Effects of physiological versus pharmacological beta-carotene supplementation on cell proliferation and histopathological changes in the lungs of cigarette smoke-exposed ferrets.

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Beta-Carotene, Cell-Division, Cyclin-D1, Dietary-Supplements, Dose-Response-Relationship-Drug, Ferrets, Human, Lung, Male, Proliferating-Cell-Nuclear-Antigen, Proto-Oncogene-Proteins-c-fos, Proto-Oncogene-Proteins-c-jun, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-NON-P-H-S, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Tobacco-Smoke-Pollution, Tretinoin, Vitamin-A

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Carcinogenesis 2000 Dec; 21(12):2245-53.




There remains a remarkable discordance between the results of observational epidemiological studies and intervention trials using beta-carotene as a potential chemopreventive agent. One question that needs to be examined is whether the adverse outcomes of human beta-carotene trials are related to the large doses of beta-carotene that were administered. In the present study, ferrets were given a physiological (low) dose or a pharmacological (high) dose of beta-carotene supplementation (0.43 mg versus 2.4 mg/kg body wt/day, which is equivalent to 6 mg versus 30 mg/day in humans) and exposed to cigarette smoke for 6 months. We investigated the effects of these doses of beta-carotene on retinoid concentrations, expression of retinoic acid receptors (RARs), activator protein 1 (AP-1; c-Jun and c-Fos), cyclin D1, proliferating cellular nuclear antigen (PCNA), and histopathological changes in the lungs of both normal and cigarette smoke-exposed ferrets. Thirty-six male ferrets were treated in six groups-control, smoke-exposed (SM), low-dose beta-carotene (LBC), high-dose beta-carotene (HBC), low-dose beta-carotene plus smoke exposure (LBC+SM) or high-dose beta-carotene plus smoke exposure (HBC+SM)-for 6 months. Retinoic acid concentration and RAR beta gene expression, but not expression of RAR alpha and RAR gamma, was reduced in the lung tissue of HBC+SM, HBC, SM and LBC+SM ferrets, but not in that of LBC ferrets, as compared with the control group. Expression of AP-1 and PCNA was greater in HBC+SM, HBC, SM and LBC+SM ferrets, but not in the LBC ferrets, as compared with the control group. Increased amounts of cyclin D1 and keratinized squamous metaplasia were observed in the lung tissue of HBC+SM, HBC and SM groups but not in that of the LBC+SM, LBC or control groups. These data suggest that, in contrast with a pharmacological dose of beta-carotene, a physiological dose of beta-carotene in smoke-exposed ferrets has no potentially detrimental effects and may afford weak protection against lung damage induced by cigarette smoke.

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