greater than that of cells treated with NE (p=0.02). The mean tail moment of cells treated with bleomycin was significantly greater than that of cells treated with bleomycin followed by NE (p<0.01). Treatment with NE resulted in significantly less ROS generation than in untreated cells (p<0.01). NE treatment after hydrogen peroxide treatment resulted in a noticeable decrease in ROS generation. Genes associated with oxidative stress were upregulated in cells treated with bleomycin, however this upregulation was blunted when bleomycin-treated cells were treated subsequently with NE.
CONCLUSION: NE is associated with decreased DNA damage and ROS production in ovarian surface epithelial cells. This effect is protective in the presence of the oxidative-damaging agent bleomycin. These results suggest an additional physiologic role for the stress hormone NE, in protecting ovarian surface epithelial cells from oxidative stress.