Researchers at Juntendo University School of Medicine first compared the reaction of two mostly similar mouse strains to inhaled cigarette smoke. Since the lungs of one of the mouse strains "naturally" age very quickly, the researchers believed that exposure to inhaled cigarette smoke would induce emphysema in that strain much more quickly than in the other strain. And indeed, they found that after eight weeks of breathing 1.5% tobacco smoke through the nose for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, the test strain, called SAMP1, did develop emphysema, while the control strain, called SAMR1, did not.
50% tomato juice drink "completely prevented" smoke-induced emphysema
Then, using the same experimental method, but substituting a 50% tomato juice mixture for their regular water supply, the researchers again compared the effect of smoking on the mice. They found that "smoke-induced emphysema was completely prevented by concomitant ingestion of lycopene (a potent antioxidant) given as tomato juice" in SAMP1 mice. They added: "Smoke exposure increased apoptosis and active caspase-3 of airway and alveolar septal cells and reduced VEGF in lung tissues, but tomato juice ingestion significantly reduced apoptosis and increased tissue VEGF level."
The paper, "Tomato juice prevents senescence-accelerated mouse P1 strain from developing emphysema induced by chronic exposure to tobacco smoke," appears in the February issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society. Research was performed by Satoshi Kasagi, Kuniaki Seyama, Hiroaki Mori, Sanae Souma, Tadashi Sato, Taeko Akiyoshi and Yoshi
Contact: Mayer Resnick
American Physiological Society