Synergistic effects of phenolics and carotenoids on human low-density lipoprotein oxidation

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Aug;51(8):956-61. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200600271.


Low-density lipoprotein oxidation is believed to play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis and therefore a high resistance of LDL against oxidation may prevent atherogenesis and accompanying disorders. Several secondary plant metabolites have been tested for their ability to prevent oxidation of LDL and many phenolics as well as carotenoids have been shown to enhance LDL oxidation resistance. We showed that the quercetingylcoside rutin is able to inhibit copper-induced formation of conjugated dienes and loss of tryptophan fluorescence in LDL. However, enrichment of LDL with the carotenoids lutein or lycopene did not result in an alleviation of LDL oxidation. Since there is an agreement that not one antioxidant alone can lead to health benefits but the combination, as found for example in fruits and vegetables, is the active principle, we tested whether the combination of a phenolic compound (i. e. rutin) and carotenoids (i.e. lutein or lycopene) leads to synergistic effects. Both combinations were shown to exert supra-additive protection of LDL towards oxidation, which is most likely due to different allocation of the antioxidants in the LDL-particle and to different mechanisms of antioxidant action.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Lutein / pharmacology
  • Lycopene
  • Rutin / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Carotenoids
  • Rutin
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein