Fermented papaya preparation as redox regulator in blood cells of beta-thalassemic mice and patients

Phytother Res. 2008 Jun;22(6):820-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2379.


Many aspects of the pathology in beta-hemoglobinopathies (beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia) are mediated by oxidative stress. Fermented papaya preparation (FPP) was tested for its antioxidant effects: the scavenging effect was determined spectrofluorometrically in a cell-free system using 2'-7'-dichlorofluorescin-diacetate (DCF). Both spontaneous and H(2)O(2)-induced DCF oxidations were decreased by FPP in a dose-dependent fashion. Using flow cytometry, it was shown that in vitro treatment of blood cells from beta-thalassemic patients with FPP increased the glutathione content of red blood cells (RBC), platelets and polymorphonuclear (PMN) leukocytes, and reduced their reactive oxygen species, membrane lipid peroxidation and externalization of phosphatidylserine. These effects result in (a) reduced thalassemic RBC sensitivity to hemolysis and phagocytosis by macrophages; (b) improved PMN ability to generate oxidative burst - an intracellular mechanism of bacteriolysis, and (c) reduced platelet tendency to undergo activation, as reflected by fewer platelets carrying external phosphatidylserine. Oral administration of FPP to beta-thalassemic mice (50 mg/mouse/day for 3 months) and to patients (3 g x 3 times/day for 3 months), reduced all the above mentioned parameters of oxidative stress (p < 0.001 in mice and p < 0.005 in patients). These results suggest that FPP, as a potent antioxidant, might alleviate symptoms associated with oxidative stress in severe forms of thalassemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Blood Platelets / cytology
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Carica / chemistry*
  • Erythrocytes / cytology
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • beta-Thalassemia / blood*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts