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Nutr Cancer. 2001;39(1):148-53.

Kiwifruit protects against oxidative DNA damage in human cells and in vitro.

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Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, UK.


Antioxidant micronutrients may account for the beneficial effects of fruits on human health. A direct demonstration that consumption of fruit decreases oxidative DNA damage in human cells would support this hypothesis. Kiwifruit was taken as an example of a food with putative antioxidant properties, and its effectiveness at decreasing oxidative DNA damage was assessed in ex vivo as well as in vitro tests. The comet assay (single-cell gel electrophoresis) was used to measure DNA damage in lymphocytes collected during a human supplementation trial with a single 0.5-liter drink of kiwifruit juice (with water as a control). The comet assay was also modified to assess the antioxidant effect of kiwifruit in vitro by measuring the ability of an extract to interfere with oxidative damage to DNA induced by H2O2. Ex vivo, consumption of kiwifruit led to an increased resistance of DNA to oxidative damage induced by H2O2 in isolated lymphocytes, in comparison with lymphocytes collected after a control drink of water. No effect was seen on endogenous DNA damage. In vitro, a simple extract of kiwifruit, buffered to pH 7, was more effective than a solution of vitamin C (of equivalent concentration) at protecting DNA from damage, whereas at the highest concentrations tested, neither kiwi extract nor vitamin C had a protective effect. We have demonstrated significant antioxidant activity of kiwifruit ex vivo and in vitro, not attributable entirely to the vitamin C content of the fruit. Our dual approach is appropriate for testing other fruit and vegetable products for potential antioxidant effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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