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Mutagenesis. 2011 Nov;26(6):735-44. doi: 10.1093/mutage/ger041. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Vitamin A and C compounds permitted in supplements differ in their abilities to affect cell viability, DNA and the DNA nucleoside deoxyguanosine.

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Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, SE-141 83 Huddinge, Sweden.


In accordance with the European Parliament and Council's directive, vitamin A and C supplements can include any of four (vitamin A) or five (vitamin C) specified compounds. This study focuses on these compounds and compares their abilities to affect the DNA and viability of cells in culture, but also their potencies to chemically oxidise the DNA nucleoside deoxyguanosine (dG). To study the vitamins' strict chemical oxidation potencies, dG was exposed to vitamin solution and the amount of the oxidation product 8'-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) formed was estimated using a high-performance liquid chromatography system with electrochemical and ultraviolet detection. The vitamin's ability to cause DNA damage to promyelocytic leukaemia cells (HL-60), as detected by strand breaks, alkaline labile sites and formamido pyrimidine DNA glycosylase (FPG)-sensitive sites was, after vitamin exposure, measured using the comet assay and cytotoxicity was estimated using trypan blue staining. The results highlight that vitamin A and C compounds found in supplements do have different properties, chemically as well as in a cellular system. Among the vitamin C compounds, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate stood out causing both oxidation to dG and cytotoxicity to cells. The vitamin A compounds retinol, retinyl acetate and retinal (a breakdown product found in vivo) caused oxidation of dG, while retinal was the only compound causing cytotoxicity, giving rise to an almost complete cell death. β-carotene caused, as the only vitamin compound, a small increase in FPG-sensitive sites. It is concluded that even though the compounds are found under the same name (vitamin A or C), they do have different properties linked to oxidation, cytotoxicity and DNA damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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