Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Lycopersicum esculentum

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Vaccine. 2001 Jul 20;19(30):4153-61.
Potentiation by a novel alkaloid glycoside adjuvant of a protective cytotoxic T cell immune response specific for a preerythrocytic malaria vaccine candidate antigen.
Heal KG, Sheikh NA, Hollingdale MR, Morrow WJ, Taylor-Robinson AW.
School of Biology, University of Leeds, Clarendon Way, LS2 9JT, Leeds, UK.

We have recently demonstrated that the novel glycoalkaloid tomatine, derived from leaves of the wild tomato Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium, can act as a powerful adjuvant for the elicitation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Here, we have extended our previous investigation with the model antigen ovalbumin to an established malaria infection system in mice and evaluated the cellular immune response to a major preerythrocytic stage malaria vaccine candidate antigen when administered with tomatine. The defined MHC H-2kd class I-binding 9-mer peptide (amino acids 252-260) from Plasmodium berghei circumsporozoite (CS) protein was prepared with tomatine to form a molecular aggregate formulation and this used to immunise BALB/c (H-2kd) mice. Antigen-specific IFN-gamma secretion and cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity in vitro were both significantly enhanced compared to responses detected from similarly stimulated splenocytes from naive and tomatine-saline-immunised control mice. Moreover, when challenged with P. berghei sporozoites, mice immunised with the CS 9-mer-tomatine preparation had a significantly delayed onset of erythrocytic infection compared to controls. The data presented validate the use of tomatine to potentiate a cellular immune response to antigenic stimulus by testing in an important biologically relevant system. Specifically, the processing of the P. berghei CS 9-mer as an exogenous antigen and its presentation via MHC class I molecules to CD8+ T cells led to an immune response that is an in vitro correlate of protection against preerythrocytic malaria. This was confirmed by the protective capacity of the 9-mer-tomatine combination upon in vivo immunisation. These findings merit further work to optimise the use of tomatine as an adjuvant in malaria vaccine development.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 May 30;1740(2):202-5. Epub 2005 Mar 13.
Role of lycopene and tomato products in prostate health.
Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen PE.
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor St. Chicago, IL 60612, USA.

Epidemiological evidence associating the decreased risk of prostate cancer with frequent consumption of tomato products inspired us to conduct a small intervention trial among patients diagnosed with prostate adenocarcinoma. Tomato sauce pasta was consumed daily for 3 weeks before their scheduled prostatectomy, and biomarkers of tomato intake, prostate cancer progression and oxidative DNA damage were followed in blood and the available prostate tissue. The whole food intervention was so well accepted by the subjects that the blood lycopene (the primary carotenoid in tomatoes responsible for their red color) doubled and the prostate lycopene concentration tripled during this short period. Oxidative DNA damage in leukocytes and prostate tissues was significantly diminished, the latter mainly in the tumor cell nuclei, possibly due to the antioxidant properties of lycopene. Quite surprising was the decrease in blood prostate-specific antigen, which was explained by the increase in apoptotic death of prostate cells, especially in carcinoma regions. Prostate cancer cell cultures (LNCaP) were also sensitive to lycopene in growth medium, which caused an increased apoptosis and arrested the cell cycle. A possible explanation of these promising results may reside in lycopene effects on the genes governing the androgen stimulation of prostate growth, cytokines and on the enzymes producing reactive oxygen species, all of which were recently discovered by nutrigenomic techniques. Other phytochemicals in tomato may act in synergy with lycopene to potentiate protective effects and to help in the maintenance of prostate health.

Eur J Cancer Prev. 2004 Aug;13(4):337-43.  
The role of antioxidants in the mediterranean diets: focus on cancer.
Visioli F, Grande S, Bogani P, Galli C.
University of Milan, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Via Balzaretti 9, 20133 Milan, Italy.

The incidence of certain cancers in the Mediterranean area is lower than in other areas of the world (e.g. in northern Europe and the USA). As nutrition and dietary factors comprise one of the three major factors for human carcinogenesis, the hypothesis was formulated that the dietary profile of the Mediterranean diet, rich in antioxidants, might exert preventive actions. Alas, the vast majority of experiments to prove this hypothesis have been obtained in vitro, and most of the necessary information on the absorption, distribution and metabolism of oligonutrients is currently lacking. Yet, even though the exact role of antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet is yet to be fully established, data from observational studies are strong enough to reinforce the notion that a diet low in saturated fat and alcohol and rich in plant food and whole grain, such as the traditional Mediterranean diet, is associated with lower risk of cancer and should be actively promoted.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2000 Jul;38(7):549-53.
 Lowering of plasma LDL cholesterol in hamsters by the tomato glycoalkaloid tomatine.
Friedman M, Fitch TE, Yokoyama WE.
Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Albany, CA 94710, USA.

Tomatoes contain the steroidal glycoalkaloid tomatine, which has been reported to form strong, insoluble complexes with cholesterol in vitro. To determine whether tomatine can reduce dietary cholesterol absorption and plasma levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, we fed hamsters a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet with 0.05-0.2% added tomatine in the diet. The tomatine diets induced lowering of serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) without changing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Compared to the control diets, four- to fivefold more labeled dietary cholesterol and coprostanol was excreted in the feces of the tomatine-fed hamsters. The amount of cholesterol excreted in the feces corresponded to the amount of tomatine in the diet. These observations suggest that due to the formation of an insoluble tomatine-cholesterol complex and its excretion in the feces, very little dietary tomatine is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood stream. They are also consistent with the reported low oral toxicity of tomatine compared to other glycoalkaloids.

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2003;43(1):1-18.
Tomatoes and cardiovascular health.
Willcox JK, Catignani GL, Lazarus S.
Dept. of Food Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7624, USA.

Diet is believed to play a complex role in the development of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the Western world. Tomatoes, the second most produced and consumed vegetable nationwide, are a rich source of lycopene, beta-carotene, folate, potassium, vitamin C, flavonoids, and vitamin E. The processing of tomatoes may significantly affect the bioavailability of these nutrients. Homogenization, heat treatment, and the incorporation of oil in processed tomato products leads to increased lycopene bioavailability, while some of the same processes cause significant loss of other nutrients. Nutrient content is also affected by variety and maturity. Many of these nutrients may function individually, or in concert, to protect lipoproteins and vascular cells from oxidation, the most widely accepted theory for the genesis of atherosclerosis. This hypothesis has been supported by in vitro, limited in vivo, and many epidemiological studies that associate reduced cardiovascular risk with consumption of antioxidant-rich foods. Other cardioprotective functions provided by the nutrients in tomatoes may include the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, homocysteine, platelet aggregation, and blood pressure. Because tomatoes include several nutrients associated with theoretical or proven effects and are widely consumed year round, they may be considered a valuable component of a cardioprotective diet.

Orv Hetil. 2005 Jul 31;146(31):1621-4.
[Lycopene--a natural antioxidant]
Banhegyi G.
Semmelweis Egyetem, Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Orvosi Vegytani, Molekularis Biologiai es Patobiokemiai Intezet, Budapest.

Lycopene is a carotenoid found predominantly in tomatoes and tomato products. In contrast to beta-carotene it is not a precursor of vitamin A in humans. Lycopene is not destroyed during food processing, moreover its bioavailability improves. Lycopene is the most powerful antioxidant amongst carotenoids. Beside the antioxidant effect it influences the expression of various proteins (enzymes of biotransformation, cyclin D1, connexins). According to epidemiologic studies tomato lycopene may reduce the risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Positive effects are also hypothesized in case of other diseases such as osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases and hypertension. Neither adverse effects upon lycopene supplementation nor lycopene toxicity have been reported. Therefore, several arguments support the consumption of natural lycopene, whilst there are no contraindications according to the present knowledge.

 J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Oct 9;50(21):5751-80.
Tomato glycoalkaloids: role in the plant and in the diet.
Friedman M.
Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA.

Tomatoes, a major food source for humans, accumulate a variety of secondary metabolites including phenolic compounds, phytoalexins, protease inhibitors, and glycoalkaloids. These metabolites protect against adverse effects of hosts of predators including fungi, bacteria, viruses, and insects. Because glycoalkaloids are reported to be involved in host-plant resistance, on the one hand, and to have a variety of pharmacological and nutritional properties in animals and humans, on the other, a need exists to develop a better understanding of the role of these compounds both in the plant and in the diet. To contribute to this effort, this integrated review presents data on the history, composition, and nutrition of tomatoes, with special focus on the assessment of the chemistry, analysis, composition, nutrition, microbiology, and pharmacology of the tomato glycoalkaloids comprising alpha-tomatine and dehydrotomatine; their content in different parts of the tomato plant, in processed tomato products, and in wild and transgenic tomatoes; their biosynthesis, inheritance, metabolism, and catabolism; plant-microbe relationships with fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, and worms; interactions with ergosterol and cholesterol; disruption of cell membranes; tomatine-induced tomatinases, pantothenate synthetase, steroid hydroxylases, and cytokines; and inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. Also covered are tomato-human pathogen relationships and tomatine-induced lowering of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides and enhancement of the immune system. Further research needs in each of these areas are suggested. The overlapping aspects are discussed in terms of general concepts for a better understanding of the impact of tomato glycoalkaloids in the plant in general and in food in particular. Such an understanding can lead to the creation of improved tomatoes and to improved practices on the farm and in the consumption of tomatoes.