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Title: Lycopene phytocomplex, but not pure lycopene, is able to trigger apoptosis and improve the efficacy of photodynamic therapy in HL60 human leukemia cells.
Authors: Ettorre, A
Frosali, S
Andreassi, Marco 
Issue Date: 2010
Project: None 
We compared the ability of pure lycopene (Lyco) versus lycopene phytocomplex (LycoC) to induce apoptosis in vitro. We found that LycoC, but not Lyco, was able to trigger apoptosis in HL60 cells, as documented by subdiploid DNA content and phosphatidylserine exposure. LycoC-induced apoptosis was associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, suggesting that LycoC triggered apoptosis via a mitochondrial pathway. We also verified the redox state of cells by measuring glutathione (GSH) content, but only a small percentage of cells showed GSH depletion, suggesting that the loss of GSH may be a secondary consequence of ROS generation. Moreover, LycoC pretreatment effectively increased apoptosis induced by photodynamic therapy (PDT), a mode of cancer treatment using a photosensitizer and visible light. LycoC pretreatment was even more potent in improving PDT than pretreatment with ascorbic acid or alpha-tocopherol (or the two combined). Our results demonstrate that LycoC has a stronger cytotoxic effect than Lyco and is a better source of agents able to trigger apoptosis in HL60 cells and improve the efficacy of PDT in vitro
ISSN: 1535-3702
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