Send to

Choose Destination
Mutat Res. 2012 May 1;733(1-2):4-13. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Carotenoids and DNA damage.

Author information

Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Toxicology, Schools of Pharmacy and Sciences, University of Navarra, Irunlarrea 1, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.


Carotenoids are among the best known antioxidant phytochemicals, and are widely believed to contribute to the health-promoting properties of fruits and vegetables. Investigations of the effects of carotenoids have been carried out at different levels: in cultured cells, in experimental animals, and in humans. Studying reports from the last 5 years, we find a clear distinction between effects of vitamin A and pro-vitamin A carotenoids (the carotenes and β-cryptoxanthin), and effects of non-vitamin A carotenoids (lycopene, lutein, astaxanthin and zeaxanthin). Whereas the latter group are almost invariably reported to protect against DNA damage, whether endogenous or induced by exogenous agents, the provitamin A carotenoids show a more varied spectrum of effects, sometimes protecting and sometimes enhancing DNA damage. The tendency to exacerbate damage is seen mainly at high concentrations, and might be accounted for by pro-oxidant actions of these carotenoids.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center