Open Access Short report

In vivo tissue uptake of intravenously injected water soluble all-trans β-carotene used as a food colorant

Tomoko T Yamanushi*, Midori I Torii, Najma Janjua and Hideaki Kabuto

Author Affiliations

Kagawa Prefectural College of Health Sciences, 281-1 Hara, Mure-cho, Takamatsu City, Kagawa 761-0123, Japan

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Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:56  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-56

Published: 1 December 2009

Abstract

Water soluble β-carotene (WS-BC) is a carotenoid form that has been developed as a food colorant. WS-BC is known to contain 10% of all-trans β-carotene (AT-BC). The aim of the present study was to investigate in vivo tissue uptake of AT-BC after the administration of WS-BC into rats. Seven-week-old male rats were administered 20 mg of WS-BC dissolved in saline by intravenous injection into the tail vein. At 0, 6, 24, 72, 120 and 168 hours (n = 7/time), blood was drawn and liver, lungs, adrenal glands, kidneys and testes were dissected. The levels of AT-BC in the plasma and dissected tissues were quantified with HPLC. After intravenous administration, AT-BC level in plasma first increased up to 6 h and returned to normal at 72 h. In the testes, the AT-BC level first increased up to 24 h and then did not decrease but was retained up to 168 h. In the other tissues, the level first increased up to 6 h and then decreased from 6 to 120 or 168 h but did not return to normal. The accumulation of WS-BC in testes but not in the other 5 tissues examined may suggest that AT-BC was excreted or metabolized in these tissues but not in testes. Although WS-BC is commonly used as a food colorant, its effects on body tissues are still not clarified. Results of the present study suggest that further investigations are required to elucidate effects of WS-BC on various body tissues.