Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 01/31/2021

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Human Toxicology

First Advisor

Buettner, Garry R.

First Committee Member

Robertson, Larry W.

Second Committee Member

Doorn, Jonathan A.

Third Committee Member

Duffel, Michael W.

Fourth Committee Member

Cullen, Joseph J.


The clinical potential of pharmacological ascorbate (P-AscH-; IV delivery achieving mM concentrations in blood) as an adjuvant in cancer therapy is being re-evaluated. At mM concentrations, P-AscH- is thought to exhibit anti-cancer activity via generation of a flux of H2O2 in tumors, which leads to oxidative distress. Here, we use cell culture models of pancreatic cancer, MIA PaCa-2, PANC-1, and 339 cells, to examine the effects of P-AscH- on DNA damage, and downstream consequences, including changes in bioenergetics. We have found that the high flux of H2O2 produced by P-AscH- induces both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA damage. In response to this DNA damage, we observed that poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is hyperactivated, as determined by increased formation of poly (ADP-ribose) polymer. Using our unique absolute quantitation, we found that the P-AscH--mediated the overactivation of PARP-1, which results in consumption of NAD+, and subsequently depletion of ATP (potential energy crisis) leading to mitotic cell death. Time-course studies with MIA PaCa-2 cells showed that the level of NAD+ and ATP were reduced by 80% immediately after a 1-h exposure to P-AscH- (4 mM; 14 pmol cell-1); both species returned to near basal levels within 24 h. In parallel with these metabolic and energetic restorations, the lesions in nuclear DNA were removed within 3 h; however, even after 24 h, lesions in mitochondrial DNA were only partially repaired. We have also found that the Chk1 pathway has a major role in the maintenance of genomic integrity following treatment with P-AscH-. Hence, combinations of P-AscH- and Chk1 inhibitors could have the potential to improve outcomes of cancer treatment. Hyperactivation of PARP-1 and DNA repair are ATP-consuming processes. Using a Seahorse XF96 Analyzer, we observed no changes in OCR or ECAR/PPR following treatment with P-AscH-. OCR and ECAR/PPR together indicate the rate of production of intracellular ATP; therefore, the rate of production is unchanged after challenge with P-AscH-. Thus, the severe decrease in ATP is due solely to increased demand. Genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of PARP-1 preserved both NAD+ and ATP; however, the toxicity of P-AscH- remained. These data indicate that loss of NAD+ and ATP are secondary factors in the toxicity of P-AscH-, and damage to DNA is the primary factor. These preclinical findings can guide the best use of P-AscH- as an adjuvant in cancer therapy.


bioenergetics, DNA damage, hydrogen peroxide, pancreatic cancer, pharmacological ascorbate, quantitative redox biology


xxii, 150 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 132-147).


Copyright © 2018 Visarut Buranasudja

Available for download on Sunday, January 31, 2021