Red beetroot, a common ingredient of diet, is a rich source of a specific class of antioxidants, betalains. Our previous studies have shown the protective role of beetroot juice against carcinogen induced oxidative stress in rats. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of long term feeding (28 days) with beetroot juice on phase I and phase II enzymes, DNA damage and liver injury induced by hepatocarcinogenic N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA). Long term feeding with beetroot juice decreased the activities of enzymatic markers of cytochrome P450, CYP1A1/1A2 and CYP2E1. NDEA treatment also reduced the activities of these enzymes, but increased the activity of CYP2B. Moreover, combined treatment with beetroot juice and NDEA enhanced significantly CYP2B only. Modulation of P450 enzyme activities was accompanied by changes in the relevant proteins levels. Increased level and activity of NQO1 was the most significant change among phase II enzymes. Beetroot juice reduced the DNA damage increased as the result of NDEA treatment, as well as the biomarkers of liver injury. Collectively, these results confirm the protective effect of beetroot juice against oxidative damage shown in our previous studies and indicate that metabolic alterations induced by beetroot feeding may protect against liver damage.
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