An experimental study on the use of lycopene to prevent infertility due to acute oxidative ovarian damage caused by a single high dose of methotrexate

Adv Clin Exp Med. 2020 Jan;29(1):5-11. doi: 10.17219/acem/111809.


Background: Methotrexate (MTX) is an antineoplastic agent, which increases the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and decreases the level of antioxidants. Lycopene, is a potent antioxidant, which is used because of its protective effect against tissue damage.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of lycopene on ovarian MTX-induced injury in rats.

Material and methods: Rats (n = 36) were randomly divided into 3 equal groups: a group with MTX only (MG, n = 12), a group with lycopene and MTX (LMG, n = 12), and a healthy control group (HCG, n = 12). Then, malondialdehyde (MDA), myeloperoxidase (MPO) and total glutathione (tGSH) levels and histopathological findings were examined in the ovaries of rats. Apart from the histopathological and biochemical evaluation, the reproductive performance of the experimental groups was also examined.

Results: Our study demonstrated that, in ovarian tissues of rats administered MTX, there was a decrease in the levels of tGSH, while MDA and MPO were increased, but it is observed that these ratios are reversed in the LMG (p < 0.05). It also has been proven that a single, high-dose use of MTX causes infertility in female rats, prolongs the gestation period and reduces the number of offspring.

Conclusions: Lycopene pretreatment ameliorates the MTX induced ovarian injury and infertility in rats through its antioxidative activities.

Keywords: infertility; lycopene; methotrexate; oxidative stress; rat.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic* / adverse effects
  • Antioxidants* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Glutathione
  • Infertility, Female* / chemically induced
  • Infertility, Female* / prevention & control
  • Lycopene* / therapeutic use
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Methotrexate* / adverse effects
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Antioxidants
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Glutathione
  • Lycopene
  • Methotrexate