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Whey Protein

September 2013

Effect of whey protein isolate on intracellular glutathione and oxidant-induced cell death in human prostate epithelial cells.

Cysteine is the rate-limiting amino acid for synthesis of the ubiquitous antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Bovine whey proteins are rich in cystine, the disulfide form of the amino acid cysteine. The objective of this study was to determine whether enzymatically hydrolyzed whey protein isolate (WPI) could increase intracellular GSH concentrations and protect against oxidant-induced cell death in a human prostate epithelial cell line (designated RWPE-1). Treatment of RWPE-1 cells with hydrolyzed WPI (500 microg/ml) significantly increased intracellular GSH by 64%, compared with control cells receiving no hydrolyzed WPI (P<0.05). A similar increase in GSH was observed with N-acetylcysteine (500 microM), a cysteine-donating compound known to elevate intracellular GSH. In contrast, treatment with hydrolyzed sodium caseinate (500 microg/ml), a cystine-poor protein source, did not significantly elevate intracellular GSH. Hydrolyzed WPI (500 microg/ml) significantly protected RWPE-1 cells from oxidant-induced cell death, compared with controls receiving no WPI (P<0.05). The results of this study indicate that WPI can increase GSH synthesis and protect against oxidant-induced cell death in human prostate cells.

Toxicol In Vitro. 2003 Feb;17(1):27-33

Cancer cachexia and anabolic interventions: a case report.

BACKGROUND: Standard-of-care (SOC) cancer treatments are primarily aimed at reducing size and progression of a tumor. There is a need for successful supplemental anabolic therapies to combat cancer cachexia in addition to these SOC treatment modalities. Anabolic interventions, including testosterone and amino acid supplements, may be beneficial in reducing and/or reversing muscle wasting in these patient populations. METHODS: A 48-year-old Caucasian female with recurrent cervical cancer was scheduled to receive three 21-day cycles of cisplatin and topetecan chemotherapy. She qualified, consented, and enrolled into a blinded interventional pilot study where she received daily whey protein (10 g, three times per day with meals) and a weekly injection of testosterone enanthate (100 mg intramuscular) before and during the SOC chemotherapy treatment period. Body composition, serum inflammatory markers, mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown rates, physical function, fatigue, and quality of life were assessed before and after the intervention period. RESULTS: Body composition, as assessed by an increase in body weight and lean body mass and reduction in fat mass; physical function; fatigue; and quality of life each improved across the entire intervention period despite general increases in inflammatory markers and no improvements in muscle protein turnover towards the end of the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Concomitant treatment of oral amino acids and testosterone may be a viable therapeutic option for fighting cachexia and improving body composition and quality of life during chemotherapeutic treatment of recurrent cervical cancer. These positive outcomes may be attainable over time despite overall poor inflammatory status.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2012 Dec;3(4):253-63

Glycolytic inhibition as a strategy for developing calorie restriction mimetics.

Calorie restriction (CR) remains the most robust environmental intervention for altering aging processes and increasing healthspan and lifespan. Emerging from progress made in many nonhuman models, current research has expanded to formal, controlled human studies of CR. Since long-term CR requires a major commitment of will power and long-term negative consequences remain to be determined, the concept of a calorie restriction mimetic (CRM) has become a new area of investigation within gerontology. We have proposed that a CRM is a compound that mimics metabolic, hormonal, and physiological effects of CR, activates stress response pathways observed in CR and enhances stress protection, produces CR-like effects on longevity, reduces age-related disease, and maintains more youthful function, all without significantly reducing food intake. Over 12 years ago, we introduced the concept of glycolytic inhibition as a strategy for developing mimetics of CR. We have argued that inhibiting energy utilization as far upstream as possible might offer a broader range of CR-like effects as opposed to targeting a singular molecular target downstream. As the first candidate CRM, 2-deoxyglucose, a known anti-glycolytic, provided a remarkable phenotype of CR, but turned out to produce cardiotoxicity in rats. Since the introduction of 2DG as a candidate CRM, many different targets for development have now been proposed at more downstream sites, including insulin receptor sensitizers, sirtuin activators, and inhibitors of mTOR. This review discusses these various strategies to assess their current status and future potential for this emerging research field.

Exp Gerontol. 2011 Feb-Mar;46(2-3):148-54

Branched-chain amino acid supplementation promotes survival and supports cardiac and skeletal muscle mitochondrial
biogenesis in middle-aged mice.

Recent evidence points to a strong relationship between increased mitochondrial biogenesis and increased survival in eukaryotes. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have been shown to extend chronological life span in yeast. However, the role of these amino acids in mitochondrial biogenesis and longevity in mammals is unknown. Here, we show that a BCAA-enriched mixture (BCAAem) increased the average life span of mice. BCAAem supplementation increased mitochondrial biogenesis and sirtuin 1 expression in primary cardiac and skeletal myocytes and in cardiac and skeletal muscle, but not in adipose tissue and liver of middle-aged mice, and this was accompanied by enhanced physical endurance. Moreover, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) defense system genes were upregulated, and ROS production was reduced by BCAAem supplementation. All of the BCAAem-mediated effects were strongly attenuated in endothelial nitric oxide synthase null mutant mice. These data reveal an important antiaging role of BCAAs mediated by mitochondrial biogenesis in mammals.

Cell Metab. 2010 Oct 6;12(4):362-72

The hypoglycemic effect of fat and protein is not attenuated by insulin resistance.

BACKGROUND: The glucose-lowering effect of fat and protein is attenuated or absent in diabetic patients, which suggests that the same may occur in insulin-resistant subjects without diabetes. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to determine whether the postprandial metabolic responses elicited by fat and protein were influenced by the insulin sensitivity of the subjects and whether fat and protein modulate glucose responses through different mechanisms. DESIGN: Healthy nondiabetic subjects aged 18-45 y took 50 g oral glucose with 0-30-g doses of canola oil and whey protein on 11 separate mornings after fasting overnight. The subjects were classified into 3 fasting serum insulin (FSI) groups: FSI < 40 pmol/L (n = 9), 40 < or = FSI < 70 pmol/L (n = 8), and FSI > or = 70 pmol/L (n = 8). The relative glycemic response was expressed as the incremental area under the curve (AUC) after each test meal divided by the mean AUC of the glucose control in each subject. RESULTS: Protein significantly decreased glucose (P < 0.0001) and hepatic insulin extraction (P <0.0001) and increased insulin (P < 0.0001) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (P = 0.004); however, protein had no significant effect on C-peptide (P = 0.69) or on the insulin secretion rate (P = 0.13). No significant FSI x fat (P = 0.19) or FSI x protein (P = 0.08) interaction effects on glucose AUC were observed. In addition, the changes in relative glycemic response per gram of fat (r = -0.05, P = 0.82) or protein (r = -0.08, P = 0.70) were not related to FSI. CONCLUSIONS: The hypoglycemic effect of fat and protein was not blunted by insulin resistance. Protein increased insulin but had no effect on C-peptide or the insulin secretion rate, which suggests decreased hepatic insulin extraction or increased C-peptide clearance.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jan;91(1):98-105

Biochemical and metabolic mechanisms by which dietary whey protein may combat obesity and type II diabetes.

Consumption of milk and dairy products has been associated with reduced risk of metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease. Milk contains two primary sources of protein, casein (80%) and whey (20%). Recently, the beneficial physiological effects of whey protein on the control of food intake and glucose metabolism have been reported. Studies have shown an insulinotropic and glucose-lowering properties of whey protein in healthy and type II diabetes subjects. Whey protein seems to induce these effects via bioactive peptides and amino acids generated during its gastrointestinal digestion. These amino acids and peptides stimulate the release of several gut hormones, such as cholecystokinin, peptide YY and the incretins gastric inhibitory peptide and glucagon-like peptide 1 that potentiate insulin secretion from β-cells and are associated with regulation of food intake. The bioactive peptides generated from whey protein may also serve as endogenous inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) in the proximal gut, preventing incretin degradation. Indeed, recently, DPP-4 inhibitors were identified in whey protein hydrolysates. This review will focus on the emerging properties of whey protein and its potential clinical application for obesity and type II diabetes.

J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Jan;24(1):1-5

The bovine protein alpha-lactalbumin increases the plasma ratio of tryptophan to the other large neutral amino acids, and in vulnerable subjects raises brain serotonin activity, reduces cortisol concentration, and improves mood under stress.

BACKGROUND: Increased brain serotonin may improve the ability to cope with stress, whereas a decline in serotonin activity is involved in depressive mood. The uptake of the serotonin precursor, tryptophan, into the brain is dependent on nutrients that influence the cerebral availability of tryptophan via a change in the ratio of plasma tryptophan to the sum of the other large neutral amino acids (Trp-LNAA ratio). Therefore, a diet-induced increase in tryptophan availability may increase brain serotonin synthesis and improve coping and mood, particularly in stress-vulnerable subjects. OBJECTIVE: We tested whether alpha-lactalbumin, a whey protein with a high tryptophan content, may increase the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and reduce depressive mood and cortisol concentrations in stress-vulnerable subjects under acute stress. DESIGN: Twenty-nine highly stress-vulnerable subjects and 29 relatively stress-invulnerable subjects
participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Subjects were exposed to experimental stress after the intake of a diet enriched with either alpha-lactalbumin or sodium-caseinate. Diet-induced changes in the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and prolactin were measured. Changes in mood, pulse rate, skin conductance, and cortisol concentrations were assessed before and after the stressor. RESULTS: The plasma Trp-LNAA ratio was 48% higher after the alpha-lactalbumin diet than after the casein diet (P = 0.0001). In stress-vulnerable subjects this was accompanied by higher prolactin concentrations (P = 0.001), a decrease in cortisol (P = 0.036), and reduced depressive feelings (P = 0.007) under stress. CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of a dietary protein enriched in tryptophan increased the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and, in stress-vulnerable subjects, improved coping ability, probably through alterations in brain serotonin.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1536-44

Bovine lactoferrin ameliorates ferric nitrilotriacetate-induced renal oxidative damage in rats.

Milk provides a well-balanced source of amino acids and other ingredients. One of the functional ingredients in milk is lactoferrin (LF). LF presents a wide variety of bioactivities and functions as a radical scavenger in models using iron-ascorbate complexes and asbestos. Human clinical trials of oral LF administration for the prevention of colon polyps have been successful and demonstrated that dietary compounds exhibit direct interactions. However, antioxidative properties of LF in distant organs require further investigation. To study the antioxidant property of LF, we employed bovine lactoferrin (bLF) using the rat model of ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA)-induced renal tubular oxidative injury. We fed rats with bLF (0.05%, w/w) in basal chow for 4 weeks and sacrificed them after Fe-NTA treatment. After intraperitoneal administration of 9.0 mg iron/kg Fe-NTA for 4 and 24 h, bLF pretreatment suppressed elevation of serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels. In addition, we observed protective effects against renal oxidative tubular damage and maintenance of antioxidant enzyme activities in the bLF-pretreated group. We thus demonstrated the antioxidative effect of bLF against Fe-NTA-induced renal oxidative injury. These results suggest that LF intake is useful for the prevention of renal tubular oxidative damage mediated by iron.

J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2012 Sep;51(2):84-90

Bovine lactoferrin inhibits lung cancer growth through suppression of both inflammation and expression of vascular
endothelial growth factor.

Lung cancers are among the most common cancers in the world, and the search for effective and safe drugs for the chemoprevention and therapy of pulmonary cancer has become important. In this study, bovine lactoferrin (bLF) was used in both in vitro and in vivo approaches to investigate its activity against lung cancer. A human lung cancer cell line, A549, which expresses a high level of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) under hypoxia, was used as an in vitro system for bLF treatment. A strain of transgenic mice carrying the human VEGF-A165 (hVEGF-A165) gene, which induces pulmonary tumors, was used as an in vivo lung cancer therapy model. We found that bLF significantly decreased proliferation of A549 cells by decreasing the expression of VEGF protein in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, oral administration of bLF at 300 mg/kg of body weight 3 times a week for 1.5 mo to the transgenic mice overexpressing hVEGF-A165 significantly eliminated expression of hVEGF-A165 and suppressed the formation of tumors. Additionally, treatment with bLF significantly decreased the levels of proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α, and antiinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-10. Levels of IL-6, which is both a proinflammatory and an antiinflammatory cytokine, were also reduced. Treatment with bLF decreased levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-4, IL-6, and IL-10 cytokines, resulting in limited inflammation, which then restricted growth of the lung cancer. Our results revealed that bLF is an inhibitor of angiogenesis and blocks lung cell inflammation; as such, it has considerable potential for therapeutic use in the treatment of lung cancer.

J Dairy Sci. 2013 Apr;96(4):2095-106

Multifunctional roles of lactoferrin: a critical overview.

Lactoferrin (LF) is a member of the transferrin family that is expressed and secreted by glandular epithelial cells and is found in the secondary granules of neutrophils. Originally viewed as an iron-binding protein in milk, with bacteriostatic properties, it is becoming increasingly evident that LF is a multifunctional protein to which several physiological roles have been attributed. These include regulation of iron homeostasis, host defense against a broad range of microbial infections, anti-inflammatory activity, regulation of cellular growth and differentiation and protection against cancer development and metastasis. While iron binding is likely central to some of the biological roles of LF, other activities, including specific interactions with mammalian receptors and microbial components, also contribute to the pleoitropic functional nature of this protein. In this article, recent advances in the understanding of these functions at the cellular and molecular level are discussed.

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2005 Nov;62(22):2540-8