Lycopene alleviates disc degeneration under oxidative stress through the Nrf2 signaling pathway.
Mol Cell Probes. 2020 Mar 6:101559. Epub 2020 Mar 6. PMID: 32151764
Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is a main cause of diseases such as discogenic low back pain, cervical and lumbar disc herniation, degenerative spinal stenosis, and lumbar spondylolisthesis. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), an important transcription factor, regulates antioxidant genes and induces cellular defense mechanisms against oxidative stress. In this study, the protective effect of plant antioxidant lycopene on nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) under oxidative stress was investigated. The results indicated that Nrf2 expression decreased in degenerated NPCs. We further found that lycopene was protective in NP tissue under oxidative stress and alleviated oxidative stress-induced apoptosis of degenerative human NPCs via Nrf2. The results also showed that lycopene reduced HO-induced decomposition of cartilage extracellular matrix in NPCs. In conclusion, our findings suggested that lycopene may alleviate disc degeneration under oxidative stress through the Nrf2 signaling pathway.