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Carcinogenesis. 1997 Oct;18(10):1943-7.

Feeding mice palm carotene prevents DNA damage in bone marrow and reduction of peripheral leukocyte counts, and enhances survival following X-ray irradiation.

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Division of Applied Food Research, The National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Tokyo, Japan.


This study examined the effects of palm carotene feeding on DNA damage of bone marrow, recovery of peripheral leukocyte counts, and the survival of mice that received whole-body X-ray irradiation. The palm carotene was composed of alpha- and beta-carotene in a ratio of 1:3. Mice were fed either a basal diet or a carotene diet (50 mg carotene/100 g diet) for 2 weeks, then irradiated. The carotene diet was prepared by the dietary protocol that markedly enhanced the accumulation of carotene in tissues (J. Nutr. 125, 3081, 1995). DNA damage in bone marrow was evaluated by micronucleus assay using peripheral blood. When mice received X-ray (1.5 Gy), marked DNA damage in bone marrow and reduction of peripheral leukocyte count were observed. These changes were significantly attenuated in mice fed the carotene diet. In addition, X-ray (6.5 Gy)-induced survival of mice fed the carotene diet was higher than those fed the basal diet. In mice fed the carotene diet, alpha- and beta-carotene were detected in bone marrow and liver, and concentration of vitamin A in liver was about four times higher compared with that in mice fed the basal diet. These findings suggest that feeding mice palm carotene prevents radiation-induced damages by way of its antioxidant activity and/or vitamin A activity.

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