Potent antioxidative activity of lycopene: A potential role in scavenging hypochlorous acid

Subramaniam Pennathur, Dhiman Maitra, Jaeman Byun, Inga Sliskovic, Ibrahim Abdulhamid, Ghassan M. Saed, Michael P. Diamond, Husam M. Abu-Soud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, is a proven antioxidant that may lower the risk of certain disorders including heart disease and cancer. Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is an oxidant linked to tissue oxidation in cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory disorders through its ability to modify proteins, deoxyribonucleic acid, ribonucleic acid, and lipids. Here we show that lycopene can function as a potent scavenger of HOCl at a wide range of concentrations that span various pathophysiological and supplemental ranges. The oxidation of lycopene by HOCl was accompanied by a marked change in color, from red to colorless, of the lycopene solution, suggesting lycopene degradation. HPLC and LC-MS analysis showed that the exposure of lycopene to increasing concentrations of HOCl gave a range of metabolites resulting from oxidative cleavage of one or more C = C. The degree of degradation of lycopene (as assessed by the number and chain lengths of the various oxidative metabolites of lycopene) depends mainly on the ratio of HOCl to lycopene, suggesting that multiple molecules of HOCl are consumed per molecule of lycopene. Collectively, this work demonstrates a direct link between lycopene and HOCl scavenging and may assist in elucidating the mechanism of the protective function exerted by lycopene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Carotenoid oxidation
  • Free radicals
  • Hypochlorous acid
  • Lycopene
  • Myeloperoxidase


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