Effects of β-carotene on oxidative stress in normal and diabetic rats

Alice Maritim, Barbara A. Dene, Ruth A. Sanders, John B. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Increasing interest in the role of oxidative stress and β-carotene in disease and prevention led us to examine the results of β-carotene's administration in diabetic rats, a model for high-oxidative stress. In this experiment, amounts of lipid peroxidation, glutathione, and glutathione disulfide, and activity levels of catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase, and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were measured in the liver, kidney, and heart of Sprague-Dawley rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, and after treatment with 10 mg/kg/day of β-carotene for 14 days. β-Carotene treatment resulted in the reversal of the diabetes-induced increase in hepatic and cardiac catalase activity, the decreased levels of glutathione disulfide in the heart, and the increased cardiac and renal levels of lipid peroxidation. Treatment with β-carotene exacerbated the increased glutathione peroxidase activity in the heart and the decreased catalase activity in the kidneys. In contrast to reduced hepatic glutathione levels in untreated diabetic rats, β-carotene treatment increased glutathione levels in diabetic rats. Increased hepatic γ-glutamyl transpeptidase activity in diabetic rats was not reduced by treatment. Thus, β-carotene therapy for 14 days prevented/reversed some, but not all, diabetes-induced changes in oxidative stress parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 23 2002


  • β-Carotene
  • Diabetes
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Oxidative stress
  • Rat
  • Streptozotocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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