Send to

Choose Destination
J Photochem Photobiol B. 2007 Jul 27;88(1):1-10. Epub 2007 May 1.

Lutein, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin protect against DNA damage in SK-N-SH human neuroblastoma cells induced by reactive nitrogen species.

Author information

Medical Department, SIFI SpA, Via E. Patti 36, Lavinaio (CT), Italy.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of the predominant carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) of the macular pigment of the human retina, to protect SK-N-SH human neuroblastoma cells against DNA damage induced by different RNOS donors. Although astaxanthin has never been isolated from the human eye, it was included in this study because its structure is very close to that of lutein and zeaxanthin and because it affords protection from UV-light. DNA damage was induced by GSNO-MEE, a nitric oxide donor, by Na(2)N(2)O(3), a nitroxyl anion donor and by SIN-1, a peroxynitrite-generating agent. DNA damage was assessed using the comet assay, a rapid and sensitive single cell gel electrophoresis technique able to detect primary DNA damage in individual cells. The tail moment parameter was used as an index of DNA damage. The values of tail moment increased in all the samples incubated with the RNOS donors, indicating DNA impairment. Data obtained show that the ability of zeaxanthin, lutein, and astaxanthin to reduce the DNA damage depends on the type of RNOS donor and the carotenoid concentration used. All the carotenoids studied were capable of protecting against DNA damage in neuroblastoma cells when the cells were exposed to GSNO-MEE. However, a different behaviour was present when the other two RNOS donors were used. The presence of a carotenoid alone (without an RNOS donor) did not cause DNA damage. Spectrophotometric studies showed that the order with which tested carotenoids reacted with RNOS was not always in agreement with the DNA protection results. The data from this study provides additional information on the activities of the macular pigment carotenoids of the human retina.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center