Antioxidant Lycopene Protects the Lung Against Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF)

By Kyle J. Norton

Pulmonary diseases are a class of conditions associated with the lungs, including asthma, COPD, influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis, and lung cancer.

In other words, any diseases involved in breathing problems that reduce the function of the lung are pulmonary diseases. 

The lung formed part of the respiratory system with a function the primary organs of the respiratory system to absorb oxygen to the blood and shall carbon dioxide from the blood.

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a condition associated with the formation of scars in the lungs. Over time, overexpression of scar tissue can destroy lung and interfere with the lung to take oxygen to the blood.

According to the American Lung Association, the most common PF is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Approximately 50,000 new cases of IPF are diagnosed each year. 

Most common symptoms of PF are shortness of breath, dry, and hacking cough, fast, and shallow breathing, tiredness, aching joints, and muscles and clubbing of the tips of the fingers or toes.

If you have experienced some of the aforementioned symptoms that do not heal in a short time, please check with your doctor to rule out the possibility.

Most cases of IPF are found in patients between the ages of 50 and 70 years old, particularly in men.

Dr. Selman M, the lead scientist in the joint study led by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México wrote, “Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic, progressive, and usually fatal lung disorder of unknown etiology. The disease likely results from the interaction of genetic susceptibility architecture, environmental factors such as smoking, and an abnormal epigenetic reprogramming that leads to complex pathogenesis”.
And, “Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis occurs in middle-aged and mainly elderly adults, and in this context, age has emerged as its strongest risk factor. However, the mechanisms linking it to aging are uncertain”.

Lycopene is a phytochemical found in tomato in the class of carotenoid, a natural pigment with no vitamin A activity found abundantly in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, and papayas,

Tomatoes provide about 80% of the lycopene in the world diet. In plants, lycopene protects the host against excessive photodamage and perform various functions in photosynthesis.

On finding a potential compound for the treatment of lung disease researchers examined the effects of lycopene extracted from tomatoes on pulmonary fibrosis PF induced by bleomycin BLM in rats.

The study included 60 Sprague-Dawley rats randomly divided into 3 groups of 20 rats each for a normal control group (group C), BLM-treated group (group M), and lycopene + BLM-treated group (group L).

More precisely, group L received lycopene diluted with olive oil at a dose of 5 mg/kg body weight once a day after BLM instillation, and groups C and M received the same amounts of olive oil.

Based on the tested analysis, group L showed a significantly reduced lung coefficient (day 14, P < .01) as well as the extents of alveolitis (day 7 and 14, P < .05) and pulmonary fibrosis PF (day 14 and 28, P < .05) compared to control.

The concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress markers in the lung also a significant decrease in the lycopene treatment group compared to control.

Based on the findings, researchers said, “lycopene can partially reduce the extent of PF induced by BLM in rats. These findings suggest that the suppression of oxidative stress, the reduction of plasma TNF-alpha and NO levels, and the down-regulation of TNF-alpha in lungs contribute to the alleviation of PF in rats administered lycopene”.

Taken altogether, lycopene found in tomato may be considered supplements for the prevention and treatment of pulmonary fibrosis, pending on the confirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

Intake of lycopene in the form of supplement should be taken with extreme care to prevent overdose acute liver toxicity.
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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Lycopene from tomatoes partially alleviates the bleomycin-induced experimental pulmonary fibrosis in rats by Zhou C1, Han W, Zhang P, Cai M, Wei D, Zhang C. (PubMed)
(2) Aging and Pulmonary Fibrosis by Selman M1, Buendía-Roldán I1, Pardo A. (PubMed)