Rhinovirus infection results in increased release of inflammatory mediators from airway epithelial cells in asthma. As an antioxidant, lycopene offers protection from adverse effects of inflammation. The aim of this study was to find an appropriate method of lycopene enrichment of airway epithelial cells and to determine the effects of lycopene enrichment on the inflammatory response of cells infected by rhinovirus or exposed to lipopolysaccharide. Lycopene enrichment of airway epithelial cells using solubilisation in tetrahydrofuran versus incorporation in liposomes was compared. After determining that solubilisation of lycopene in tetrahydrofuran was the most suitable method of lycopene supplementation, airway epithelial cells (Calu-3) were incubated with lycopene (dissolved in tetrahydrofuran) for 24 h, followed by rhinovirus infection or lipopolysaccharide exposure for 48 h. The release of interleukin-6, interleukin-8 and interferon-gamma induced protein-10 (IP-10) and their messenger RNA levels were measured using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Viral replication was measured by tissue culture infective dose of 50% assay. Lycopene concentration of cells and media were analysed using high-performance liquid chromatography. Preincubation of airway epithelial cells with lycopene (dissolved in tetrahydrofuran) delivered lycopene into the cells and resulted in a 24% reduction in interleukin-6 after rhinovirus-1B infection, 31% reduction in IP-10 after rhinovirus-43 infection and 85% reduction in rhinovirus-1B replication. Lycopene also decreased the release of IL-6 and IP-10 following exposure to lipopolysaccharide. We conclude that lycopene has a potential role in suppressing rhinovirus induced airway inflammation.
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry Vol. 20, Issue 8, p. 577-585