The Effect of Tomatine on Gene Expression and Cell Monolayer Integrity in Caco-2

Mattia Arena, C.C.F.M. Govers, Concetta Lotti*, Luigi Ricciardi, H.J. Wichers, J.J. Mes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


More understanding of the risk-benefit effect of the glycoalkaloid tomatine is required to be able to estimate the role it might play in our diet. In this work, we focused on effects towards intestinal epithelial cells based on a Caco-2 model in order to analyze the influence on the cell monolayer integrity and on the expression levels of genes involved in cholesterol/sterol biosynthesis (LDLR), lipid metabolism (NR2F2), glucose and amino acid uptake (SGLT1, PAT1), cell cycle (PCNA, CDKN1A), apoptosis (CASP-3, BMF, KLF6), tight junctions (CLDN4, OCLN2) and cytokine-mediated signaling (IL-8, IL1β, TSLP, TNF-α). Furthermore, since the bioactivity of the compound might vary in the presence of a food matrix and following digestion, the influence of both pure tomatine and in vitro digested tomatine with and without tomato fruit matrix was studied. The obtained results suggested that concentrations <20 µg/mL of tomatine, either undigested or in vitro digested, do not compromise the viability of Caco-2 cells and stimulate cytokine expression. This effect of tomatine, in vitro digested tomatine or in vitro digested tomatine with tomato matrix differs slightly, probably due to variations of bioactivity or bioavailability of the tomatine. The results lead to the hypothesis that tomatine acts as hormetic compound that can induce beneficial or risk toxic effects whether used in low or high dose.
Original languageEnglish
Article number644
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2018

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