British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Nutritional Endocrinology

Lycopene supplementation modulates plasma concentrations and epididymal adipose tissue mRNA of leptin, resistin and IL-6 in diet-induced obese rats

Renata de Azevedo Melo Luvizottoa1a2 c1, Andre F. Nascimentoa1a2, Erika Imaizumia1, Damiana T. Pierinea2a3, Sandro J. Condea1, Camila R. Correaa3, Kyung-Jin Yeuma2a4 and Ana Lucia A. Ferreiraa1

a1 Internal Medicine Laboratory, Department of Internal Medicine, Botucatu Medical School, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Distrito Rubiao Jr. s/n, 18618-970 Botucatu, SP, Brazil

a2 Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA

a3 Department of Pathology, Botucatu Medical School, São Paulo State University (UNESP), 18618-970 Botucatu, SP, Brazil

a4 College of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Konkuk University, South Korea


Obesity is characterised by chronic low-grade inflammation, and lycopene has been reported to display anti-inflammatory effects. However, it is not clear whether lycopene supplementation modulates adipokine levels in vivo in obesity. To determine whether lycopene supplementation can regulate adipokine expression in obesity, male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to receive a control diet (C, n 6) or a hyperenergetic diet (DIO, n 12) for 6 weeks. After this period, the DIO animals were randomised into two groups: DIO (n 6) and DIO supplemented with lycopene (DIO+L, n 6). The animals received maize oil (C and DIO) or lycopene (DIO+L, 10 mg/kg body weight (BW) per d) by oral administration for a 6-week period. The animals were then killed by decapitation, and blood samples and epididymal adipose tissue were collected for hormonal determination and gene expression evaluation (IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), TNF-α, leptin and resistin). There was no detectable lycopene in the plasma of the C and DIO groups. However, the mean lycopene plasma concentration was 24 nmol in the DIO+L group. Although lycopene supplementation did not affect BW or adiposity, it significantly decreased leptin, resistin and IL-6 gene expression in epididymal adipose tissue and plasma concentrations. Also, it significantly reduced the gene expression of MCP-1 in epididymal adipose tissue. Lycopene affects adipokines by reducing leptin, resistin and plasma IL-6 levels. These data suggest that lycopene may be an effective strategy in reducing inflammation in obesity.

(Received December 05 2012)

(Revised March 19 2013)

(Accepted March 20 2013)

(Online publication May 01 2013)

Key Words:

  • Lycopene;
  • Obesity;
  • Adipokines


c1 Corresponding author: R. A. M. Luvizotto, fax +55 14 3811 6224, email


  Abbreviations: BW, body weight; C, control; DIO, animals subjected to diet-induced obesity; DIO+L, DIO supplemented with lycopene for 6 weeks; MCP-1, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1