Caryocar brasiliense Camb. is a tree popularly known in Central Brazil as pequi. Its fruit contains carotenes, retinols, vitamin C, and polyphenols. These compounds possess antioxidant properties preventing excessive free radical formation and modulating the genotoxicity of physical and chemical agents in the body. However, at high concentrations these compounds can have recombinogenic and mutagenic effects, because they can act as pro-oxidants.
β-carotene (BC), pro-vitamin A, is an efficient antioxidant, effective in the neutralization of oxygen reactive species, which cause serious damage to DNA. Various studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of BC for chemoprevention of cancer and heart disease. Doxorubicin is a chemotherapeutic agent used for cancer treatment that generates free radicals. We examined the effects of BC (1, 2 and 4 mg/mL) on the genotoxicity of doxorubicin (0.125 mg/mL), using the wing spot test in Drosophila melanogaster (somatic mutation and recombination test).