Antioxidant effect of ferulic acid in isolated membranes and intact cells: synergistic interactions with alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and ascorbic acid

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Apr 21;52(8):2411-20. doi: 10.1021/jf0303924.


Although an antioxidant mechanism has been involved in the beneficial effects of ferulic acid in human diseases, there are few reports on the antioxidant properties of this compound in isolated membranes and intact cells. Here, we evaluated the ability of ferulic acid in inhibiting lipid peroxidation in rat liver microsomal membranes and reactive oxygen species production in NIH-3T3 fibroblasts, induced by both tert-BOOH and AAPH. We also compared its antioxidant efficiency with that of other antioxidants, such as alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and ascorbic acid, added alone or in combination. Ferulic acid acted as a potent antioxidant in our models, being more effective in protecting from tert-BOOH than from AAPH. Moreover, the compound was the most effective among the antioxidants tested. Synergistic interactions were observed when the compound was used in combination with the other antioxidants, suggesting that they can cooperate in preserving physiological integrity of cells exposed to free radicals.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Coumaric Acids / pharmacology*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / drug effects
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Microsomes, Liver / ultrastructure
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • alpha-Tocopherol / pharmacology*
  • beta Carotene / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Coumaric Acids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • beta Carotene
  • ferulic acid
  • alpha-Tocopherol
  • Ascorbic Acid