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Siberian scientists unlock secret to fullerenols’ antioxidant activity

December 15, 2017, 14:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Researchers have conducted a study of antioxidant activity of fullerenols, water-soluble derivatives of fullerene

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Researchers from the Siberian Federal University, Tomsk Polytechnic University, and several other institutions from the Siberian Branch of the RAS have conducted a study of antioxidant activity of fullerenols, water-soluble derivatives of fullerene. The article with the results has been published in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports.


Fullerenes are molecular compounds discovered in the 1980s. The molecules of fullerene represent convex bounded polyhedrons comprised of an even number of a three-coordinated carbon atoms, so each carbon atom is bound to three other atoms. The fullerene molecule can be depicted as a "soccer ball," the walls of which are composed of a carbon monolayer. The fullerenes have unique properties that make it possible to apply them to create materials that are stronger than a diamond, as well as new sources of nutrition and medicines. Additionally, it has been previously shown that fullerenes demonstrate antioxidant activity.

The Russian scientists revealed the mechanisms of antioxidant activity of water-soluble derivatives of fullerenes called fullerenols. The researchers found out that even ultra-diluted solutions of fullerenols have an antioxidant effect. They managed to establish that this action of fullerenol can be attributed to the phenomenon of hormesis, which is a stimulating impact of stress factors at their low intensity of impact. For instance, such a phenomenon takes place when a body is exposed to radiation.

The unique feature of fullerenols lies in the fact that it does not suppress the natural level of free radicals in the body and becomes active only when their concentration increases. Herewith, it causes no mutations in DNA implying that its safe for people. Hence, new confirmations about the possibility of using fullerenols as effective antioxidants have been collected.

The study’s authors note that one should undertake further research on the mechanisms of impact of fullerenols and its possible consequences on the human body.

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