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Clin Chim Acta. 2004 Feb;340(1-2):229-33.

Antioxidant potential of vitamins A, E and C in modulating oxidative stress in rat brain.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, A.M.U. 202002, Aligarh, India.



Stress is known to affect synaptic plasticity, dendritic morphology and induces neurotoxic damage in humans, probably through generation of free radicals. Both ex vivo antioxidant vitamins and in vivo free radical scavenging enzymes exist. In the present study, restraint stress induced pro-oxidant status of rat brain was evaluated in terms of measurement of glutathione (GSH), lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS) and free radical scavenging enzymes activities. The efficacy of antioxidant vitamins A, E and C alone and in combination was also evaluated in modulating inherent antioxidant system in stressed rats.


Rats were treated with vit A, E and C alone (15 mg/kg of body weight) and in combination vitamins (E and C) prior to and after 6 h of restraint stress exposure. Both nonstressed and stressed rats were handled simultaneously. Pro-oxidant status of brain tissue was evaluated by determining the levels of GSH, TBARS and activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and catalase (CAT).


Restraint stress induced a decrease in the level of GSH and the activities of SOD, GST and catalase, while the levels of TBARS were found elevated. Both pre-stress and post-stress vitamin treatments (either alone or combined) resulted in alteration of these parameters towards their controls values with a relative dominance by latter. Vitamin E was found most effective in restoring inherent antioxidant system, no additive effect was observed in combined vitamin treatment as expected.


Immobilization of rats generated oxidative stress in rat brain, by decreasing the activities of SOD, GST, catalase and glutathione levels, while increasing the lipid peroxidation. Post stress vitamin E treatment was found most effective than vitamins A and C in enhancing the levels of glutathione and activities of SOD, GST and catalase and decreasing lipid peroxidation. Thus vitamin E can be given as a nutritional supplement for scavenging free radical generated in the brain tissues in order to reduce oxidative stress.

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