Lycopene reduces cholesterol absorption and prevents atherosclerosis.


J Agric Food Chem. 2021 Sep 8 ;69(35):10114-10120. Epub 2021 Aug 25. PMID: 34428895

Abstract Title: 

Lycopene Reduces Cholesterol Absorption and Prevents Atherosclerosis in ApoEMice by Downregulating HNF-1α and NPC1L1 Expression.


Our previous study showed that lycopene reduced the absorption of cholesterol in Caco-2 cells through inhibiting Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) expression. Herein, we aimed to explore whether lycopene supplementation can decrease cholesterol absorption in the intestine and prevent atherosclerosis progression in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed apolipoprotein E knockout (ApoE) mice. Male ApoEmice were fed a high-fat diet with or without lycopene for 19 weeks. Supplementation of lycopene markedly lowered serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. Additionally, serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels were increased after lycopene administration. Lycopene also downregulated the expression of NPC1L1 and hepatocyte nuclear factor-1α (HNF-1α) in the small intestine. Furthermore, the Oil Red O staining of the aorta and aortic sinus showed that lycopene supplementation remarkably reduced atherosclerotic lesions. These results indicated that lycopene inhibited intestinal cholesterol absorption and protected against HFD-inducedatherosclerosis through inhibiting HNF-1α and NPC1L1 expression. Lycopene exhibits a potential antiatherosclerotic effect through suppressing intestinal cholesterol absorption.

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