The role played by carotenoids, retinol and tocopherol in quencing oxidative cellular damage and combatting tumor growth is well documented, but little is known about their activity in human liver cirrhosis (LC), where oxidative damage and tumoral complications are common-place. We investigated 59 patients with LC of different etiology on admission to hospital and compared them with 32 healthy controls, matched for age and sex. Nutritional (cutaneous skinfolds, creatinine-height index) and serum parameters were determined; of these, alpha- and beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, retinol and alpha-tocopherol were detected by an high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) technique, devised in our laboratory, which afforded an accurate and simultaneous resolution of all six compounds. The results point to a significant reduction in almost all the vitamin factors in LC, as well as in total serum lipids. In consequence, the ratio tocopherol/total serum lipids remains almost unchanged: 2.45 +/- 0.08 (m +/- se) in controls and 2.34 +/- 0.16 in patients. The effects of age, sex, nutritional habits, alcohol, malnutrition and the severity of the disease were also evaluated in relation to the vitamin-factor levels. It is suggested that the reduced levels observed in LC patients are due to a number of factors including portal hypertension and lymphatic circulation impairment, and it is concluded that thorough screening and improved diet are beneficial in the follow-up of LC.
Carotenoids and liposoluble vitamins in liver cirrhosis / Rocchi, Emilio; A., Borghi; F., Paolillo; M., Pradelli; G., Casalgrandi. - In: JOURNAL OF LABORATORY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE. - ISSN 0022-2143. - 118:(1991), pp. 176-185.