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Genet Mol Res. 2013 Dec 10;12(4):6402-13. doi: 10.4238/2013.December.10.1.

Cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of iodine-131 and radioprotection of acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) and beta-carotene in vitro.

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Laboratório de Citogenética e Mutagênese, Departamento de Biotecnologia, Genética e Biologia Celular, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Maringá, PR, Brasil.


The radioisotope iodine-131 [(131)I] can damage DNA. One way to prevent this is to increase the amount of antioxidants via dietary consumption. The goal of this study was to evaluate the radioprotective effect of fresh acerola pulp and synthetic beta-carotene in Rattus norvegicus hepatoma cells (HTC) in response to [(131)I] exposure in vitro. Cellular DNA damage was subsequently assessed using a cytokinesis block micronucleus assay. The mutagenic and cytotoxic activities of doses of [(131)I] (0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, and 10 µCi), acerola (0.025, 0.125, and 0.25 g acerola pulp/mL), and beta-carotene (0.2, 1, and 2 µM) were evaluated. Radioprotective tests were performed by simultaneous treatment with acerola (0.25 g/mL) plus [(131)I] (10 µCi) and beta-carotene (0.2 µM) plus [(131)I] (10 µCi). Acerola, beta-carotene, and low concentrations of [(131)I] did not induce micronucleus formation in HTC cells; in contrast, high concentrations of [(131)I] (10 µCi) were mutagenic and induced DNA damage. Moreover, neither acerola nor beta-carotene treatment was cytotoxic. However, acerola reduced the percentage of [(131)I]-induced damage, although beta-carotene did not show a similar effect. Thus, our results suggest that acerola diet supplementation may benefit patients who are exposed to [(131)I] during thyroid diagnostics and therapy.

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