Lycopene is known to decrease cardiovascular risks. The objective of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms of tomato paste containing approximately 0.1% lycopene in regulating lipid metabolism and oxidation. Hamsters fed 3% or 9% tomato paste containing 0.2% cholesterol were subjected to total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglyceride (TG) measurements. Our results showed reduced rates of serum TC and LDL levels due to 9% tomato paste were 14.3% and 11.3% respectively. Concentrations of 3% and 9% of tomato paste after 8 weeks of feeding significantly increased serum HDL levels, by 19.4% and 28.8% respectively. After ingestion of tomato paste for 8 weeks, the plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels significantly decreased, by 80.18% and 89.33% respectively, as compared to the cholesterol group. MDA and diene conjugation assays indicated the potent antioxidant activity of the tomato paste. The increased activities of superoxide dismutases (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), further supported the antioxidant effects of the tomato paste. Two dimension-gel electrophoresis (2-DE) analysis revealed that carbonic anhydrase III (CAIII) and adenylate kinase 2 (AK2) may be two important regulators involved in the anti-lipid and antioxidant effects of tomato paste, opening new insight into the nutritional value of tomato in public health promotion.
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