Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Nov 2000

Glucosol and Blood Sugar, Fruits and Vegetables, Heterocyclic Amines, more

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.


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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



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Heterocyclic Amines

Cancer chemopreventive mechanisms of tea against heterocyclic amine mutagens from cooked meat

Cooking meat and fish under normal conditions produces heterocyclic amine mutagens, several of which have been shown to induce colon tumors in experimental animals. In our search for natural dietary components that might protect against these mutagens, it was found that green tea and black tea inhibit the formation of heterocyclic amine-induced colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in the rat. Since ACF are considered to be putative preneoplastic lesions, we examined the inhibitory mechanisms of tea against the heterocyclic amines. In the initial studies using the Salmonella mutagenicity assay, green tea and black tea inhibited according to the concentration of tea leaves during brewing and the time of brewing; a 2-3-min brew of 5% green tea (w/v) was sufficient for >90% antimutagenic activity. N-hydroxylated heterocyclic amines, which are direct-acting mutagens in Salmonella, were inhibited by complete tea beverage and by individual components of tea, such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Inhibition did not involve enhanced mutagen degradation, and EGCG and other catechins complexed only weakly with the mutagens, suggesting electrophile scavenging as an alternative mechanism. Enzymes that contribute to the metabolic activation of heterocyclic amines, namely microsomal NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase and N, O-acetyltransferase, were inhibited by tea in vitro. Studies in vivo established that tea also induces cytochromes P450 and Phase II enzymes in a manner consistent with the rapid metabolism and excretion of heterocyclic amines. Collectively, the results indicate that tea possesses anticarcinogenic activity in the colon, and this most likely involves multiple inhibitory mechanisms.

Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1999 pr;220(4):239-43

Antimutagenicity of flavones and flavonols to heterocyclic amines by specific and strong inhibition of the cytochrome P450 1A family

We found the mechanism in flavonoids that can strongly suppress the mutagenicity of one of the food-derived and carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, 3-amino-1-methyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole (Trp-P-2). The antimutagenicity was evaluated by IC50 value, the amount required for 50% inhibition of the mutagenicity of 0.1 nmol Trp-P-2, with Salmonella typhimurium TA98 strain in the presence of S9 mix. The flavones and flavonols were two orders stronger as antimutagens that such antimutagenic phytochemicals as chlorophylls and catechins. We had previously found flavonoids to be a desmutagen to neutralize Trp-P-2 before or during attack of DNA, because they had no effect on either the ultimate mutagenic form of Trp-P-2 (N-hydroxy-Trp-P-2) or the mutated cells. The desmutagenicity of the flavonoids did not depend on the hydroxy number or position that should be associated with antioxidative potency, and was also unaffected by the solubility of Trp-P-2 in the assay solution. The inhibitory effect of the flavonoids on the metabolic activation of Trp-P-2 to N-hydroxy-Trp-P-2 was almost in parallel with the antimutagenic IC50 value, when determined with a Saccharomyces cerevisiae AH22 cell simultaneously expressing both rat cytochrome P450 1A1 and yeast reductase. The Ki values of flavones and flavonols for the enzyme were less than 1 microM, while the K(m) value of Trp-P-2 was 25 microM. The antimutagenicity of the flavones and flavonols was thus concluded to be due to inhibition of the activation process of Trp-P-2 by P450 1A1 to the ultimate carcinogenic form. They were also able to act as antimutagens toward other indirect mutagens that were activated by P450 1A1.

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1998 May;62(5):970-7

Effects of marinating on heterocyclic amine carcinogen formation in grilled chicken

This study compared heterocyclic aromatic amines in marinated and unmarinated chicken breast meat flame-broiled on a propane grill. Chicken was marinated prior to grilling and the levels of several heterocyclic amines formed during cooking were determined by solid-phase extraction and HPLC. Compared with unmarinated controls, a 92-99% decrease in 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) was observed in whole chicken breast marinated with a mixture of brown sugar, olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice and salt, then grilled for 10, 20, 30 or 40 min. Conversely, 2-amino-3, 8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx) increased over 10-fold with marinating, but only at the 30 and 40 min cooking times. Marinating reduced the total detectable heterocyclic amines from 56 to 1.7 ng/g, from 158 to 10 ng/g and from 330 to 44 ng/g for grilling times of 20, 30 and 40 min, respectively. The mutagenic activity of the sample extracts was also measured, using the Ames/Salmonella assay. Mutagenic activity was lower in marinated samples cooked for 10, 20 and 30 min, but higher in the marinated samples cooked for 40 min, compared with unmarinated controls. Although a change in free amino acids, which are heterocyclic amine precursors, might explain the decrease in PhIP and increase in MeIQx, no such change was detected. Marinating chicken in one ingredient at a time showed that sugar was involved in the increased MeIQx, but the reason for the decrease in PhIP was unclear. PhIP decreased in grilled chicken after marinating with several individual ingredients. This work shows that marinating is one method that can significantly reduce PhIP concentration in grilled chicken.

Food Chem Toxicol 1997 May;35(5):433-41

Well-done meat intake and the risk of breast cancer

BACKGROUND: Heterocyclic amines, mutagens formed in meats cooked at high temperatures, have been demonstrated as mammary carcinogens in animals. We conducted a nested, case-control study among 41836 cohort members of the Iowa Women's Health Study to evaluate the potential role of heterocyclic amines and intake of well-done meat in the risk for human breast cancer. METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed to individuals in the cohort who had breast cancer diagnosed during the period from 1992 through 1994 and a random sample of cancer-free cohort members to obtain information on usual intake of meats and on meat preparation practices. Color photographs showing various doneness levels of hamburger, beefsteak, and bacon were included. Multivariate analysis was performed on data from 273 case subjects and 657 control subjects who completed the survey. RESULTS: A dose-response relationship was found between doneness levels of meat consumed and breast cancer risk. The adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for very well-done meat versus rare or medium-done meat were 1.54 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.96-2.47) for hamburger, 2.21 (95% CI=1.30-3.77) for beef steak, and 1.64 (95% CI=0.92-2.93) for bacon. Women who consumed these three meats consistently very well done had a 4.62 times higher risk (95% CI=1.36-15.70) than that of women who consumed the meats rare or medium done. Risk of breast cancer was also elevated with increasing intake of well-done to very well-done meat. CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of well-done meats and, thus, exposures to heterocyclic amines (or other compounds) formed during high-temperature cooking may play an important role in the risk of breast cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 1998 Nov 18;90(22):1724-9


Ibuprofen suppresses plaque pathology and inflammation in a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease

The brain in Alzheimer's disease (AD) shows a chronic inflammatory response characterized by activated glial cells and increased expression of cytokines and complement factors surrounding amyloid deposits. Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated a reduced risk for AD in patients using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prompting further inquiries about how NSAIDs might influence the development of AD pathology and inflammation in the CNS. We tested the impact of chronic orally administered ibuprofen, the most commonly used NSAID, in a transgenic model of AD displaying widespread microglial activation, age-related amyloid deposits, and dystrophic neurites. These mice were created by overexpressing a variant of the amyloid precursor protein found in familial AD. Transgene-positive (Tg+) and negative (Tg-) mice began receiving chow containing 375 ppm ibuprofen at 10 months of age, when amyloid plaques first appear, and were fed continuously for 6 months. This treatment produced significant reductions in final interleukin-1beta and glial fibrillary acidic protein levels, as well as a significant diminution in the ultimate number and total area of beta-amyloid deposits. Reductions in amyloid deposition were supported by ELISA measurements showing significantly decreased SDS-insoluble Abeta. Ibuprofen also decreased the numbers of ubiquitin-labeled dystrophic neurites and the percentage area per plaque of anti-phosphotyrosine-labeled microglia. Thus, the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen, which has been associated with reduced AD risk in human epidemiological studies, can significantly delay some forms of AD pathology, including amyloid deposition, when administered early in the disease course of a transgenic mouse model of AD.

J Neurosci 2000 Aug 1;20(15):5709-14

Differential effects of inhibitors of cyclooxygenase (cyclooxygenase 1 and cyclooxygenase 2) in acute inflammation

The anti-inflammatory activity of drugs more selective for cyclooxgenase isoform inhibition (cyclooxygenase 1, cyclooxygenase 2), were compared in rat carrageenin-induced pleurisy. Suppression of inflammation by cyclooxygenase 2-selective inhibitors, NS-398 (N-[-2-cyclohexyloxy]-4-nitrophenyl methanesulphonamide) and nimesulide (4-nitro-2-phenoxy-methanesulfonanilide), and by piroxicam and aspirin, more selective for cyclooxygenase 1, was measured. Piroxicam and aspirin significantly inhibited inflammatory cell influx, exudate and prostaglandin E2 formation, 6 h after carrageenin injection. Cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors had little effect on these parameters with NS-398 alone reducing prostaglandin E2 levels, but increasing levels of leukotriene B4. In contrast, at 3 h after carrageenin injection, cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors significantly inhibited all inflammatory parameters however suppression with piroxicam and aspirin was greater, and more pronounced than at 6 h. NS-398 and nimesulide dosing did not reduce thromboxane B2 production from platelets isolated from rats with carrageenin-induced pleurisy, demonstrating that at the doses used, cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors did not inhibit cyclooxygenase 1, as platelets contain only this isoform. Therefore, in the rat carrageenin-induced pleurisy, drugs more selective for the inhibition of cyclooxygenase 1 attenuate inflammation over a wider time frame than cyclooxygenase 2-selective drugs, suggesting a significant role for cyclooxygenase 1 in this model. Inhibition of cyclooxygenase 2 by NS-398 however, resulted in an increase in the potent chemoattractant leukotriene B4.

Eur J Pharmacol 1998 Aug 21;355(2-3):211-7

Inhibition of Alzheimer's beta-amyloid induced vasoactivity and proinflammatory response in microglia by a cGMP-dependent mechanism

Beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides are the major protein components of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains. Vascular damage and reactive gliosis are found colocalized with amyloid deposits in AD brains, suggesting that the vasculature may be a clinically significant site of AD pathology. Our results show that freshly solubilized Abeta1-40 enhances the vasoconstriction induced by endothelin-1 (ET-1) and increases resistance to relaxation triggered by nitric oxide (NO), suggesting that Abeta may oppose the NO/cGMP pathway. Using specific inhibitors and activators of the NO/cGMP pathway, we show that Abeta vasoactivity is not due to a modulation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) or soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC). However, we find that a selective cGMP phosphodiesterase (cGMP-PDE) inhibitor (dipyridamole) is able to interactively block the enhanced vasoconstriction as well as the opposition to relaxation induced by Abeta, suggesting that Abeta could effect the activity of this enzyme. Cyclic GMP levels, but not cAMP concentrations, are reduced after Abeta treatment of rat aortic rings, further substantiating this hypothesis. Moreover, in examination of this pathway in another cell type pertinent to AD, we find that Abeta induces a proinflammatory response in microglia as evidenced by increased leukotriene B4 release. We show that both dipyridamole and compounds which increase cGMP levels prevent Abeta-induced microglial inflammation. Our results suggest that therapeutic intervention aimed at reduction of microglial-mediated inflammation via inhibition of cGMP-PDE or elevation of cGMP may be beneficial in the treatment of AD.

Exp Neurol 1999 May;157(1):211-21


Metabolic difference between visceral fat and subcutaneous abdominal fat

Obesity stands as a public health issue. Obesity prevalence is increasing throughout every industrialized country. Android obesity is linked with an increased cardiovascular mortality and with type 2 diabetes mellitis, thus calling for an early management of this disease. Several studies showed a significant association between an android fat distribution and an increased cortisol secretion, raising the still debated question of a causal relationship between the development of android obesity and hypercorticism. Moreover, android obese subjects exhibit reduced plasma testosterone and growth hormone levels, meaning complex hormonal abnormalities in these subjects. Current hypotheses suggest that android fat distribution depends on the association of these hormonal abnormalities. Android obese patients have supranormal free fatty acid plasma concentrations. Visceral fat tissue, through its portal drainage, could be an important source for free fatty acids that may exert complex metabolic effects: involvement in hepatic lipogenesis, increase in hepatic neoglucogenic flux, reduction in insulin metabolic clearance and involvement in peripheral insulin resistance through a competition mechanism described by Randle. Technics in vitro (isolated adipocytes) and in vivo in human (labeled fatty acid flux) showed that visceral fatty acid flux was increased in obese patients and subcutaneous adipose tissue, as opposed to common opinion, was also involved in free fatty acid pool in obese patients. Thus, visceral obesity and diabetes could be linked through an enhanced fatty acid availability from adipose tissues (visceral and subcutaneous) in otherwise genetically type 2 diabetes-prone individuals.

Diabetes Metab 2000 Jun;26 Suppl 3:10-2

Low serum testosterone level as a predictor of increased visceral fat in Japanese-American men

OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between baseline testosterone levels and changes in visceral adiposity in Japanese-American men. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. SUBJECTS: Second-generation Japanese-American males enrolled in a community-based population study. MEASUREMENTS: At baseline, 110 men received a 75g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and an assessment of body mass index (BMI); visceral adiposity measured as intra-abdominal fat area (IAF) using computed tomography (CT); fasting insulin and C-peptide levels; and total testosterone levels. IAF was re-measured after 7.5 y. Subcutaneous fat areas were also measured by CT in the abdomen, thorax and thigh. The total fat (TF) was calculated as the sum of IAF and total subcutaneous fat areas (SCF). RESULTS: After 7.5y, IAF increased by a mean of 8.0 cm2 (95% CI: 0.8, 15.3). Baseline total testosterone was significantly correlated with change in IAF (r= -0.26, P= 0.006), but not to any appreciable degree with change in BMI, TF, or SCF. In a linear regression model with change in IAF as the dependent variable, baseline testosterone was significantly related to this outcome while adjusting for baseline IAF, SCF, BMI, age, diabetes mellitus status (OGTT by the WHO diagnostic criteria) and fasting C-peptide (regression coefficient for baseline testosterone [nmol/l] = -107.13, P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: In this Japanese-American male cohort, lower baseline total testosterone independently predicts an increase in IAF. This would suggest that by predisposing to an increase in visceral adiposity, low levels of testosterone may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2000 Apr;24(4):485-91

Saw Palmetto

Effects of a saw palmetto herbal blend in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia

PURPOSE: We tested the effects of a saw palmetto herbal blend in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) via a randomized, placebo controlled trial. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We randomized 44 men 45 to 80 years old with symptomatic BPH into a trial of a saw palmetto herbal blend versus placebo. End points included routine clinical measures (symptom score, uroflowmetry and post-void residual urine volume), blood chemistry studies (prostate specific antigen, sex hormones and multiphasic analysis), prostate volumetrics by magnetic resonance imaging, and prostate biopsy for zonal tissue morphometry and semiquantitative histology studies. RESULTS: Saw palmetto herbal blend and placebo groups had improved clinical parameters with a slight advantage in the saw palmetto group (not statistically significant). Neither prostate specific antigen nor prostate volume changed from baseline. Prostate epithelial contraction was noted, especially in the transition zone, where percent epithelium decreased from 17.8% at baseline to 10.7% after 6 months of saw palmetto herbal blend (p <0.01). Histological studies showed that the percent of atrophic glands increased from 25. 2% to 40.9% after treatment with saw palmetto herbal blend (p <0.01). The mechanism of action appeared to be nonhormonal but it was not identified by tissue studies of apoptosis, cellular proliferation, angiogenesis, growth factors or androgen receptor expression. We noted no adverse effects of saw palmetto herbal blend. When the study was no longer blinded, 41 men elected to continue therapy in an open label extension. CONCLUSIONS: Saw palmetto herbal blend appears to be a safe, highly desirable option for men with moderately symptomatic BPH. The secondary outcome measures of clinical effect in our study were only slightly better for saw palmetto herbal blend than placebo (not statistically significant). However, saw palmetto herbal blend therapy was associated with epithelial contraction, especially in the transition zone (p <0.01), indicating a possible mechanism of action underlying the clinical significance detected in other studies.

J Urol 2000 May;163(5):1451-6

Benign prostatic hyperplasia treated with saw palmetto: a literature search and an experimental case study

European physicians treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) with saw palmetto extract (SPE), while American physicians generally disregard SPE because "research is lacking." The authors investigated this discrepancy with a literature search and a clinical trial. The literature search began with MEDLINE, then expanded to "alternative" databases, including AGRICOLA, EMBASE, IBIS, and Cochrane, plus a manual search of unindexed herbal journals. The clinical trial was an experimental case study in which a 67-year-old man with symptomatic BPH was randomly administered SPE (160 mg standardized extract twice daily) or placebo. Outcome measures included the American Urological Association Symptom Index (AUASI), serum prostate-specific antigen, and prostate volume. Our expanded literature search revealed 58 clinical trials, whereas MEDLINE yielded only 19 clinical trials, or 33% of the total. Our clinical trial measured a baseline AUASI score of 20, which improved to 7 after unblinded administration of SPE. Subsequent double-blinded placebo produced a score of 14, and final single-blinded allotment of SPE produced a score of 11. Prostate-specific antigen was 10.3 ng/mL at baseline and 10.7 ng/mL at trial's conclusion. Baseline prostatic volume was 92 mL, and end volume was 75 mL. In conclusion, MEDLINE proved inadequate as a stand-alone search engine for locating information about an herbal medicine. Our experimental case study, similar to N = 1 research methodology, proved suitable for clinical evaluation of an herbal medicine in a rural private practice. SPE improved the patient's BPH. Unstandardized look-alike herbs may act as nontherapeutic placebos and may undermine consumer confidence in herbal medicine.

J Am Osteopath Assoc 2000 Feb;100(2):89-96