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עמוד בית
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October 2009
N. Markovits, A. Ben Amotz and Y. Levy

Background: Fat tissue mediates the production of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative products, which are key steps in the development of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. Antioxidant-rich diets protect against chronic diseases, but antioxidants may interfere with pro-inflammatory signals.

Objectives: To investigate the effect of the potent tomato-derived antioxidant carotenoid, lycopene, on plasma antioxidants (carotenoids and vitamin E), inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha), and oxidation products (conjugated dienes).

Methods: Eight obese patients (body mass index 37.5 ± 2.5 kg/m2) were compared with a control group of eight lean, age and gender-matched subjects (BMI[1] 21.6 ±  0.6 kg/m2), before and after 4 weeks of lycopene supplementation (tomato-derived Lyc-O-Mato) (30 mg daily).

Results: Plasma carotenoids were significantly reduced in the obese compared to control subjects (0.54 ± 0.06 vs. 0.87 ± 0.08 mg/ml, P < 0.01). CRP[2] levels were significantly higher (6.5 vs. 1.1 mg/L, P = 0.04) in obese vs. controls, as were IL-6[3] and conjugated dienes (3.6 and 7.9-fold, respectively). CRP, IL-6 and conjugated dienes correlated with BMI, while IL-6 and conjugated dienes correlated inversely with carotenoids (P < 0.05). Following lycopene treatment, a significant elevation of plasma carotenoids (1.79 vs. 0.54 ug/ml) and specifically lycopene (1.15 vs 0.23 ug/ml) (P < 0.001) occurred in the treatment vs. placebo group, respectively. Markers of inflammation and oxidation products were not altered by lycopene.
Conclusions: Obese patients showed abnormally higher markers of inflammation and oxidation products and lower plasma carotenoids. The lack of reduction of pro-inflammatory markers could be attributed to the short period of the study and the small number of participants. More studies are needed on the protective qualities of natural antioxidant-rich diets against obesity-related co-morbidities.







[1]BMI = body mass index



[2] CRP = C-reactive protein



[3] IL = interleukin


February 2001
Joram Wardi, MD, Ram Reifen, MD, Hussein Aeed, PhD, Liliana Zadel, MD, Yona Avni, MD and Rafael Bruck, MD

Objective: To study whether retinolpalmitate, beta-car­otene or lycopene could prevent liver cirrhosis induced by thioacetamide in rats.

Methods: In the control group liver cirrhosis was induced in male Wistar rats by intraperitoneal injections of TAA 200 mg/ kg for 12 weeks. The three study groups received in addition to TM either beta-carotene, lycopene or retinolpalmitate by gavage through an orogastric tube. Histopathological analysis and determination of the hydroxyproline contents of the livers were performed at the end of the protocol.

Results: Rats treated with beta-carotene and TAA had lower histopathologic scores and reduced levels of hepatic hydroxyproline (P= 0.02) than those treated by TAA alone. A trend of decreased fibrosis was observed in the rats treated with lycopene and TAA although this lacked statistical significance.

Conclusions: Beta-carotene attenuated liver cirrhosis induced by TAA in rats. The mechanism may be related to effects on hepatic stellate cells or to scavenging of free radicals by beta-carotene. Retinolpalmitate and lycopen had no significant beneficial effect.

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