Lycopene, tomatoes, and coronary heart disease

Free Radic Res. 2005 Apr;39(4):449-55. doi: 10.1080/10715760500053685.


Tomato and its major antioxidant component lycopene have recently been focused as important antioxidant nutrients because of their ability to reduce reactive oxygen species and to provide health benefits. Most of the studies were undertaken to determine the usefulness of lycopene against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Epidemiological studies, however, yielded conflicting results. This study was undertaken to compare cardioprotective abilities of tomato juice and lycopene. Rats were gavaged either tomato juice or lycopene for 3 weeks. At the end of 3 weeks, isolated hearts were subjected to 30 min ischemia followed by 2 h of reperfusion. Both tomato juice and lycopene reduced the extent of lipid peroxidation; but only tomato juice, but not lycopene, improved post-ischemic ventricular function, and reduced myocardial infarct size and cardiomyocyte apoptosis. The results indicated for the first time that tomato juice, but not lycopene, possesses cardioprotective ability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Beverages*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Coronary Disease / pathology
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Hypertrophy / chemically induced
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lycopene
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / chemistry*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control


  • Antioxidants
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene