Inflammatory mediators and cytokines play important roles in the pathogenesis of a vast number of human diseases; therefore much attention is focused on blunting their proinflammatory modes of action. The aims of the present research were to assess the effectiveness of combinations of carotenoids and phenolics, at concentrations that can be achieved in blood, to inhibit the release of inflammatory mediators from macrophages exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and to determine what the anti-inflammatory effect of the phytonutrient combinations was in an in vivo mouse model of peritonitis. Preincubation of mouse peritoneal macrophages with lycopene (1 μM) or Lyc-O-Mato (1 μM) and carnosic acid (2 μM), lutein (1 μM), and/or β-carotene (2 μM) 1h before addition of LPS for 24 h caused a synergistic inhibition of NO, prostaglandin E(2), and superoxide production derived from downregulation of iNOS, COX-2, and NADPH oxidase protein and mRNA expression and synergistic inhibition of TNFα secretion. We surmise that the anti-inflammatory action of the phytonutrient combinations used probably resides in their antioxidant properties, because they caused an immediate, efficient, and synergistic inhibition of LPS-induced internal superoxide production leading to a marked decrease in ERK and NF-κB activation. The anti-inflammatory effects of the selected phytonutrient combinations were also demonstrated in a mouse model of peritonitis: their supplementation in drinking water resulted in attenuation of neutrophil recruitment to the peritoneal cavity and in inhibition of inflammatory mediator production by peritoneal neutrophils and macrophages.
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