Scope: L. esculentum (tomato) contain compounds with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, able to synthesize metal chelating proteins. We examined the ability of fruit extract to protect against mercury (Hg), lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) accumulation in the liver.
Methods and results: Rats were fed on tomato mixed with rat chow (10% w/w), while Hg (10 ppm), Cd (200 ppm) and Pb (100 ppm) was given in drinking water. Tomato was administered together with the metals (group 2), a week after exposure (group 3) or a week before metal exposure (group 4) for a period of six weeks. The metal accumulations in the liver were determined using AAS. There was a significant (P<0.05) increase in protection by tomato to Cd and Hg accumulation but not to Pb (P<0.05) in weeks 2 and 4 for groups 2 and 3. The protective ability was significantly (P<0.05) increased for Pb in group 4, but was less comparable to Cd and Hg.
Conclusion: Tomato reduces uptake while enhancing the elimination of these metals in a time dependent manner. The highest hepatoprotective effect was to Cd followed by Hg and least to Pb. Its administration is beneficial in reducing heavy metal accumulation in the liver.
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