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Neurochem Res. 2016 Jun;41(6):1354-64. doi: 10.1007/s11064-016-1837-9. Epub 2016 Jan 27.

Lycopene Prevents Amyloid [Beta]-Induced Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress and Dysfunctions in Cultured Rat Cortical Neurons.

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Center for Diseases Prevention and Control of the Rocket Force of PLA, Beijing, 100094, People's Republic of China.
Affiliated Hospital of Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing, 100071, People's Republic of China.
Center for Diseases Prevention and Control of the Rocket Force of PLA, Beijing, 100094, People's Republic of China.
Center for Diseases Prevention and Control of the Air Force of PLA, Beijing, 100076, People's Republic of China.


Brains affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD) show a large spectrum of mitochondrial alterations at both morphological and genetic level. The causal link between β-amyloid (Aβ) and mitochondrial dysfunction has been established in cellular models of AD. We observed previously that lycopene, a member of the carotenoid family of phytochemicals, could counteract neuronal apoptosis and cell damage induced by Aβ and other neurotoxic substances, and that this neuroprotective action somehow involved the mitochondria. The present study aims to investigate the effects of lycopene on mitochondria in cultured rat cortical neurons exposed to Aβ. It was found that lycopene attenuated Aβ-induced oxidative stress, as evidenced by the decreased intracellular reactive oxygen species generation and mitochondria-derived superoxide production. Additionally, lycopene ameliorated Aβ-induced mitochondrial morphological alteration, opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pores and the consequent cytochrome c release. Lycopene also improved mitochondrial complex activities and restored ATP levels in Aβ-treated neuron. Furthermore, lycopene prevented mitochondrial DNA damages and improved the protein level of mitochondrial transcription factor A in mitochondria. Those results indicate that lycopene protects mitochondria against Aβ-induced damages, at least in part by inhibiting mitochondrial oxidative stress and improving mitochondrial function. These beneficial effects of lycopene may account for its protection against Aβ-induced neurotoxicity.


Alzheimer’s disease; Lycopene; Mitochondria; Neurons; β-Amyloid

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