The effects of lycopene on alloxan induced diabetic optic neuropathy

Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2019 Mar;38(1):88-92. doi: 10.1080/15569527.2018.1530258. Epub 2018 Nov 23.


Aim: To determine the effects of lycopene treatment in prevention of diabetes associated inflammatory response and oxidative stress in an experimental model. With this aim we investigated the levels of oxidative stress markers including Malondialdehyde (MDA), and total oxidative status (TOS)together with inflammatory markers including nuclear factor- kappa B (NFKB) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and antioxidants including total glutathione (TGSH), total oxidative status (TOS) and total anti-oxidative status (TAS) levels on eye tissue.

Material and methods: Totally 18 albino Wistar male rats (250-280 grams) assigned into three groups, with six rats in each group as follows: healthy group (HG), control group (CG), and lycopene group (LG). The diabetes was induced with alloxan administration in rats of CG and LG. Lycopene (4 mg/kg) was administered to the rats in LG once a day for 3 months. At the end of this period, the animals were sacrificed and their eyes were enucleated for histopathological evaluations. From the tissues, MDA, GSH, TOS, TAS, TNF-α and NF-κB levels were analyzed.

Results: MDA, TOS, OSI, NFKB and TNF-α levels were significantly higher, while TGSH and TAS levels were significantly lower in CG compared with HG (p < 0.001). On the other hand in LG; MDA, TOS, OSI, NFKB and TNF-α levels were significantly lower, while TGSH and TAS levels were significantly higher compared with CG (p < 0.001). Regarding histopathological findings, although there was severe damage on optic nerve of rats in CG; there was only a slight damage in lycopene administered group.

Conclusion: For the first time in literature we determined that, lycopene was significantly effective in prevention of augmented inflammation and oxidative stress on eye tissue associated with diabetes, as well as the tissue damage on optic nerve. However, studies investigating the long-term clinical effects of lycopene on diabetic individuals are warranted.

Keywords: Lycopene; diabetes; optic nerve.

MeSH terms

  • Alloxan
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / pathology
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lycopene / pharmacology
  • Lycopene / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / metabolism
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / pathology
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / pathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Alloxan
  • Glutathione
  • Lycopene