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Lycopene found to inhibit pathway involved in Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric cancer


In this study, researchers at Yonsei University in South Korea evaluated the effects of lycopene on hyperproliferation induced by Helicobacter pylori infection. They reported their findings in an article published in the journal Nutrition Research.

  • H. pylori is known to colonize the human stomach and is linked to an increased risk of gastric diseases, including gastric cancer.
  • According to studies, H. pylori increases the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which activate Janus-activator kinase 1 (Jak1)/signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (Stat3) in gastric epithelial cells.
  • ROS also mediate hyperproliferation — a hallmark of carcinogenesis — by activating Wnt/B-catenin signaling in various cells.
  • The researchers hypothesized that lycopene, a potent antioxidant with anti-cancer properties, may be able to suppress hyperproliferation by inhibiting the ROS-mediated activation of Jak1/Stat3 and Wnt/B-catenin signaling, as well as the expression of B-catenin target genes.
  • To test their hypothesis, they measured the ROS levels and viability of H. pylori-infected gastric epithelial AGS cells before and after lycopene treatment. The Jak1/Stat3 inhibitor AG490 served as the control treatment.
  • They also measured the protein levels of the following:
    • Total and phosphorylated Jak1/Stat3
    • Wnt/B-catenin signaling molecules
    • Wnt-1
    • Lipoprotein-related protein 5
    • B-catenin target oncogenes (c-Myc and cyclin E)
  • The researchers found that lycopene, like AG490, reduced ROS levels and inhibited the activation of Jak1/Stat3, alterations in the levels of Wnt/B-catenin multiprotein complex molecules, the expression of c-Myc and cyclin E and the proliferation of H. pylori-infected gastric epithelial AGS cells.
  • Lycopene and AG490 also inhibited the increase in Wnt-1 and lipoprotein-related protein 5 expression caused by H. pylori infection.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that lycopene can be used to prevent H. pylori-associated gastric diseases, thanks to its inhibitory effects on gastric cell hyperproliferation.

Journal Reference:

Park B, Lim JW, Kim H. LYCOPENE TREATMENT INHIBITS ACTIVATION OF JAK1/STAT3 AND WNT/?-CATENIN SIGNALING AND ATTENUATES HYPERPROLIFERATION IN GASTRIC EPITHELIAL CELLS. Nutrition Research. October 2019;70:70-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.07.010

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