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FEBS Lett. 1997 Mar 10;404(2-3):175-8.

beta-Carotene effectively scavenges toxic nitrogen oxides: nitrogen dioxide and peroxynitrous acid.

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School of Pharmacy, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, Japan.


beta-Carotene absorbed 2 equimolar amounts of NO2 accompanying the complete destruction of beta-carotene. Electron spin resonance study using 2-phenyl-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-3-oxide-1-oxyl revealed that no significant amounts of NO were released by the interaction. Nitrogen atoms derived from NO2 were tightly bound to the beta-carotene molecules. Destruction of beta-carotene was inhibited little by alpha-tocopherol and polyunsaturated fatty esters, and slightly by ascorbyl palmitate, indicating that beta-carotene was a more effective scavenger of NO2. ONOOH/ONOO- and 3-morpholinosydononimine similarly destroyed beta-carotene. The results suggest that beta-carotene contributes to the prevention of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of NO2 and ONOOH/ONOO- derived from NO.

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