Lycopene plays a role in the prevention of diseases related to obesity

tomatoes-diseases related to obesity

Lycopene is a substance found in many fruits including tomatoes. It has anti-inflammatory properties. INRA researchers have recently shown that the anti-inflammatory effect exerted on the tissue fatty or adipose tissue. This property would reduce the inflammatory state associated with obesity and promoting type 2 diabetes.


Lycopene is a red carotenoid, it is found in various fruits (watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, guava, …) and especially in processed tomato with ketchup. It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory proved. Recently, studies have shown that food rations rich in lycopene were associated with a smaller waist circumference and body mass fat lower, suggesting that it has an impact on the metabolism of adipose tissue.

In addition to its role in lipid storage, adipose tissue secretes a large amount of proteins called adipokines (which include cytokines and chemokines), which participate in the general physiology of the organism. Obesity, characterized by a massive expansion of adipose tissue leads to low-level inflammation due mainly to increased production of these cytokines and chemokines. This inflammatory condition contributing to the development of insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory Effects

However, lycopene is stored mostly in the adipose tissue. Given these anti-inflammatory effects, the researchers hypothesized that it may reduce the production of cytokines and chemokines by adipose tissue, which may limit the occurrence of diseases associated with obesity. To test this hypothesis, researchers from INRA, Marseille cultivated explants (small pieces) in adipose tissue of mice fed a high-fat diet in the presence of lycopene. This incubation showed that lycopene can reduce the production of cytokines and chemokines produced by pro-inflammatory adipose tissue. Reaction to the presence of it in adipocytes and preadipocytes, both cell populations the majority of adipose tissue was evaluated. It is apparent that the two cell types respond to treatment by lycopene by a decrease in the expression of cytokines and chemokines. The same results were reproduced with cells from human adipose tissue in culture.

For the first time, researchers have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effect of lycopene on adipose tissue and adipocytes and preadipocytes in particular. These results may explain, at least in part, the beneficial effects of lycopene for health, in particular to limit the prevalence of obesity-related diseases such as insulin resistance is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease disease.


Ateronon is a unique bioavailable source of Lycopene.

This work was supported by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme (project Lycocard)