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Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial

Authors

  • M. Rizwan,

    1. Dermatological Sciences, Epithelial Sciences Research Group, The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M6 8HD, U.K.
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  • I. Rodriguez-Blanco,

    1. Dermatological Sciences, Epithelial Sciences Research Group, The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M6 8HD, U.K.
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  • A. Harbottle,

    1. Genesis Genomics UK, Cels at Newcastle, The Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, U.K.
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  • M.A. Birch-Machin,

    1. Dermatological Sciences, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, U.K.
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  • R.E.B. Watson,

    1. Dermatological Sciences, Epithelial Sciences Research Group, The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M6 8HD, U.K.
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  • L.E. Rhodes

    1. Dermatological Sciences, Epithelial Sciences Research Group, The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M6 8HD, U.K.
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  • Funding sources
    We acknowledge the British Broadcasting Corporation for financial support. Aspects of this study appeared in the BBC2 series ‘The Truth about Food’.

  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

Lesley Rhodes.
E-mail: lesley.e.rhodes@manchester.ac.uk

Summary

Background  Previous epidemiological, animal and human data report that lycopene has a protective effect against ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced erythema.

Objectives  We examined whether tomato paste – rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant – can protect human skin against UVR-induced effects partially mediated by oxidative stress, i.e. erythema, matrix changes and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage.

Methods  In a randomized controlled study, 20 healthy women (median age 33 years, range 21–47; phototype I/II) ingested 55 g tomato paste (16 mg lycopene) in olive oil, or olive oil alone, daily for 12 weeks. Pre- and postsupplementation, UVR erythemal sensitivity was assessed visually as the minimal erythema dose (MED) and quantified with a reflectance instrument. Biopsies were taken from unexposed and UVR-exposed (3 × MED 24 h earlier) buttock skin pre- and postsupplementation, and analysed immunohistochemically for procollagen (pC) I, fibrillin-1 and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, and by quantitative polymerase chain reaction for mtDNA 3895-bp deletion.

Results  Mean ± SD erythemal D30 was significantly higher following tomato paste vs. control (baseline, 26·5 ± 7·5 mJ cm−2; control, 23 ± 6·6 mJ cm−2; tomato paste, 36·6 ± 14·7 mJ cm−2; = 0·03), while the MED was not significantly different between groups (baseline, 35·1 ± 9·9 mJ cm−2; control, 32·6 ± 9·6 mJ cm−2; tomato paste, 42·2 ± 11·3 mJ cm−2). Presupplementation, UVR induced an increase in MMP-1 (= 0·01) and a reduction in fibrillin-1 (= 0·03). Postsupplementation, UVR-induced MMP-1 was reduced in the tomato paste vs. control group (= 0·04), while the UVR-induced reduction in fibrillin-1 was similarly abrogated in both groups, and an increase in pCI deposition was seen following tomato paste (= 0·05). mtDNA 3895-bp deletion following 3 × MED UVR was significantly reduced postsupplementation with tomato paste (= 0·01).

Conclusions  Tomato paste containing lycopene provides protection against acute and potentially longer-term aspects of photodamage.

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