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Brain Res Bull. 2011 Oct 10;86(3-4):246-53. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2011.08.006. Epub 2011 Aug 11.

Increased 3-nitrotyrosine levels in mitochondrial membranes and impaired respiratory chain activity in brain regions of adult female rats submitted to daily vitamin A supplementation for 2 months.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


Vitamin A supplementation among women is a common habit worldwide in an attempt to slow aging progression due to the antioxidant potential attributed to retinoids. Nonetheless, vitamin A elicits a myriad of side effects that result from either therapeutic or inadvertent intake at varying doses for different periods. The mechanism behind such effects remains to be elucidated. In this regard, we performed the present work aiming to investigate the effects of vitamin A supplementation at 100, 200, or 500IU/kgday(-1) for 2 months on female rat brain, analyzing tissue lipid peroxidation levels, antioxidant enzyme activities (both Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase - SOD - and Mn-SOD); glutathione S-transferase (GST) and monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzyme activity; mitochondrial respiratory chain activity and redox parameters in mitochondrial membranes, as well as quantifying α- and β-synucleins, β-amyloid peptide(1-40), immunoglobulin heavy-chain binding protein/78kDa glucose-regulated protein (BiP/GRP78), receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), D2 receptor, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) contents in rat frontal cortex, hippocampus, striatum, and cerebellum. We observed increased lipid peroxidation marker levels, altered Cu/Zn-SOD and Mn-SOD enzyme activities, mitochondrial nitrosative stress, and impaired respiratory chain activity in such brain regions. On the other hand, we did not find any change in MAO and GST enzyme activities, and on α- and β-synucleins, β-amyloid peptide(1-40), GRP78/BiP, RAGE, D2 receptor, and TNF-α contents. Importantly, we did not observed any evidence regarding an antioxidant effect of such vitamin at low doses in this experimental model. The use of vitamin A as an antioxidant therapy among women needs to be reexamined.

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