Interaction of oxygen and oxy-radicals with carotenoids

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1982 Jul;69(1):205-10.


Dye-sensitized photo-oxidations of liposomes are inhibited by the presence of carotenoids in the membrane. Some carotenoid bleaching occurs during the reaction. It was shown that carotenoids are capable of inhibiting free-radical-induced lipid peroxidation in liposomes as well as singlet oxygen-induced lipid peroxidation. There is little direct effect of lipid peroxides on carotenoid bleaching during the photo-oxidative reactions. The carotenoid bleaching observed during the dye-photosensitized oxidations of the liposomes appears to be due to interactions between the carotenoid pigments and either radical intermediates from type I reactions or direct chemical reaction with singlet oxygen in a type II reaction. It was concluded that carotenoid pigments function as protective agents by quenching triplet sensitizers, singlet oxygen, and radical intermediates.

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Ferric Compounds / pharmacology
  • Free Radicals
  • Liposomes / metabolism
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Photochemistry
  • Superoxides / metabolism*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Fatty Acids
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Free Radicals
  • Liposomes
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Superoxides
  • Carotenoids
  • Oxygen