It is known that oxidative stress may cause neuronal injury and several experimental models showed that As2O3 exposure causes oxidative stress. Lycopene, a carotenoid, has been shown to have protective effect in neurological disease models due to antioxidant activity, but its effect on As2O3-induced neurotoxicity is not identified yet. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of lycopene on As2O3-induced neuronal damage and the related mechanisms. Cell viability was determined by the MTT assay. Lycopene was administrated with different concentrations (2, 4, 6 and 8 mu M) one hour before 2 mu M As2O3 exposure in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. The anti-oxidant effect of lycopene was determined by measuring superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant status (TAS) and total oxidant status (TOS). MTT results and LDH cytotoxicity analyses showed that pretreatment with 8 mu M lycopene significantly improved the toxicity due to As2O3 exposure in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Pretreatment with lycopene significantly increased the activities of anti-oxidative enzymes as well as total antioxidant status and decreased total oxidative status in As2O3 exposed cells. The results of this study indicate that lycopene may be a potent neuroprotective against oxidative stress and could be used to prevent neuronal injury or death in several neurological diseases.