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Lycopene alleviates endoplasmic reticulum stress in steatohepatitis.


J Agric Food Chem. 2024 Mar 27. Epub 2024 Mar 27. PMID: 38544357

Abstract Title: 

Lycopene Alleviates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Steatohepatitis through Inhibition of the ASK1-JNK Signaling Pathway.


Lycopene has been proven to alleviate nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), but the precise mechanisms are inadequately elucidated. In this study, we found a previously unknown regulatory effect of lycopene on the apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) signaling pathway in both in vivo and in vitro models. Lycopene supplementation (3 and 6 mg/kg/day) exhibited a significant reduction in lipid accumulation, inflammation, and fibrosis of the liver in mice fed with a high-fat/high-cholesterol diet or a methionine-choline-deficient diet. RNA sequencing uncovered that the mitogen-activated protein kinases signaling pathway, which is closely associated with inflammation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, was significantly downregulated by lycopene. Furthermore, we found lycopene ameliorated ER swelling and decreased the expression levels of ER stress markers (i.e., immunoglobulin heavy chain binding protein, C/EBP homologous protein, and X-box binding protein 1s). Especially, the inositol-requiring enzyme 1αinvolved in the ASK1 phosphorylation was inhibited by lycopene, resulting in the decline of the subsequent c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling cascade. ASK1 inhibitor DQOP-1 eliminated the lycopene-induced inhibition of the ASK1-JNK pathway in oleic acid and palmitic acid-induced HepG2 cells. Molecular docking further indicated hydrophobic interactions between lycopene and ASK1. Collectively, our research indicates that lycopene can alleviate ER stress and attenuate inflammation cascades and lipid accumulation by inhibiting the ASK1-JNK pathway.

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