The protective role of carotenoids against 7-keto-cholesterol formation in solution

  • Paola Palozza
  • Eugenio Barone
  • Cesare Mancuso
  • Nevio Picci


The antioxidant activity of β-carotene and oxygenated carotenoids lutein, canthaxanthin, and astaxanthin was investigated during spontaneous and peroxyl-radical-induced cholesterol oxidation. Cholesterol oxidation, measured as generation of 7-keto-cholesterol (7-KC), was evaluated in a heterogeneous solution with cholesterol, AAPH, and carotenoids solubilized in tetrahydrofuran and in water, and in a homogeneous solution of chlorobenzene, with AIBN as a prooxidant. The formation of 7-KC was dependent on temperature and on cholesterol and prooxidant concentrations. All the carotenoids tested, exhibited significant antioxidant activity by inhibiting spontaneous, AAPH- and AIBN-induced formation of 7-KC, although the overall order of efficacy of these compounds was astaxanthin > canthaxanthin > lutein = β-carotene. The finding that carotenoids exert protective effects on spontaneous and free radical-induced cholesterol oxidation may have important beneficial effects on human health, by limiting the formation of atheroma and by inhibiting cholesterol oxidation in food processing or storage.


Cholesterol oxidation 7-keto-cholesterol formation Carotenoids Antioxidant activity Heterogeneous solution 



2,2′-Azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride




Cholesterol oxidation products







This work was supported by MIUR.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Palozza
    • 1
  • Eugenio Barone
    • 2
  • Cesare Mancuso
    • 3
  • Nevio Picci
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of General PathologyCatholic University School of MedicineRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of CalabriaCosenzaItaly
  3. 3.Institute of PharmacologyCatholic University School of MedicineRomeItaly

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