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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2006 Feb;39(2):203-10. Epub 2006 Feb 2.

Lycopene and beta-carotene protect in vivo iron-induced oxidative stress damage in rat prostate.

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Departamento de Fisiologia, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, São Cristóvão, SE, Brazil.


It has been suggested that iron overload may be carcinogenic. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of plasma and prostate carotenoid concentration on oxidative DNA damage in 12-week-old Wistar rats treated with intraperitoneal (ip) ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA) (10 mg Fe/kg). Plasma beta-carotene and lycopene concentrations were measured as a function of time after ip injection of carotenoids (10 mg kg(-1) day(-1) beta-carotene or lycopene) in rats. The highest total plasma concentration was reached 3 and 6 h after ip injection of lycopene or beta-carotene, respectively. After 5 days of carotenoid treatment, lycopene and beta-carotene were present in the 0.10-0.51 nmol/g wet tissue range in the prostate. Using a sensitive method to detected 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodGuo) by HPLC/EC, the level of 8-oxodGuo in rat prostate DNA was significantly higher (6.3 +/- 0.6 residues/10(6) dGuo) 3 h after Fe-NTA injection compared with control rats (1.7 +/- 0.3 residues/10(6) dGuo). Rats supplemented with lycopene or beta-carotene for 5 days prior to Fe-NTA treatment showed a reduction of about 70% in 8-oxodGuo levels to almost control levels. Compared with control rats, the prostate of Fe-NTA-treated animals showed a 78% increase in malondialdehyde accumulation. Lycopene or beta-carotene pre-treatment almost completely prevented lipid damage. Epidemiological studies have suggested a lower risk of prostate cancer in men reporting a higher consumption of tomato products. However, before associating this effect with tomato sauce constituents, more information is required. The results described here may contribute to the understanding of the protective effects of carotenoids against iron-induced oxidative stress.

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