Effects of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene on hepatic lipid peroxidation and blood lipids in rats with dietary iron overload

Whittaker, P.; Wamer, W.G.; Chanderbhan, R.F.; Dunkel, V.C.

Nutrition and Cancer 25(2): 119-128


ISSN/ISBN: 0163-5581
PMID: 8710681
DOI: 10.1080/01635589609514434
Accession: 008558642

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The ability of dietary antioxidants to reduce lipid peroxidation induced by iron overload was examined in weanling male Sprague-Dawley rats. Animals were fed ad libitum a modified AIN-76A diet (control) or control diet with 0.5% alpha-tocopherol acid succinate, 0.5% crystalline trans-beta-carotene, or 0.5% alpha-tocopherol acid succinate + 0.5% trans-beta-carotene for four weeks. In the following four-week period, the animals received the above diets with 10,000 micrograms Fe/g; a control group continued to receive 35 micrograms Fe/g, and a high-iron group received 10,000 micrograms Fe/g with no antioxidants. After four weeks of dietary supplementation with alpha-tocopherol. Beta-carotene or alpha-tocopherol + beta-carotene, liver concentrations of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene increased significantly (p < 0.001). Liver lipid peroxidation, measured by the lipid-conjugated diene assay, increased significantly from 0.012 mumol/mg of lipid in the controls to 0.021 mumol/mg of lipid in animals receiving the high-iron diet. However, lipid peroxidation was significantly reduced in all animals fed the antioxidants, with the group fed alpha-tocopherol + beta-carotene having a lower level than the high-iron group. Total serum cholesterol was elevated in animals fed a high-iron diet and in animals fed the high-iron diet with alpha-tocopherol. In contrast, total serum cholesterol levels in the two groups of animals receiving the diets containing high iron with beta-carotene alone or high iron with beta-carotene + alpha-tocopherol were significantly reduced to the level of the control group. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol also decreased to baseline in the animals receiving beta-carotene alone. Modulation of lipid peroxidation by alpha-tocopherol or beta-carotene may be an important mechanism for reducing oxidative stress.