Biologically active polymers from spontaneous carotenoid oxidation : a new frontier in carotenoid activity

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111346
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TypeArticle
Journal titlePLoS ONE
ISSN1932-6203
Volume9
Issue10
Article numbere111346
AbstractIn animals carotenoids show biological activity unrelated to vitamin A that has been considered to arise directly from the behavior of the parent compound, particularly as an antioxidant. However, the very property that confers antioxidant activity on some carotenoids in plants also confers susceptibility to oxidative transformation. As an alternative, it has been suggested that carotenoid oxidative breakdown or metabolic products could be the actual agents of activity in animals. However, an important and neglected aspect of the behavior of the highly unsaturated carotenoids is their potential to undergo addition of oxygen to form copolymers. Recently we reported that spontaneous oxidation of ß-carotene transforms it into a product dominated by ß-carotene-oxygen copolymers. We now report that the polymeric product is biologically active. Results suggest an overall ability to prime innate immune function to more rapidly respond to subsequent microbial challenges. An underlying structural resemblance to sporopollenin, found in the outer shell of spores and pollen, may allow the polymer to modulate innate immune responses through interactions with the pattern recognition receptor system. Oxygen copolymer formation appears common to all carotenoids, is anticipated to be widespread, and the products may contribute to the health benefits of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationAquatic and Crop Resource Development; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272760
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Record identifier809f13a0-17ce-4c4a-adb7-b675fce3e0ce
Record created2014-12-03
Record modified2016-05-09
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