Redox regulation of 7-ketocholesterol-induced apoptosis by beta-carotene in human macrophages

Paola Palozza, Simona Serini, Sara Verdecchia, Maria Ameruso, Sonia Trombino, Nevio Picci, Giovanni Monego, Franco Oreste Ranelletti

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


The aim of this study was to verify the hypothesis that beta-carotene may prevent 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC)-induced apoptosis in human macrophages. Therefore, THP-1 macrophages were exposed to 7-KC (5-50 microM) alone and in combination with beta-carotene (0.25-1 microM). 7-KC inhibited the growth of macrophages in a dose- and a time-dependent manner by inducing an arrest of cell cycle progression in the G0/G1 phase and apoptosis. Concomitantly, p53, p21, and Bax expressions were increased by 7-KC, whereas the levels of AKT, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL were decreased. beta-Carotene prevented the growth-inhibitory effects of 7-KC in a dose- and time-dependent manner as well as the effects of 7-KC on the expression of cell cycle- and apoptosis-related proteins. 7-KC also enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production through an increased expression of NAD(P)H oxidase (NOX-4). The effects of 7-KC were counteracted by the addition of the NAD(P)H oxidase inhibitor DPI or by cotransfection of siNOX-4 mRNA. beta-Carotene prevented 7-KC-induced increase in ROS production and in NOX-4 expression, as well as the phosphorylation of p38, JNK, and ERK1/2 induced by 7-KC. These data suggest a possible antiatherogenic role of beta-carotene through the prevention of 7-KC toxicity in human macrophages
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1579-1590
Numero di pagine12
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2007


  • 7-chetocholesterol
  • beta-carotene
  • cholesterol


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