Influence of treatment of diabetic rats with combinations of pycnogenol, β-carotene, and α-lipoic acid on parameters of oxidative stress

Abbie M. Berryman, A. C. Maritim, R. A. Sanders, J. B. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Treatment with antioxidants may act more effectively to alter markers of free radical damage in combinations than singly. This study has determined whether treatment with combinations of pycnogenol, β-carotene, and α-lipoic acid was more effective at reducing oxidative stress in diabetic rats than treatment with these antioxidants alone. It is not feasible, based on this study, to assume that there are interactive effects that make combinations of these antioxidants more effective than any one alone to combat oxidative stress. Female Sprague-Dawley rats, normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic, were treated (10 mg/ kg/day ip for 14 days) with pycnogenol, β-carotene, pycnogenol + β-carotene, or pycnogenol + β-carotene + α-lipoic acid; controls were untreated. Concentrations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, glutathione and glutathione disulfide, and activities of glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase were measured in liver, kidney, and heart. Four types of effects were observed: (1) treatment with β-carotene alone either reversed (cardiac glutathione disulfide) or elevated (cardiac glutathione, hepatic glutathione peroxidase activity) levels seen in diabetic animals; (2) β-carotene alone produced no effect, but pycnogenol both alone and in combinations elevated (renal glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase activities, hepatic glutathione reductase activity and glutathione disulfide) or depressed (cardiac glutathione disulfide) levels seen in untreated diabetic animals; (3) all treatments with antioxidants, either alone or in combination, either normalized (lipid peroxidation in all tissues), elevated (hepatic GSH, cardiac glutathione peroxidase activity), or had no effect on (activities of hepatic catalase and superoxide dismutase in all tissues) levels seen in diabetic animals; (4) in only one case (cardiac glutathione reductase activity) levels in diabetic animals treated with combinations of antioxidants were normal, but elevated in animals treated with either antioxidant alone. Antioxidant effects seem to be dependent on the nature of the antioxidant used and not on combination effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Antioxidant
  • Diabetes
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rat
  • Streptozotocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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