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J Nutr. 2006 Nov;136(11):2813-9.

Serum testosterone is reduced following short-term phytofluene, lycopene, or tomato powder consumption in F344 rats.

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Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Elevated serum androgens are associated with increased prostate cancer risk. Tomato consumption is also associated with reduced prostate cancer incidence, and the primary tomato carotenoid, lycopene, may modulate androgen activation in the prostate, yet little is known about other tomato carotenoids. To evaluate interrelations between phytofluene, lycopene, or tomato powder consumption and androgen status, 8-wk-old male F344 rats (fed a control AIN 93G diet) were castrated or sham-operated and subsequently provided with daily oral supplementation of phytofluene or lycopene ( approximately 0.7 mg/d) or fed a 10% tomato powder supplemented diet (AIN 93G) for 4 d. Sham-operated rats provided with either phytofluene, lycopene, or tomato powder had approximately 40-50% lower serum testosterone concentrations than the sham-operated, control-fed group. Tissue and serum phytofluene and lycopene concentrations were greater in castrated rats than in sham-operated rats, which may have been due in part to a decrease of hepatic CYP 3A1 mRNA expression and benzyloxyresorufin-O-dealkylase activity. Some changes in prostatic and testicular steroidogenic enzyme mRNA expression were found; in particular, prostate 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 4 mRNA expression in castrated rats fed lycopene or tomato powder was 1.7-fold that of the sham-operated, control-fed group. Modest changes in mRNA expression of steroidogenic enzymes with short-term carotenoid intake may alter the flux of androgen synthesis to less potent compounds. Overall, results illustrate that short-term intake of tomato carotenoids significantly alters androgen status, which may partially be a mechanism by which tomato intake reduces prostate cancer risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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