Interactions of oral β-carotene and canthaxanthin in ferrets

W. S. White, K. M. Peck, T. L. Bierer, E. T. Gugger, J. W. Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interactive effects of an oral dose of equal quantities of β-carotene and either canthaxanthin or lycopene on serum and tissue β-carotene accumulations were investigated in domestic ferrets. Like humans, ferrets absorb a substantial portion of ingested β-carotene intact and accumulate it in tissues. After the ferrets ingested a low carotenoid purified diet for 13 d, they were randomly assigned to one of two groups of six animals. One group was dosed with β-carotene (10 mg/kg body weight) and the other with β- carotene and either canthaxanthin (Experiment 1) or lycopene (Experiment 2) (10 mg/kg body weight for each). In Experiment 1, ferrets that received a combined dose of β-carotene and canthaxanthin had serum β-carotene concentrations that were significantly lower at 8, 12 and 24 h post-dosing (P < 0.05), compared with those that received an individual dose of β- carotene; liver, adrenal and kidney β-carotene concentrations were also significantly reduced. In Experiment 2, ferrets that received a combined dose of lycopene and β-carotene had lower serum and tissue β-carotene concentrations than in those that received β-carotene alone; the differences were not statistically significant with the exception of serum β-carotene concentrations at 24 h post-dosing. The results suggest that, at the doses given, a concurrent oral canthaxanthin dose has a specific antagonistic effect on the bioavailability of a β-carotene dose in ferrets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1413
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • canthaxanthin
  • ferrets
  • interactions
  • lycopene
  • β-carotene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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