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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Apr;1770(4):659-65. Epub 2006 Nov 23.

Lycopene as a natural protector against gamma-radiation induced DNA damage, lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status in primary culture of isolated rat hepatocytes in vitro.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar-608 002, Tamil Nadu, India.


The present study was designed to evaluate the radioprotective effect of lycopene, a naturally occurring dietary carotenoid, on gamma-radiation induced toxicity in cultured rat hepatocytes. The cellular changes were estimated using lipid peroxidative indices like thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), reduced glutathione (GSH), ceruloplasmin, vitamins A, E, C and uric acid. The DNA damage was analysed by single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). The increase in the severity of DNA damage was observed with the increase in gamma-radiation dose (1, 2 and 4 Gy) in cultured rat hepatocytes. TBARS were increased significantly whereas the levels of GSH, vitamins C, E and A, ceruloplasmin, uric acid and antioxidant enzymes were significantly decreased in gamma-irradiated groups. The maximum damage to hepatocytes was observed at 4 Gy irradiation. Pretreatment with lycopene (1.86, 9.31 and 18.62 microM) showed a significant decrease in the levels of TBARS and DNA damage. The antioxidant enzymes increased significantly along with the levels of GSH, vitamins A, E, C, uric acid and ceruloplasmin. The maximum protection of hepatocytes was observed at 9.31 muM of lycopene pretreatment. Thus, our results show that pretreatment with lycopene offers protection against gamma-radiation induced cellular damage and can be developed as an effective radioprotector during radiotherapy.

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