Examination of copper- vs. polyphenolic-based mechanisms for areca nut extract crosslinking of submucosa in-vitro
Karunagaran, Saravana Kumar
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Exposure of areca nut extracts to intra-oral tissues is an endemic problem in much of the Southeastern Asian region, as a result of a cultural habit of chewing areca nut fragments in what is known as the "betel quid". Oral submucus fibrosis (OSF), a precancerous state with significant health penalties of its own, is a frequently seen lesion in areca nut users. The hypothesis guiding this investigation was that some substance or combination of substances in aqueous extracts of areca nut fragments was responsible for shrinkage and cross linking of the collagenous submucosal tissues. Pilot laboratory studies by internal reflection infrared spectroscopy (IRS) identified polyphenolics as dominant extractables from areca nut fragments exposed in combinations with other common betel quid ingredients, while a review of the relevant literature identified the presence of high copper concentrations in areca nut as another etiologic factor for OSF. The currently reported follow-up in vitro study confirmed the presence of copper in localized patches of areca nut meat by energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry concurrent with scanning electron microscopy (SEM/EDX-ray).