The antioxidant properties of lutein, lycopene and apocarotenoic ester were examined in vitro regarding their capacity to reduce the cytotoxic effect of the T-2 toxin on chicken hepatocytes. The protective effect was evaluated with a reduction of glutathione and lactate dehydrogenase leakage. Cellular damage was observed at a concentration of 5 x 10-4 M T-2 toxin, and with al least 10-5 M for all the carotenoids tested. A partial protective effect against mycotoxin was observed when hepatocytes were exposed simultaneously to lutein (10-6 M) and T-2 toxin (5 x 10-4 M). Lycopene (10-6 M) was able to reduce the cytotoxic effect of the T-2 mycotoxin (5 x 10-4 M) when both were in contact with cells, either simultaneously or previously exposed to the toxin (incubation time 60 min). The apocarotenoic ester did not protect these cells against the T-2 toxin effect. The results suggest that lutein and lycopene helped maintain the integrity of the cellular membrane structure in the presence of T-2 toxin.
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