Host‐related factors explaining interindividual variability of carotenoid bioavailability and tissue concentrations in humans
Colonic absorption and distribution of lycopene, which inhibited rat colon carcinogenesis in our previous studies, were investigated in Sprague-Dawley rats. Three groups of six rats each with or without a single-barreled colostomy at the mid colon were given a single intragastric or intracolonic dose of 0.2 mL of corn oil containing 12 mg of lycopene. Twenty-four hours later, all rats were sacrificed and the blood and some tissues were collected. The contents of lycopene in the samples were assayed by HPLC. Lycopene was detected in an appreciable amount in the liver, but only in trace amount in the serum of all rats treated with an intracolonic dose of lycopene and in rats with an intragastric dose. After an intragastric lycopene treatment, lycopene was detected in the mucosa of the proximal colon and of the distal colon of the colostomized rats, whose distal colon had been excluded from the fecal stream. A large amount of lycopene was recovered in the feces. None was detected in any sample from the control rats treated with an intragastric or intracolonic dose of plain corn oil. The results suggest that lycopene is absorbed from the colon and also from the small intestine. It might be concluded that both ways of absorption contribute to a comparative amount of lycopene accumulation in the colon mucosa after ingestion of this carotenoid.