5-ASA and lycopene decrease the oxidative stress and inflammation induced by iron in rats with colitis

Ram Reifen, Andreea Nissenkorn, Zippora Matas, Yoram Bujanover*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background. Supplementation of 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) and of iron are among the principal therapies in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Therapeutic iron, as well as heme iron from chronic mucosal bleeding, can increase iron-mediated oxidative stress in colitis. This study was designed to examine the influence of iron supplementation on histological expression and oxidative status relative to 5-ASA treatment and antioxidant treatment. Methods. Colitis was induced using the iodoacetamide rat model, and rats were divided into different dietary groups of 6 rats each: 1, normal chow diet (control); 2, diet supplemented with iron; 3, iron supplementation and lycopene; 4, iron and β-carotene; 5,5-ASA; 6,5-ASA and lycopene; 7,5-ASA and iron; 8, 5-ASA, iron, and lycopene. The animals were killed after 3 days and the weight of the ulcerated area recorded. Mucosal specimens were histologically evaluated. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) was measured to evaluate inflammatory status (U/g). Malondialdehyde (MDA) was measured in colonic tissue (μmol/g) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in erythrocytes to assess the degree of tissue oxidative stress. Results. Significantly more severe colitis, including necrosis, ulceration, and hemorrhage, was seen in colonic biopsies of rats with colitis when iron was supplemented. This pathology was attenuated when iron was given in combination with 5-ASA and/or lycopene. There was no significant benefit from adding β-carotene. Conclusions. Iron supplementation can amplify the inflammatory response and subsequent mucosal damage in a rat model of colitis. We suggest that the resultant oxidative stress generated by iron supplementation leads to the extension and propagation of crypt abscesses, either through direct membrane disruption by lipid peroxidation or through the generation of secondary toxic oxidants. Simultaneous treatment with 5-ASA and/or lycopene minimizes the potential hazard of iron. Therefore, we suggest giving iron supplementation with 5-ASA or lycopene or both.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)514-519
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • 5-ASA
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Iron
  • Lycopene
  • Oxidative stress


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