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November 2000


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Glucosol and Blood Sugar

Antiobesity activity of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves on female KK-Ay mice

Banaba in the Tagalog name, Lagerstroemia speciosa L., has been used as a folk medicine for a long time among diabetics in the Philippines. Extracts from banaba leaves have been reported to reduce diabetic symptoms in genetically diabetic mice (Type II, KK-Ay). In the present study, female mice of the same strain showing remarkable body weight gain were used to examine the antiobesity effect of dietary banaba extract. Five-week-old female KK-Ay mice were fed a control diet or test diet containing 5% of a hot-water extract from banaba leaves instead of cellulose for 12 wk. Neither group showed any changes in diet intake during the experimental period. Body weight gain and parametrial adipose tissue weight were lowered significantly in the banaba diet group. Blood glucose levels were not suppressed in the banaba diet group, but hemoglobin A1C was found to be suppressed at the end of the experiment. No effects on the serum lipids were observed, but the mice fed banaba extract showed a significant decrease, to 65% of the control level in total hepatic lipid contents. This decrease was due to a reduction in the accumulation of triglyceride. These results suggest that banaba had a beneficial effect on obese female KK-Ay mice.

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1999 Dec;45(6):791-5

Hypoglycemic effect of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves in genetically diabetic KK-AY mice

The hypoglycemic effects of Lagerstroemia speciosa L., known by the Tagalog name of banaba in the Phillipines, were studied using hereditary diabetic mice (Type II, KK-AY/Ta Jcl). The mice were fed a test diet containing 5% of the hot-water extract (HWE) from banaba leaves, 3% of the water eluent of the partial fraction unadsorbed onto HP-20 resin of HWE (HPWE), and 2% of the methanol eluent of the partial fraction adsorbed onto HP-20 resin of it (HPME) for a feeding period of 5 weeks. The elevation of blood plasma glucose level in non-insulin dependent diabetic mice fed the cellulose as control (CEL) diet were almost entirely suppressed by addition of either HWE or HPME in place of cellulose in the CEL diet. Water intakes were inclined to increase gradually in the group fed either CEL or HPWE, but lower in the mice fed either HWE or HPME than in the animals given either CEL or HPME. The level of serum insulin and the amount of urinary excreted glucose were also lowered in mice fed HWE. Plasma total cholesterol level was also lowered in mice fed the either HWE or HPME. It is suggested that HWE, especially HPME, obtained from banaba leaves have beneficial effects on control of the level of plasma glucose in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1996 Feb;60(2):204-8

Screening of plant constituents for effect on glucose transport activity in Ehrlich ascites tumour cells

The effect of plant extracts on D-glucose uptake by Ehrlich ascites tumour cells was examined. Among the 23 extracts of medicinal plants, five samples inhibited, and six samples activated, the uptake significantly. From one of the active plants, Lagerstroemia speciosa, two triterpenoids, colosolic acid and maslinic acid were isolated. Colosolic acid was shown to be a glucose transport activator. Since this compound was known to have hypoglycemic activity, our simple in vitro bioassay method can at least be used as a first screening for anti-diabetic activity.

Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1993 Dec;41(12):2129-31

Investigation of Hypoglycemic effects of Glucosol® in STZ-induced Diabetic Rats in Comparison with Oral Anti-Diabetic Agent

The hypoglycemic effects of Glucosol® on blood glucose increase were compared with 3 marketed oral anti-diabetic agents (REZULIN, BASEN and MINDIAB) by determining blood glucose levels Pre. And at 30 min, 1hr, 6 hr, and 24 hr, after singele oral administration in Steptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Statistically significant differences (p<0.05) were recognized compared to the pre-dose with regard to the change in blood glucose levels in Glucosol and all the control groups at one or more sampling points. In all the groups tested maximum inhibition was observed at 6 hr post-dose, that of Glucosol being 13.0% and those of the 3 oral anti-diabetic agents being 16.0 to 17.1%. All the substances including Glucosol showed hypoglycemic effects, with a little superiority of the marketed oral antidiabetic agents in Glucosol. Therefore, it can be concluded that Glucosol is expected to show a mild hypoglycemic effectthough the effect was modest compared to that of the 3 marketed oral anti-diabetic agents.

RABITON INSTITUTE INC., Japan. Study Term: Feb 8, 1999 to Mar 8, 1999


Nutrients Found in Fruits and Vegetables

Progress in cancer chemoprevention: development of diet-derived chemopreventive agents

Because of their safety and the fact that they are not perceived as "medicine," food-derived products are highly interesting for development as chemopreventive agents that may find widespread, long-term use in populations at normal risk. Numerous diet-derived agents are included among the >40 promising agents and agent combinations that are being evaluated clinically as chemopreventive agents for major cancer targets including breast, prostate, colon and lung. Examples include green and black tea polyphenols, soy isoflavones, Bowman-Birk soy protease inhibitor, curcumin, phenethyl isothiocyanate, sulforaphane, lycopene, indole-3-carbinol, perillyl alcohol, vitamin D, vitamin E, selenium and calcium. Many food-derived agents are extracts, containing multiple compounds or classes of compounds. For developing such agents, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has advocated codevelopment of a single or a few putative active compounds that are contained in the food-derived agent. The active compounds provide mechanistic and pharmacologic data that may be used to characterize the chemopreventive potential of the extract, and these compounds may find use as chemopreventives in higher risk subjects (patients with precancers or previous cancers). Other critical aspects to developing the food-derived products are careful analysis and definition of the extract to ensure reproducibility (e.g., growth conditions, chromatographic characteristics or composition), and basic science studies to confirm epidemiologic findings associating the food product with cancer prevention.

J Nutr 2000 Feb;130(2S Suppl):467S-471S

Sulforaphane, a naturally occurring isothiocyanate, induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in HT29 human colon cancer cells

Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate that is present naturally in widely consumed vegetables and has a particularly high concentration in broccoli. This compound has been shown to block the formation of tumors initiated by chemicals in the rat. Although sulforaphane has been proposed to modulate the metabolism of carcinogens, its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. We have previously demonstrated that sulforaphane inhibits the reinitiation of growth and decreases the cellular viability of quiescent human colon carcinoma cells (HT29). Moreover, the weak effect observed on differentiated CaCo2 cells suggests a specific anticancer activity for this compound. Here we investigated the effect of sulforaphane on the growth and viability of HT29 cells during their exponentially growing phase. We observed that sulforaphane induced a cell cycle arrest in a dose-dependent manner, followed by cell death. This sulforaphane-induced cell cycle arrest was correlated with an increased expression of cyclins A and B1. Moreover, we clearly demonstrated that sulforaphane induced cell death via an apoptotic process. Indeed, a large proportion of treated cells display the following: (a) translocation of phosphatidylserine from the inner layer to the outer layer of the plasma membrane; (b) typical chromatin condensation; and (c) ultrastructural modifications related to apoptotic cell death. We also showed that the expression of p53 was not changed in sulforaphane-treated cells. In contrast, whereas bcl-2 was not detected, we observed increased expression of the proapoptotic protein bax, the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytosol, and the proteolytic cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. In conclusion, our results strongly suggest that in addition to the activation of detoxifying enzymes, induction of apoptosis is also involved in the sulforaphane-associated chemoprevention of cancer.

Cancer Res 2000 Mar 1;60(5):1426-33

Induction of apoptosis by apigenin and related flavonoids through cytochrome c release and activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 in leukaemia HL-60 cells

The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of flavonoid-induced apoptosis in HL-60 leukaemic cells. Thus, the effect of structurally related flavonoids on cell viability, DNA fragmentation and caspase activity was assessed. Loss of membrane potential and reactive oxygen species generation were also monitored by flow cytometry. The structurally related flavonoids, such as apigenin, quercetin, myricetin, and kaempferol were able to induce apoptosis in human leukaemia HL-60 cells. Treatment with flavonoids (60 microM) caused a rapid induction of caspase-3 activity and stimulated proteolytic cleavage of poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Furthermore, these flavonoids induced loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, elevation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, release of mitochondrial cytochrome c into the cytosol, and subsequent induction of procaspase-9 processing. The potency of these flavonoids on these features of apoptosis were in the order of: apigenin > quercetin > myricetin > kaempferol in HL-60 cells treated with 60 microM flavonoids. These results suggest that flavonoid-induced apoptosis is stimulated by the release of cytochrome c to the cytosol, by procaspase-9 processing, and through a caspase-3-dependent mechanism. The induction of apoptosis by flavonoids may be attributed to their cancer chemopreventive activity. Furthermore, the potency of flavonoids for inducing apoptosis may be dependent on the numbers of hydroxyl groups in the 2-phenyl group and on the absence of the 3-hydroxyl group. This provides new information on the structure-activity relationship of flavonoids.

Eur J Cancer 1999 Oct;35(10):1517-25

Signal pathways involved in apigenin inhibition of growth and induction of apoptosis of human anaplastic thyroid cancer cells (ARO)

Recently we demonstrated that several flavonoids can inhibit the proliferation of certain human thyroid cancer cell lines. Among the flavonoids tested, apigenin and luteolin are the most effective inhibitors of these tumor cell lines. In the present study, we investigated the signal transduction mechanism associated with the growth inhibitory effect of apigenin, using a human anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cell line, ARO (UCLA RO-81-A-1). Using Western blot method, it was shown that the inhibitory effect of apigenin on ARO cell proliferation is associated with an inhibition of both EGFR tyrosine autophosphorylation and phosphorylation of its downstream effector mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase. Protein levels of these signaling molecules were not affected. The inhibitor of phosphorylation by apigenin occurred within 30 min and continued for 4 h. A dose-dependent inhibition was demonstrable ranging from 12.5 microM to 50 microM. The level of phosphorylated c-Myc, a nuclear substrate for MAPK, was depressed from 16-48 h after apigenin treatment, finally leading to a programmed cell death involving DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, treatment with apigenin resulted in the inhibition of both anchorage-dependent and anchorage-independent thyroid cancer cell growth. In summary, apigenin is a promising inhibitor of signal transduction pathways that regulate the growth (anchorage-dependent and independent) and survival of human anaplastic thyroid cancer cells. Apigenin may provide a new approach for the treatment of human anaplastic thyroid carcinoma for which no effective therapy is presently available.

Anticancer Res 1999 Sep-Oct;19(5B):4297-303

Effects of luteolin and quercetin, inhibitors of tyrosine kinase, on cell growth and metastasis-associated properties in A431 cells overexpressing epidermal growth factor receptor

1. Flavonoids display a wide range of pharmacological properties including anti-inflammatory. Anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-cancer effects. Here, we evaluated the effects of eight flavonoids on the tumour cell proliferation, cellular protein phosphorylation, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) secretion. 2. Of the flavonoids examined, luteolin (Lu) and quercetin (Qu) were the two most potent agents, and significantly inhibited A431 cell proliferation with IC50 values of 19 and 21 micronM, respectively. 3. The epidermal growth factor (EGF) (10 nM) promoted growth of A431 cells (+25+/-4.6%) and mediated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase activity and autophosphorylation of EGFR were inhibited by Lu and Qu. At concentration of 20 micronM, both Lu and Qu markedly decreased the levels of phosphorylation of A431 cellular proteins, including EGFR. 4. A431 cells treated with Lu or Qu exhibited protuberant cytoplasmic blebs and progressive shrinkage morphology. Lu and Qu also time-dependently induced the appearance of a ladder pattern of DNA fragmentation, and this effect was abolished by EGF treatment. 5. The addition of EGF only marginally diminished the inhibitory effect of luteolin and quercetin on the growth rate of A431 cells, treatment of cellular proteins with EGF and luteolin or quercetin greatly reduced protein phosphorylation, indicating Lu and Qu may act effectively to inhibit a wide range of protein kinases, including EGFR tyrosine kinase. 6. EGF increased the levels of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), while Lu and Qu appeared to suppress the secretion of these two MMPs in A431 cells. 7. Examination of the relationship between the chemical structure and inhibitory effects of eight flavonoids reveal that the double bond between C2 and C3 in ring C and the OH groups on C3' and C4' in ring B are critical for the biological activities. 8. This study demonstrates that the inhibitory effects of Lu and Qu, and the stimulatory effects of EGF, on tumour cell proliferation, cellular protein phosphorylation, and MMP secretion may be mediated at least partly through EGFR. This study supports the idea that Lu and Qu may have potential as anti-cancer and anti-metastasis agents.

Br J Pharmacol 1999 Nov;128(5):999-1010

Inhibition of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-induced mutagenicity and DNA methylation by ellagic acid

Ellagic acid, a naturally occurring plant phenol, inhibits the activity of the direct-acting mutagen N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MeNU) in Salmonella typhimurium TA100. Ellagic acid at 0.10, 0.25, 0.50, and 1.00 mM inhibited the mutagenicity of MeNU (0.40 mM) by 3%, 13%, 45%, and 60%, respectively. Ellagic acid (3 mM) also inhibited the mutagenic activity of N,N-dimethylnitrosamine (25-200 mM) in the presence of pyrazole-induced rat liver fraction S-9. The effect of ellagic acid on DNA methylation was studied by incubating 0, 0.72, 1.32, 2.64, and 6.60 mM ellagic acid with DNA (0.9 mM nucleotide) and [3H]MeNU (0.66 mM). HPLC analysis of DNA hydrolysates showed that ellagic acid caused a dose-dependent 36-84% decrease in O6-methylguanine but only a 20% decrease in the 7-methylguanine adduct. Under conditions where methylation at the O6 position of guanine in double-stranded DNA was inhibited 65% by ellagic acid, no significant inhibition of either O6- or 7-methylguanine formation was detected in single-stranded DNA. Affinity-binding studies revealed that [3H]ellagic acid binds equally to double-stranded or single-stranded DNA but that poly(dA X dT) binds 1.5 times as much ellagic acid as does poly(dG X dC). The binding of ellagic acid to DNA is dependent on the concentration of both ellagic acid and DNA. The specific inhibition of O6-methylguanine formation only in double-stranded DNA and the relatively low inhibition of 7-methylguanine formation rule out the possibility that ellagic acid prevents DNA alkylation by scavenging the electrophilic intermediate generated in the hydrolysis of MeNU. The results suggest that ellagic acid inhibition of MeNU-induced mutagenicity is due to specific inhibition of methylation at the O6 position of guanine through an ellagic acid-duplex DNA affinity-binding mechanism.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1986 Nov;83(21):8039-43

Polyphenols as cancer chemopreventive agents

This article summarizes available data on the chemopreventive efficacies of tea polyphenols, curcumin and ellagic acid in various model systems. Emphasis is placed upon the anticarcinogenic activity of these polyphenols and their proposed mechanism(s) of action. Tea is grown in about 30 countries and, next to water, is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Tea is manufactured as either green, black, or oolong; black tea represents approximately 80% of tea products. Epidemiological studies, though inconclusive, suggest a protective effect of tea consumption on human cancer. Experimental studies of the antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects of tea have been conducted principally with green tea polyphenols (GTPs). GTPs exhibit antimutagenic activity in vitro, and they inhibit carcinogen-induced skin, lung, forestomach, esophagus, duodenum and colon tumors in rodents. In addition, GTPs inhibit TPA-induced skin tumor promotion in mice. Although several GTPs possess anticarcinogenic activity, the most active is (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major constituent in the GTP fraction. Several mechanisms appear to be responsible for the tumor-inhibitory properties of GTPs, including enhancement of antioxidant (glutathione peroxidase, catalase and quinone reductase) and phase II (glutathione-S-transferase) enzyme activities; inhibition of chemically induced lipid peroxidation; inhibition of irradiation- and TPA-induced epidermal ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and cyclooxygenase activities; inhibition of protein kinase C and cellular proliferation; antiinflammatory activity; and enhancement of gap junction intercellular communication. Curcumin is the yellow coloring agent in the spice turmeric. It exhibits antimutagenic activity in the Ames Salmonella test and has anticarcinogenic activity, inhibiting chemically induced preneoplastic lesions in the breast and colon and neoplastic lesions in the skin, forestomach, duodenum and colon of rodents. In addition, curcumin inhibits TPA-induced skin tumor promotion in mice. The mechanisms for the anticarcinogenic effects of curcumin are similar to those of the GTPs. Curcumin enhances glutathione content and glutathione-S-transferase activity in liver; and it inhibits lipid peroxidation and arachidonic acid metabolism in mouse skin, protein kinase C activity in TPA-treated NIH 3T3 cells, chemically induced ODC and tyrosine protein kinase activities in rat colon, and 8-hydroxyguanosine formation in mouse fibroblasts. Ellagic acid is a polyphenol found abundantly in various fruits, nuts and vegetables. Ellagic acid is active in antimutagenesis assays, and has been shown to inhibit chemically induced cancer in the lung, liver, skin and esophagus of rodents, and TPA-induced tumor promotion in mouse skin.

J Cell Biochem Suppl 1995;22:169-80