Oral administration of β-carotene or lycopene prevents atopic dermatitis-like dermatitis in HR-1 mice

J Dermatol. 2016 Oct;43(10):1188-1192. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.13350.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic relapsing eczematous skin disease. Certain populations of patients are resistant to standard therapies with topical steroids and/or calcineurin inhibitors, and require systemic medication, such as immunosuppressants. Recently, several reports have shed light on the anti-allergic effects of carotenoids. Therefore, we investigated the effect of p.o. administration of β-carotene or lycopene on AD-like symptoms of HR-1 hairless mice fed with a low zinc/magnesium diet. Mice were divided into four groups: (i) fed with a standard diet (Co group); (ii) low zinc/magnesium diet (HR group); (iii) low zinc/magnesium and β-carotene diet (HR-C group); and (iv) low zinc/magnesium and lycopene diet (HR-L group). They were then fed these diets for 8 weeks. Severities of dermatitis were assessed by their appearance, and histopathological and hematological observations. Mice in the HR group developed AD-like dermatitis both clinically and histologically. HR-C and HR-L group mice also developed xerosis and wrinkle-like skin changes, but they were milder than those of HR group mice. Histological analysis revealed that epidermis thickening and inflammatory cell infiltration in the skin of the HR-C and HR-L groups were both statistically less than those of the HR group. The concentration of thymus and activation regulated chemokine in the skin of the HR-L group and the concentration of CCL27 in the skin of the HR-C group were significantly lower than those of the HR group, respectively. In conclusion, p.o. administration of β-carotene or lycopene prevents AD-like symptoms in association with a suppression of T-helper 2 chemokines in a murine model. Ingestion of carotenoids may be beneficial for patients with AD.

Keywords: thymus and activation regulated chemokine; CCL27; atopic dermatitis; lycopene; β-carotene.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / therapeutic use*
  • Chemokine CCL27 / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / prevention & control*
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lycopene
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism
  • Zinc / deficiency
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Ccl27a protein, mouse
  • Chemokine CCL27
  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Lycopene