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Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 Nov 15;35(10):1319-29.

Cooperation of antioxidants in protection against photosensitized oxidation.

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Department of Biophysics, Institute of Molecular Biology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.


The aim of this study was to determine whether alpha-tocopherol and zeaxanthin offer synergistic protection against photosensitized lipid peroxidation mediated by singlet oxygen and free radicals. The antioxidant action of zeaxanthin and alpha-tocopherol was studied in liposomes made of phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol. Progress of lipid peroxidation, induced by aerobic photoexcitation of rose bengal, was monitored by the detection of lipid hydroperoxides and by electron spin resonance oximetry. In addition, cholesterol was employed as a mechanistic reporter molecule, which forms characteristic products of the interaction with singlet oxygen or free radicals. Cholesterol hydroperoxides were quantitatively determined by HPLC/electrochemical detection. HPLC/ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) absorption detection was used to measure concentrations of zeaxanthin and alpha-tocopherol. Zeaxanthin, even at concentrations of 2.5 microM, effectively protected against singlet oxygen-mediated lipid peroxidation but was rapidly consumed due to interaction with free radicals. alpha-Tocopherol alone was not effective in protecting against lipid peroxidation, even at concentration of 0.1 mM. Combinations of zeaxanthin and alpha-tocopherol exerted a synergistic protection against lipid peroxidation. The synergistic effect may be explained in terms of prevention of carotenoid consumption by effective scavenging of free radicals by alpha-tocopherol therefore allowing zeaxanthing to quench the primary oxidant-singlet oxygen effectively.

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