Testosterone and food restriction modulate hepatic lycopene isomer concentrations in male F344 rats

Thomas W.M. Boileau, Steven K. Clinton, Susan Zaripheh, Marcia H. Monaco, Sharon M. Donovan, John W. Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously demonstrated that the castration of male rats profoundly increases hepatic lycopene compared with intact controls. Here we further characterized the role of testosterone in modulating hepatic lycopene accumulation and isomer patterns in male rats. Furthermore, because castration significantly decreases ad libitum food consumption, we investigated the influence of food restriction on lycopene metabolism. Forty male F344 rats 8 wk of age were randomly assigned to one of four treatments (n = 10/group): 1) intact, free access to food, 2) castration, free access to food, 3) castration plus testosterone implants, free access to food and 4) intact, 20% food restricted. All rats were fed an AIN-based diet with 0.25 g lycopene (as 10% water-soluble beadlets)/kg diet for 3 wk. Serum testosterone was 5.31 ± 1.46 nmol/L in intact controls allowed free access to food, reduced in castrated animals (0.52 ± 0.10, P < 0.0001 versus controls) and intact, food-restricted rats (1.53 ± 0.49 nmol/L, P < 0.0001 versus controls) and greater (17.23 ± 3.09 nmol/L) in castrated rats administered testosterone (P < 0.0001 versus controls). Castrated rats accumulated approximately twice as much liver lycopene (74.5 ± 8.5 nmol/g; P < 0.01 versus controls) as intact rats allowed free access to food (39.5 ± 5.0) despite 13% lower dietary lycopene intake (P < 0.001; 3.38 ± 0.07 versus 3.95 ± 0.06 mg lycopene/d). Testosterone replacement in castrated rats returned liver lycopene concentrations (32.5 ± 5.5 nmol lycopene/g with 3.76 ± 0.05 mg dietary lycopene/d) to those observed in intact rats. Food restriction resulted in a 20% decrease in lycopene intake but significantly increased liver lycopene by 68% (66.3 ± 7.9 nmol lycopene/g with 3.38 ± 0.00 mg lycopene/d) compared with controls and castrated rats administered testosterone. These results suggest that androgen depletion and 20% food restriction increase hepatic lycopene accumulation. We hypothesize an endocrine and dietary interaction, where higher androgen concentrations and greater energy intake may stimulate lycopene metabolism and degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1746-1752
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Antioxidants
  • Lycopene
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rats
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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