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Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Jan;53(1 Suppl):194S-200S.

Antioxidant defense systems: the role of carotenoids, tocopherols, and thiols.

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Institut für Physiologische Chemie I, Universität Düsseldorf, FRG.


Reactive oxygen species occur in tissues and can damage DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. These potentially deleterious reactions are controlled by a system of enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants which eliminate prooxidants and scavenge free radicals. The ability of the lipid-soluble carotenoids to quench singlet molecular oxygen may explain some anticancer properties of the carotenoids, independent of their provitamin A activity. Tocopherols are the most abundant and efficient scavengers of hydroperoxyl radicals in biological membranes. Water-soluble antioxidants include ascorbate and cellular thiols. Glutathione is an important substrate for enzymatic antioxidant functions and is capable of nonenzymatic radical scavenging. Thiols associated with membrane proteins may also be important to the antioxidant systems. Interactions between the thiols, tocopherols, and other compounds enhance the effectiveness of cellular antioxidant defense.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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