Background: Oxidative stress represents an imbalance between the production and manifestation of reactive
oxygen species (ROS) and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or repair the resulting
damage. Our objective was to verify the existence of an in vitro dual effect of alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and ascorbic
acid in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) of healthy donors and the inflammatory capacity by IL-6 production.
Methods: PBMNC were incubated with two concentrations of vitamin complex: [A] = Ascorbic Acid = 0.08μM, α-
tocopherol = 0.04μM, β-carotene = 0.0008 μM and [20A] = Ascorbic Acid = 1.6μM, α-tocopherol = 0.82μM, β-carotene
= 0.016μM. Oxidizing and reducing response were measured by chemiluminescence and MTT assays, respectively. IL-6
production was measured by sandwich ELISA.
Results: Ours results demonstrated that PBMNC (from 20-39-year-old donors) incubated with vitamins activated free
radical production only in [20A] concentration. However, in the age groups of 40-59 and 60-80 years old, there was a significant
reduction and activation of the oxidizing response with both concentrations, respectively. The inflammatory profile
showed an elevation of IL-6 production in pro-oxidant and a decrease in antioxidant conditions. Correlation between
ROS production and IL-6 releasing was observed.
Conclusions: With this experiment we concluded that vitamins can exert an antioxidant effect and a pro-oxidant effect
according to their concentration, and could be an inductor of an inflammatory process in vitro generating severe complications
to the body in cellular levels.