Lycopene treatment improves intrahepatic fibrosis and attenuates pathological angiogenesis in biliary cirrhotic rats

Hui Chun Huang, Shao Jung Hsu, Ching Chih Chang, Yun Chieh Kao, Chiao Lin Chuang, Ming Chih Hou, Fa Yauh Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Liver cirrhosis is characterized by liver fibrosis and pathological angiogenesis, which results in hyperdynamic circulation, portal-systemic collateral vascular formation, and abnormal angiogenesis. Lycopene is a nutrient mostly found in tomatoes. The beneficial effects of lycopene include anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, anti-fibrosis, and anti-angiogenesis; however, the association between liver cirrhosis and pathological angiogenesis has yet to be studied. This study aimed to investigate the effects of lycopene on biliary cirrhotic rats. METHODS: The efficacy of lycopene treatment in common bile duct ligation (BDL)-induced biliary cirrhotic rats was evaluated. Sham-operated rats served as surgical controls. Lycopene (20 mg/kg/day, oral gavage) or vehicle was administered to BDL or sham-operated rats for 4 weeks, after which the hemodynamics, liver biochemistry, portal-systemic shunting, liver and mesenteric angiogenesis, and hepatic angiogenesis-related protein expressions were examined. RESULTS: Lycopene alleviated hyperdynamic circulation as evidenced by decreased cardiac index and increased peripheral vascular resistance (p < 0.05), but it did not affect portal pressure or liver biochemistry in the BDL rats (p > 0.05). Lycopene significantly diminished the shunting degree of portal-systemic collaterals (p = 0.04) and mesenteric vascular density (p = 0.01), and also ameliorated intrahepatic angiogenesis and liver fibrosis. In addition, lycopene upregulated endothelial nitric oxide synthase, protein kinase B (Akt) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3K), and downregulated vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) protein expressions (p < 0.05) in the livers of the BDL rats. CONCLUSION: Lycopene ameliorated liver fibrosis, hyperdynamic circulation, and pathological angiogenesis in biliary cirrhotic rats, possibly through the modulation of intrahepatic Akt/PI3K/eNOS and VEGFR-2 pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


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