Photoprotective effect of flax seed oil (Linum usitatissimum L.) against ultraviolet C-induced apoptosis and oxidative stress in rats

Toxicol Ind Health. 2012 Mar;28(2):99-107. doi: 10.1177/0748233711407239. Epub 2011 Jun 10.


The aim of this study is to determine antioxidant and antiapoptotic effects of flax seed oil (FSO) on rats exposed to ultraviolet C (UVC). Malondialdehyde (MDA), protein carbonyl (PC) and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels as well as glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities were measured in lens, skin and serum. In addition, β-carotene, vitamin A, C and E contents were measured in serum, while apoptosis was determined in retina. Rats were divided into three groups as control, UVC and UVC + FSO. UVC and UVC + FSO groups were exposed to UVC light for 1 h twice a day for 4 weeks. FSO (4 ml/kg bw) was given by gavage before each irradiation period to the UV + FSO group. While MDA and PC levels of the UVC group increased compared to the control group, their levels decreased in the UVC + FSO group compared with the UVC group in skin, lens and serum. Skin GSH level decreased significantly in the UVC and UVC + FSO groups. As GPx and SOD activities of the UVC group were lower, their activities were higher in the UVC + FSO group in skin, lens and serum. There was only marked elevation of vitamin A level in the UVC group compared to the control group. Apoptosis increased in the UVC group and the UVC + FSO groups in retina. However, retinal apoptosis were lower in the UVC + FSO group compared with the UVC group. This investigation demonstrated that UVC exposure led to oxidative stress and apoptosis in rats as reflected by increased MDA, PC contents and decreased enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant levels, FSO may be useful for preventing photoreactive damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects*
  • Flax / chemistry
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Linseed Oil / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects*
  • Protein Carbonylation
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / radiation effects
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Vitamins / blood
  • Vitamins / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Vitamins
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Linseed Oil
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione