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Exp Eye Res. 2005 Aug;81(2):239-43.

Toxicity of oxidized beta-carotene to cultured human cells.


Carotenoids are effective antioxidants in vitro, but they are also susceptible to autoxidation, which generates volatile and biologically active aldehydes and ketones. In a previous study, we showed that autoxidized beta-carotene inhibits Na+-K+-ATPase activity more effectively than aldehydic products derived from lipid peroxidation, such as 4-hydroxynonenal. In this study, we compared mitochondrial dysfunction in cultured human K562 erythroleukaemic and 28 SV4 retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells in response to the degradation products of beta-carotene autoxidation using the MTT assay. We found that oxidized beta-carotene is cytotoxic and that mitochondrial function is decreased in both K562 and RPE cells. In addition, the RPE cells were more resistant to this form of oxidative stress, suggesting that its cytotoxicity may depend on cellular antioxidant capacity.

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