Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been widely used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods despite its toxic effects described in many reports. There is paucity of data regarding the mechanism of MSG induced toxicity on human neuronal cells. The present study was designed to investigate the alteration in antioxidant defense system and genotoxic effects after MSG exposure on human neuroblastoma cells IMR-32. The treatment of MSG was given for 24 h and cytotoxicity study was carried out by trypan blue dye exclusion assay. Apoptosis and necrosis were observed using Propidium iodide (PI) and Hoechst double staining method. Biochemical assays like total protein, protein carbonyl, lipid peroxidation and glutathione level were analyzed along with enzymatic activity of super oxide dismutase and catalase. Genotoxicity indices were measured by comet assay and DNA fragmentation assay. Result of cytotoxicity showed dose dependent decrease in percent viability and significant increase was observed in percent of apoptosis and necrosis. Moreover, exposure of MSG significantly increased lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl formation along with the impairment in antioxidant defense mechanism. Comet assay and DNA fragmentation assay showed genotoxic effects of MSG on IMR-32 cells in dose dependent manner. Findings of these dose reliant toxicity study of MSG suggest that MSG might be responsible for oxidative stress as well as genotoxicity in human neuronal cells IMR-32 cells and consumption of MSG essential to be controlled.


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