Lycopene inhibits NF-κB activation and adhesion molecule expression through Nrf2-mediated heme oxygenase-1 in endothelial cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2017 Apr 20. Epub 2017 Apr 20. PMID: 28440398
The endothelial expression of cell adhesion molecules plays a leading role in atherosclerosis. Lycopene, a carotenoid with 11 conjugated double bonds, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. In the present study, we demonstrate a putative mechanism for the anti-inflammatory effects of lycopene. We demonstrate that lycopene inhibits the adhesion of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα)-stimulated monocytes to endothelial cells and suppresses the expression of intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) at the transcriptional level. Moreover, lycopene was found to exert its inhibitory effects by blocking the degradation of the inhibitory protein, IκBα, following 6 h of pre-treatment. In TNFα-stimulated endothelial cells, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity were abolished by up to 12 h of lycopene pre-treatment. We also found that lycopene increased the intracellular glutathione (GSH) level and glutamate-cysteine ligase expression. Subsequently, lycopene induced nuclear factor-erythroid 2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation, leading to the increased expression of downstream of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). The use of siRNA targeting HO-1 blocked the inhibitory effects of lycopene on IκB degradation and ICAM-1 expression. The inhibitory effectsof lycopene thus appear to be mediated through its induction of Nrf2-mediated HO-1 expression. Therefore, the findings of the present study indicate that lycopene suppresses the activation of TNFα-induced signaling pathways through the upregulation of Nrf2-mediated HO-1 expression.