The effects of oral doses of canthaxanthin on tissue distribution of α- and γ-tocopherols were investigated in three experiments in male and female Balb/c mice. Mice were assigned to receive canthaxanthin [7 or 14 μg/(g body weight. d)] or placebo (olive oil) by gavage for different periods of time (0, 1, 2, 4 and 6 wk). A 2 wk-treatment with canthaxanthin resulted in incorporation of the carotenoid in all tissues analyzed, including liver, spleen, kidney, lung and heart. In liver, the maximum accumulation of the carotenoid was reached after 2 wk of dosing in female mice and after 6 wk in male mice. Canthaxanthin incorporation was accompanied by changes in α- and γ-tocopherol concentrations in plasma and tissues. These included the following: 1) a significant increase (P < 0.001) in α-tocopherol concentration in spleen (21 and 27% in male and female mice, respectively) after 2 wk and in liver (~50% in both male and female mice) after 6 wk; 2) a significant decrease in γ-tocopherol concentration in plasma (P < 0.05) and tissues (P < 0.001) after 2 wk of treatment. In female mice, this decrease was 55% in plasma, 43% in liver, 44% in kidney, 71% in lung and 70% in heart. In male mice, the decrease was observed only in plasma (30%), kidney (54%) and heart (46%). In liver, the decrease in γ-tocopherol concentration was both dose- and time-dependent and significantly (P < 0.001) greater in female than in male mice. We conclude that dietary administration of canthaxanthin modifies tocopherol status in murine tissues.
- Tissue distribution