Vol 46, No 3 (2008)
Original paper
Published online: 2008-12-06

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Dietary carotenoids in normal and pathological tissues of corpus uteri.

Ewa Czeczuga-Semeniuk, Sławomir Wołczyński
DOI: 10.2478/v10042-008-0040-5
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2008;46(3):283-290.


Carotenoids and retinyl esters are the source of vitamin A in the human body and its natural derivatives takes part in the regulation of cell replication and differentiation in the human endometrium, may induce the leiomyoma growth and has a role in differentiation of endometrial adenocarcinoma. The aim of the study was to demonstrate the presence of carotenoids in tissues from the normal uterus and from various tumors of the uterine corpus, as well as to compare the total content, major carotenoids and % of carotenoids belonging to the provitamin A group between the tissues examined. Using three independent methods of chromatography (CC, TLC, HPLC) we analysed 140 human samples. We identified 13 carotenoids belonging to the eg. provitamin A group and epoxy carotenoids. In all the samples beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, neoxanthin, violaxanthin and mutatoxanthin were isolated. In normal tissues, the mean carotenoid content was the highest in the follicular phase endometrium (9.9 microg/g), while the highest percentage of carotenoids belonging to provitamin A group was found in the luteal phase (18.2%). In the pathological group, the highest mean values were demonstrated for epithelial lesions (8.0 microg/g), and within this group - in endometrioid adenocarcinoma (10.8 microg/g). In both groups, violaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein epoxide and mutatoxanthin were the predominant carotenoids. We have demonstrated that all uterine tissues show a concentration of beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, being the source of vitamin A. The highest total values of carotenoids obtained in the group of endometrioid adenocarcinoma seem to confirm certain enzymatic defects in carotenoid metabolism in the course of the neoplastic process or some metabolic modifications. The finding of astaxanthin - the major antioxidant among carotenoids - in 63% of tissues examined is also significant.

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