Barrier protective effects of lycopene in human endothelial cells

Inflamm Res. 2011 Aug;60(8):751-8. doi: 10.1007/s00011-011-0330-9. Epub 2011 Apr 13.


Aim and objective: Lycopene has antioxidant and anticancer effects but its barrier protective effects and underlying mechanism are not fully identified. The potential barrier protective roles of lycopene in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were investigated.

Methods: We determined the barrier protective effects of lycopene, such as permeability, leukocyte adhesion and migration, and activation of proinflammatory proteins in LPS-activated HUVECs.

Results: Lycopene inhibited vascular barrier permeability, expression of cell adhesion molecules, leukocyte adhesion and transendothelial migration in LPS-activated HUVECs. Further studies revealed that lycopene suppressed the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), CD14 and Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that lycopene has barrier integrity activity, and inhibitory activity on cell adhesion and migration to endothelial cells by blocking the activation of NF-κB, CD14 and TLR4 expression and production of TNF-α, thereby endorsing its usefulness as therapy for vascular inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Capillary Permeability / drug effects*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Lycopene
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism
  • Transendothelial and Transepithelial Migration / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Umbilical Veins / cytology


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene