Depression-like behaviors and heme oxygenase-1 are regulated by Lycopene in lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation

J Neuroimmunol. 2016 Sep 15:298:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2016.06.001. Epub 2016 Jun 6.


Previous studies have demonstrated that lycopene possesses anti-inflammatory properties in the central nervous system. However, the potential role and the molecular mechanisms of lycopene in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenge inflammation and depression-like behaviors has not been clearly investigated. The present study aimed to assess the effects and the potential mechanisms of lycopene on LPS-induced depression-like behaviors. Lycopene was orally administered (60mg/kg) every day for seven days followed by intraperitoneal LPS injection (1mg/kg). The Forced swim test and tail suspension test were used to detect changes in the depression-like behaviors. ELISA was used to measure the expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α(TNF-α) in the plasma. Immunoblotting was performed to measure the expression of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in the hippocampus. The results showed that pretreatment with lycopene could ameliorate depression-like behaviors. Moreover, lycopene relieved neuronal cell injury in hippocampal CA1 regions. Furthermore, lycopene decreased LPS-induced expression of IL-1β and HO-1 in the hippocampus together with decreasing level of IL-6 and TNF-α in the plasma. Taken together, these results suggest that lycopene can attenuate LPS-induced inflammation and depression-like behaviors, which may be involved in regulating HO-1 in the hippocampus.

Keywords: Heme oxygenase-1; Hippocampus; Interleukin-1β; Lipopolysaccharide; Lycopene.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Carotenoids / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / blood
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Encephalitis / chemically induced
  • Encephalitis / complications*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity
  • Lycopene
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Carotenoids
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Lycopene