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FEBS Lett. 2001 Sep 7;505(1):151-4.

Carotenoids are degraded by free radicals but do not affect lipid peroxidation in unilamellar liposomes under different oxygen tensions.

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  • 1Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, 110 East Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


It has been questioned whether carotenoids can act as antioxidants in biological membranes. Biological membranes can be modeled for studies of lipid peroxidation using unilamellar liposomes. Both carotenoid depletion and lipid peroxidation were increased with increasing oxygen tension in unilamellar liposomes. Carotenoids in such liposomes were found to be very sensitive to degradation by free radicals generated from iron and 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride, but they were not protective against lipid peroxidation. Lycopene and beta-carotene were more sensitive to free radical attack than lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin.

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