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Lycopene as antitoxic agent.

In laboratory conditions, lycopene shows antitoxic properties against many toxins such as aflatoxin, cyclosporine and cadmium.

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring mycotoxins that are produced some Aspergillus molds. They are metabolized (activated) by the liver to a reactive intermediate: aflatoxin M1. Tang and co-workers tested the antitoxic effect of lycopene on rats treated with aflatoxin B1. They found that lycopene inhibited the metabolic activation of the mycotoxin and increased the activity of detoxifying enzymes. Treatment with lycopene significantly reduced the toxic effect of aflatoxin B1 and changed the metabolism and metabolic activation. Lycopene treatment significantly reduced the formation of aflatoxin-DNA adducts in liver and increased the urinary excretion of the phase 2 detoxification metabolites.

Lycopene has been shown to decrease the toxic affect of cadmium, such as reduction of body weight and lipid peroxidation. When lycopene was administered to rats together with cadmium the cadmium-induced lipid peroxidation was significantly suppressed and the loss of body weight was reversed to the control. Lycopene also reversed the changes caused by cadmium on the antioxidant enzyme activity [2]. Lycopene also protected rats against the toxicity of cyclosporine A [3][4]. The immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine is widely used with organ transplantations to reduce the activity of the patient's immune system and so the risk of organ rejection. However it has many toxic site effects such as kidney dysfunction. Administration of cyclosporine A to rats caused a marked renal failure as indicated by a significant increase in plasma levels of creatinine and urea. The administration of lycopene reduced these levels but also those of oxidative stress markers [3]. Lycopene administration to rats also reduced the testicular toxicity of cyclosporine A. A study of the Firat University (Turkey) showed this toxin caused several negative changes to the testicles such as decrease in seminal vesicles weight, epididymal sperm concentration, motility, glutathione, glutathione peroxidase and catalase [4]. Adminisatrion of lycopene ameliorated all these negative changes.

[1] Tang L, Guan H, Ding X, Wang JS. " Modulation of aflatoxin toxicity and biomarkers by lycopene in F344 rats." Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007 Feb 15;219(1):10-7.
[2] Rencuzogullari N, Erdogan S. " Oral administration of lycopene reverses cadmium-suppressed body weight loss and lipid peroxidation in rats." Biol Trace Elem Res. 2007 Aug;118(2):175-83.
[3] Atessahin A, Ceribasi AO, Yilmaz S. "Lycopene, a carotenoid, attenuates cyclosporine-induced renal dysfunction and oxidative stress in rats." Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2007 Jun;100(6):372-6.
[4] Türk G, Atessahin A, Sönmez M, Yüce A, Ceribasi AO. "Lycopene protects against cyclosporine A-induced testicular toxicity in rats." Theriogenology. 2007 Mar 1;67(4):778-85.

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