Toxicity of oxidized β-carotene to cultured human cells

John S. Hurst, Manjit K. Saini, Gui Fang Jin, Yogesh C. Awasthi, Frederik J.G.M. Van Kuijk

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35 Scopus citations


Carotenoids are effective antioxidants in vitro, but they are also susceptible to autoxidation, which generates volatile and biologically active aldehydes and ketones. In a previous study, we showed that autoxidized β-carotene inhibits Na+-K+-ATPase activity more effectively than aldehydic products derived from lipid peroxidation, such as 4-hydroxynonenal. In this study, we compared mitochondrial dysfunction in cultured human K562 erythroleukaemic and 28 SV4 retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells in response to the degradation products of β-carotene autoxidation using the MTT assay. We found that oxidized β-carotene is cytotoxic and that mitochondrial function is decreased in both K562 and RPE cells. In addition, the RPE cells were more resistant to this form of oxidative stress, suggesting that its cytotoxicity may depend on cellular antioxidant capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from Foundation Fighting Blindness and the Wilkins AMD fund to FJGMvK and by NIH grant # EY04396 to YCA.


  • Carotenoid derived aldehydes
  • K562 cells
  • Oxidative stress
  • Retinal pigment epithelial cells
  • β-carotene


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