Carotenoid lutein was investigated for its antimutagenic activity in vitro by Ames test using Salmonella
typhimurium strains TA 98, TA 100, TA 102 and TA 1535. Mutagens used were direct acting mutagens such as sodium
azide (NaN3) (5μg/ plate), nitro-o- phenylendiamine (NPDA) (20μg/ plate), N-methyl- N’-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine
(MNNG) (1μg/ plate), tobacco extract (50mg/ plate) and acetamidofluorene (AAF) (20μg/ plate) which needed
microsomal activation. Lutein significantly inhibited the mutagenicity produced by direct acting mutagens as well as
mutagens needing activation by cytochrome P450 enzymes at very low concentration (IC50 < 50 μg/plate). Lutein also
inhibited the mutagenicity induced by tobacco extract (IC50 < 50 μg/plate). Cytochrome P 450 enzymes which are
involved in the activation of several biological agents were found to be inhibited by lutein. Results indicated that strong
antioxidant activity of lutein as well as inhibition of carcinogen metabolisom enzymes are the major reason for the
inhibition of mutagenicity by this oxycarotenoid.
Keywords: Ames test, antimutagenicity, cytochrome P450 enzymes, Salmonella typhimurium.
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