Research: RAMANATHAN and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 93


RAMANATHAN and colleagues, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Dr AL Mudaliar Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani Campus, Chennai, India, have investigated the effects of vitamins C and E on arsenic-induced oxidative stress.


Arsenic is an ubiquitous element in the environment that causes an oxidative burst in exposed individuals and can thereby lead to tissue damage. Antioxidants have long been known to reduce the free-radical mediated effects of oxidative stress. The present study was designed to determine whether supplementation with vitamins C and E to arsenic-intoxicated rats could protect against the oxidative stress caused by the metal.


Rats were poisoned with low levels of arsenic (100 ppm in drinking water) and supplemented with 400 mg/kg of body weight of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and 200 mg/kg of body weight of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) per day. Biochemical parameters were measured.


The arsenic treated rats showed elevated lipid peroxidation and decreased levels of antioxidants, all signs of oxidative stress. Administration of vitamins C and E resulted in a decrease of lipid peroxides and enhanced levels of sulfhydryls, reduced glutathione, and the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and a number of related enzymes involved in the counteraction of oxidative stress, to near normal.


Conclusions: The results suggest that vitamins C and E prevent lipid peroxidation and protect the antioxidant system in arsenic-poisoned rats.


Ramanathan K, Balakumar BS, Panneerselvam C. Effects of ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol on arsenic-induced oxidative stress. Human and Experimental Toxicology 21 (12): 675-680, Dec 2002.

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