Lycopene Modulates the Inflammatory Response Through It's Antioxidant Activity

By Kyle J. Norton

 The immune system formed part of the body’s defense plays a critical role in the protection of the body against infectious organisms.

The immune system executes the defense strategy through a series of the immune response by attacking foreign substances that invade body systems to cause disease.

Variety of factors have been found to trigger immune responses include pathogens, damaged cells, and toxic compounds. 

Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system which protects the body against the invasion of pathogens.

 In the acute phase of tissue damage or wound, the immune white blood cells of the first line of defense stimulate the production of blood palette to cover the wound or damage and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines to the site of infection against microbial invasion.

Most cases of microbial invasion are stopped in the acute phase of infection, and the damaged tissue is slowly healing itself. However, at this phase, overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines can lead nearby cell death and the formation of scars.

If the immune system fails to destroy all microbial invasion in the acute phase of infection within a set period in 3 to weeks, it will compromise, leading to chronic low-grade inflammation.

The continued production of low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines overtimes regardless of the causes can induce damage to organ tissues, and irreversible chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Ce-M-M) wrote, “Humans have evolved highly complex immune systems that are composed of specialized immune cells that protect the host from infection and damage. But an uncontrolled immune response such as chronic inflammation can itself inflict damage”. 

And,  “when the immune system is compromised by a genetic mutation, individuals become more susceptible to diseases such as autoimmune disease”.

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 prevention and treatment of disease associated with inflammation, researchers examined the anti-inflammatory activity of lycopene from guava (Psidium guajava L.).

The study included paw edema induced by Carrageenan, Dextran, Compound 48/80, Histamine and Prostaglandin E2 in Swiss mice treated by extract (LEG) and purified (LPG) lycopene.

According to the tested analysis, oral and intraperitoneal administration of LEG and LPG inhibited carrageenan-induced inflammation.

Furthermore, LPG (12.5mg/kg p.o.) showed significant inhibition of the edema formation induced by different phlogistic agents and immunomodulation of proteins and enzyme associated with the production of free radicals induced inflammation.

Leukocytes migration in paw tissue and the peritoneal cavity associated with inflammatory response was reduced. MPO concentration and GSH levels were also increased. by the application of LEG and LPG.

Based on the findings, researchers said, “lycopene-rich extract from red guava has a beneficial effect on acute inflammation, offering protection against the consequences of oxidative stress by downregulating inflammatory mediators and inhibiting gene expression involved in inflammation”.

Taken altogether, lycopene found in tomato may be considered a remedy for the prevention and treatment of acute inflammation, 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 and tomato powder supplementation similarly inhibit high-fat diet induced obesity, inflammatory response, and associated metabolic disorders by Fenni S1,2, Hammou H2, Astier J1, Bonnet L1, Karkeni E1, Couturier C1, Tourniaire F1, Landrier JF. (PubMed)
(2) Lycopene rich extract from red guava (Psidium guajava L.) displays anti-inflammatory and antioxidant profile by reducing suggestive hallmarks of acute inflammatory response in mice by Vasconcelos AG1, Amorim ADGN1, Dos Santos RC1, Souza JMT1, de Souza LKM2, Ara├║jo TSL2, Nicolau LAD3, de Lima Carvalho L3, de Aquino PEA4, da Silva Martins C5, Ropke CD6, Soares PMG3, Kuckelhaus SAS7, Medeiros JR2, Leite JRSA. (PubMed)
(3) Immune Disorders and Inflammatory Diseases by Ce-M-M