Enhance Intercellular Communication

In addition to its antioxidant activity, beta-carotene enhances gap junction intercellular communication by upregulation of the gap junction protein connexin 43. This action may be important in its control of tumour growth (Yeh & Hu 2003) and is likely to be independent of its ability to quench singlet molecular oxygen (Stahl et al 1997).

Animal studies have indicated that a beta-carotene dose of 50 mg/kg/day for 5 days inhibits, whereas a lower dose (5 mg/kg/day) increases, gap junction intercellular communication in rat liver. Further in vitro studies suggest that the observed inhibition is due, at least in part, to oxidised beta-carotene (Yeh & Hu 2003).

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