Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Apr 2001

Pet Health, Lactoferrin, Mercury Toxicity, Methylation

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


Page 1 of 4

Pet Health

Effect of antioxidants on the proliferative response of canine lymphocytes in serum from dogs with vitamin E deficiency.

The in vitro effect of vitamin E and 3 other antioxidants-ethoxyquin, 2-mercaptoethanol, and ascorbic acid-on proliferation of canine lymphocytes was examined. Lymphocytes from 2 groups of dogs given a vitamin E-deficient diet or whelped from a bitch fed such a diet were cultured with pooled samples of serum from dogs fed a vitamin E-deficient diet or whelped from a bitch fed such a diet, or normal canine serum, and stimulated with phytohemagglutinin. Added vitamin E enhanced the responsiveness in serum from the dogs with vitamin E deficiency, but not in normal canine serum. A similar effect was noted with added ethoxyquin and 2-mercaptoethanol. Ascorbic acid had no effect on proliferation in either serum pool. These results indicated that depressed lymphocyte responsiveness seen with serum from vitamin E-deficient dogs may, at least in part, be due to a loss of antioxidant activity in this serum.

Am J Vet Res 1983 Jan;44(1):5-7

Nitric oxide modulates epithelial permeability in the feline small intestine.

The objective of this study was to assess whether inhibition of nitric oxide production leads to increased epithelial permeability in feline small intestine. Local intra-arterial infusion of the nitric oxide synthesis inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester (L-NAME; 0.025 was performed in autoperfused segments of cat ileum for 90 min. An exogenous source of nitric oxide, sodium nitroprusside (SNP) was infused (0.025 for the last 30 min of the 90-min L-NAME infusion. Epithelial permeability was quantitated by measuring blood-to-lumen clearance of 51Cr-labeled EDTA throughout the experiment. An increase of approximately sixfold in mucosal permeability was observed within 30 min of L-NAME infusion and this effect was completely reversed by infusion of either SNP or L-arginine (0.125 NG-nitro-D-arginine-methyl ester (D-NAME) had no effect on mucosal permeability. The increase in epithelial permeability was sufficiently large that rhodamine-dextran (mol wt = 17,200) clearance from interstitium to lumen was increased. Pretreatment with IB4, a monoclonal antibody directed against the leukocyte adhesive glycoprotein complex (CD11/CD18) did not prevent the L-NAME-induced increase in epithelial permeability. These data suggest that inhibition of nitric oxide production leads to a reversible circulating leukocyte-independent increase in epithelial permeability.

Am J Physiol 1992 Jun;262(6 Pt 1):G1138-42

Dietary beta-carotene absorption by blood plasma and leukocytes in domestic cats.

Three experiments were conducted to study the uptake of oral beta-carotene by blood plasma and leukocytes in domestic cats. In Experiment 1, mature female Tabby cats (12 mo old) were given once orally 0, 10, 20 or 50 mg of beta-carotene and blood taken at 0, 12, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48 and 72 h after dosing. Concentrations of plasma beta-carotene increased in a dose-dependent manner. Peak concentrations were observed at 12-24 h and declined gradually thereafter. The half-life of plasma beta-carotene was 12-30 h. In Experiment 2, cats were dosed daily for six consecutive days with 0, 1, 2, 5 or 10 mg beta-carotene. Blood was sampled once daily at 12 h after each feeding. Daily dosing of cats with beta-carotene for 6 d resulted in a dose-dependent increase in circulating beta-carotene. Experiment 3 was designed to study the uptake of beta-carotene by blood leukocytes. Cats were fed 0, 5 or 10 mg of beta-carotene daily for 14 d. Blood leukocytes were obtained on d 7 and 14 to determine beta-carotene content in whole lymphocytes and in subcellular fractions. Blood lymphocytes took up large amounts of beta-carotene by d 7 of feeding. Furthermore, beta-carotene accumulated mainly in the mitochondria (40-52%), with lower amounts accumulating in the microsomes (20-35%), cytosol (15-34%), and nuclei (1.5-6%). Therefore, domestic cats readily absorb beta-carotene across the intestinal mucosa and transfer the beta-carotene into peripheral blood leukocytes and their subcellular organelles. Beta-Carotene uptake kinetics show that some aspects of beta-carotene absorption and metabolism in cats are similar to those of humans.

J Nutr 2000 Sep;130(9):2322-5

Assessment of degree of oxidative stress and antioxidant concentrations in dogs with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.

OBJECTIVE: To assess degree of oxidative stress and antioxidant concentrations in dogs with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDCM). DESIGN: Prospective study. ANIMALS: 18 dogs with IDCM and 16 healthy control dogs. PROCEDURE: Concentrations of malondialdehyde (an indicator of oxidative stress); vitamins A, C, and E; glutathione peroxidase; and superoxide dismutase were measured. RESULTS: Glutathione peroxidase concentration was significantly increased in dogs with IDCM, compared with control dogs. Vitamin A and superoxide dismutase concentrations were not significantly different between groups. A negative correlation was found between disease severity and plasma vitamin E concentration. Disease severity was not correlated with concentrations of other antioxidants. Medications did not significantly affect oxidant or antioxidant concentrations. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The change in glutathione peroxidase concentration and the correlation between vitamin E concentration and disease severity suggest that the oxidant-antioxidant system may play a role in development of IDCM.

J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999 Sep 1;215(5):644-6

Dietary lutein stimulates immune response in the canine.

The possible immuno-modulatory action of dietary lutein in dogs is not known. Female Beagle dogs (17-18-month old; 11.4+/-0.4kg body weight) were supplemented daily with 0, 5, 10 or 20mg lutein for 12 weeks. Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to saline, phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and a polyvalent vaccine was assessed on Weeks 0, 6 and 12. Blood was sampled on Weeks 0, 2, 4, 8 and 12 to assess (1) lymphocyte proliferative response to PHA, concanavalin A (Con A), and pokeweed mitogen (PWM), (2) changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) populations, (3) interleukin-2 (IL-2) production and (4) IgG and IgM production. After the completion of 12-week study, we continued to collect the blood weekly up to 17 weeks to evaluate the changes in immunoglobulin production upon first and second antigenic challenges on Weeks 13 and 15. Plasma lutein+zeaxanthin was undetectable in unsupplemented dogs but concentrations increased (P<0.05) rapidly on Week 2 in lutein-supplemented dogs. Thereafter, concentrations generally continued to increase in dose-dependent manner, albeit at a much slower rate. Dogs fed lutein had heightened DTH response to PHA and vaccine by Week 6. Dietary lutein increased (P<0.05) lymphocyte proliferative response to all three mitogens and increased the percentages of cells expressing CD5, CD4, CD8 and major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) molecules. The production of IgG increased (P<0.05) in lutein-fed dogs after the second antigenic challenge. Lutein did not influence the expression of CD21 lymphocyte marker, plasma IgM or IL-2 production. Therefore, dietary lutein stimulated both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in the domestic canine.

Vet Immunol Immunopathol 2000 May 23;74(3-4):315-27

The riboflavin requirement of adult dogs at maintenance is greater than previous estimates.

A study was conducted to determine the riboflavin requirement of adult dogs at maintenance. Twenty adult mixed breed dogs were fed a semipurified meal with one of five riboflavin concentrations: Diet 1, 1.7 mg/kg; Diet 2, 2.7 mg/kg; Diet 3, 3.7 mg/kg; Diet 4, 4.7 mg/kg; and Diet 5, 5.7 mg/kg. The erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient (EGRAC) was used to determine biochemical riboflavin deficiency. Dogs fed Diet 1 had a greater (P < 0.05) EGRAC (1.24) on d 56 of the trial compared with that of dogs fed Diet 5 (1.11), indicating marginal riboflavin deficiency in dogs fed Diet 1. On d 84 the mean EGRAC for dogs fed Diet 1 (1.36) was different from EGRAC obtained for dogs fed the other diets (1.19, P < 0.05). The difference in mean EGRAC was still present of d 112 (1.59 vs. 1.27; P< 0.01). There was no difference in d 112 mean EGRAC for dogs fed Diets 2, 3, 4 and 5 (P < 0.05). The broken line requirement estimate for the adult dog at maintenance was determined to be 66.8 microgram riboflavin x kg body wt(-1) x d(-1) using the d 112 EGRAC as the basis for assessing biochemical riboflavin deficiency.

J Nutr 1996 Apr;126(4):984-8

Changes in the defense against free radicals in the liver and plasma of the dog during hypoxia and/or halothane anaesthesia.

Defenses against free radicals were evaluated in the dog under different conditions of ventilation. Changes in the levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and the lipid peroxidation end-products, estimated as malondialdehyde (MDA) and the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), were studied in serial liver biopsies from dogs ventilated with either oxygen, halothane and oxygen, hypoxic gas mixture of 8% oxygen and 92% nitrogen or halothane under hypoxic conditions. Simultaneous determination of GSH, vitamin E and MDA were carried out in the plasma. The results showed time-dependent depletion of GSH and vitamin E in liver and plasma and vitamin C in the liver. This was accompanied by a simultaneous increase in the levels of MDA. The magnitude of the change was in the following order: halothane and hypoxia > hypoxia > halothane and oxygen > oxygen. The greatest depletion was observed for vitamin E and the least for vitamin C. The rise in the level of MDA in plasma was much higher than in the liver tissue. Hypoxia resulted in inhibition of liver SOD activity. It seems that increased production of free radicals under hypoxic conditions may have overwhelmed the anti-oxidant defenses in the liver. In addition, the much higher level of MDA in plasma, as compared to liver tissue, may indicate that MDA could have originated in tissues or organs other than the liver and leaked into the blood, indicating possible damage in other locations in the body.

Toxicology 1998 Jun 26;128(1):25-34

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Results of the multicenter spaniel trial (MUST): taurine- and carnitine-responsive dilated cardiomyopathy in American cocker spaniels with decreased plasma taurine concentration.

Fourteen American Cocker Spaniels (ACS) with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) were studied to determine if individuals of this breed with DCM are systemically taurine- or carnitine-deficient and to determine if they are responsive to taurine and carnitine supplementation. American Cocker Spaniels with DCM were identified using echocardiography, and plasma was analyzed for taurine and carnitine concentrations. Each dog was randomly assigned to receive either taurine and carnitine supplementation or placebos. Echocardiograms and clinical examinations were repeated monthly for 4 months. During this period, the investigators and owners were blinded with respect to the treatment being administered. Each dog was weaned off its cardiovascular drugs (furosemide, digoxin, and an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor) if an echocardiographic response was identified. At the 4-month time period, each investigator was asked to decide whether he or she thought his or her patient was receiving placebo or taurine/carnitine, based on presence or absence of clinical and echocardiographic improvement. Unblinding then occurred, and dogs receiving placebos were switched to taurine and carnitine supplementation and followed monthly for 4 additional months. All dogs were reexamined 6 months after starting supplementation; survival time and cause of death were recorded for each dog. Data from 3 dogs were not included because of multiple protocol violations. Each dog had a plasma taurine concentration < 50 nmol/mL (mean +/- SD for the group 15 +/- 17 nmol/ mL) at baseline; normal range, 50-180 nmol/mL. The plasma taurine concentration did not exceed 50 nmol/mL at any time in the dogs receiving placebos (n = 5), but increased to 357 +/- 157 nmol/mL (range 140-621 nmol/mL) during taurine and carnitine supplementation (n = 11). Plasma carnitine concentration was within, only slightly below, or slightly above reported limits of normality at baseline (29 +/- 15 mumol/L); did not change during placebo administration; and increased significantly during supplementation (349 +/- 119 mumol/L; n = 11). Echocardiographic variables did not change during placebo administration. During supplementation, left ventricular end-diastolic and end-systolic diameters, and mitral valve E point-to-septal separation decreased significantly in both groups. Shortening fraction increased significantly but not into the normal range. Echocardiographic variables remained improved at 6 months. All dogs were successfully weaned off furosemide, an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, and digoxin once an echocardiographic response was identified. Nine of the dogs have died since the onset of the study in 1992. One dog died of recurrence of DCM and heart failure 31 months after starting supplementation; six dogs died of noncardiac causes. Two dogs developed degenerative mitral valve disease and died of complications of this disease. Dogs less than 10 years of age lived for 46 +/- 11 months, whereas dogs older than 10 years of age lived for 14 +/- 7 months. Two of the 11 dogs were alive at the time of publication, having survived for 3.5 and 4.5 years, respectively. We conclude that ACS with DCM are taurine-deficient and are responsive to taurine and carnitine supplementation. Whereas myocardial function did not return to normal in most dogs, it did improve enough to allow discontinuation of cardiovascular drug therapy and to maintain a normal quality of life for months to years.

J Vet Intern Med 1997 Jul-Aug;11(4):204-11

Phytoestrogens and inhibition of angiogenesis.

The consumption of a plant-based diet can prevent the development and progression of chronic diseases associated with extensive neovascularization, including the progression and growth of solid malignant tumours. We have previously shown that the plant-derived isoflavonoid genistein is a potent inhibitor of cell proliferation and in vitro angiogenesis. Moreover, the concentration of genistein in the urine of subjects consuming a plant-based diet is 30-fold higher than that in subjects consuming a traditional Western diet. We have also reported that certain structurally related flavonoids are more potent inhibitors than genistein. Indeed, 3-hydroxyflavone, 3',4'-dihydroxyflavone, 2',3'-dihydroxyflavone, fisetin, apigenin and luteolin inhibit the proliferation of normal and tumour cells as well as in vitro angiogenesis at half-maximal concentrations in the lower micromolar range. The wide distribution of isoflavonoids and flavonoids in the plant kingdom, together with their anti-angiogenic and anti-mitotic properties, suggest that these phytoestrogens may contribute to the preventive effect of a plant-based diet on chronic diseases, including solid tumours.

Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998 Dec;12(4):649-66

Influence of selegiline and lipoic acid on the life expectancy of immunosuppressed mice.

Ten groups of 14 immunosuppressed NMRI-mice (nu/nu) were raised and kept under germ-reduced conditions. The control animals were fed a germ-reduced diet, nine other groups received the same diet with selegiline (CAS 14611-51-9, Deprenyl) or lipoic acid (thioctic acid, CAS 62-46-4) admixed at various amounts. The 50% survival rate, the total life span of each group and the areas under the curves were determined to evaluate life expectancy as compared to the controls. The racemate of lipoic acid at high dosage (350 mg/kg body weight) reduced the life span significantly. The S(-)-enantiomer of lipoic acid (75 mg/kg body weight) increased the 50% survival rate, whereas the physiologic R(+)-enantiomer (9 mg/kg body weight) expanded the total life span of its group. Alteration of only one out of three parameters was not considered significant. All other groups except for one did not differ from controls: only animals which obtained 75 micrograms selegiline per kg of body weight and per day exerted increased life expectancies by all three parameters. This group exhibited also in statistical evaluation a significantly (p < 0.05) prolongated survival time up to about 200% as compared to the control animals.

Arzneimittelforschung 1997 Jun;47(6):776-80

Immunomodulatory effect of beta-carotene on T lymphocyte subsets in patients with resected colonic polyps and cancer.

Results from a number of studies suggest that beta-carotene-containing foods prevent the initiation or progression of various cancers. One possible mechanism for this effect could be enhancement of the immune response. The aim of this study was to determine whether beta-carotene modulates T lymphocyte subsets in patients affected with colonic polyps or cancerous lesions. Patients with previous adenomatous colonic polyps (n = 18) or colon cancers (n = 19) were randomized to receive placebo or beta-carotene (30 mg/day) for three months. Percentages of T lymphocyte subsets were determined using flow cytometry in blood samples collected before randomization and at three months. T lymphocyte subsets of 14 normal control subjects were also determined for comparison. Initially, there was no difference in total leukocyte counts, percentage of lymphocytes, and various subsets of lymphocytes among the three groups, although in cancer patients there was a lower percentage of CD4 and interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor-positive (IL-2R+) cells than in patients with polyps and in controls. After supplementation with beta-carotene, a significant increase in IL-2R+ T lymphocytes (from 12.7 +/- 3.0% to 26.0 +/- 1.9%) and CD4+ lymphocytes (from 40.9 +/- 3.1% to 45.6 +/- 3.2%) was seen only in the cancer patients. These percentages remained unchanged in patients with adenomatous polyps receiving placebo or beta-carotene. We concluded that beta-carotene increased the number of IL-2R+ T lymphocytes and CD4+ lymphocytes, which in turn may produce IL-2 only in patients with cancer who may already have some deficiency in their immune system. This increase in activated T lymphocytes may mediate cytotoxic reactions to cancer cells via cytokine production.

Nutr Cancer 1997;28(2):140-5

Modulated mitogenic proliferative responsiveness of lymphocytes in whole-blood cultures after a low-carotene diet and mixed-carotenoid supplementation in women.

To determine the effects of dietary carotenes on the mitogenic proliferative responsiveness of blood lymphocytes in vitro, nine premenopausal women were fed a low-carotene diet for 120 d. Low-dose beta-carotene (0.5 mg/d) was given to five subjects on days 1-60, while four received a placebo. All subjects received a low-dose beta-carotene (0.5 mg/d) supplement on days 61-120, plus a carotenoid complex on days 101-120. The mean (+/-SEM) serum beta-carotene concentration for the combined beta-carotene supplemented and placebo subjects (n = 9) was not significantly reduced from that on day 1 (1.27 +/- 0.24 mumol/L) on days 60 (0.66 +/- 0.14 mumol/L) and 100 (0.91 +/- 0.38 mumol/L), but on day 120 (3.39 +/- 0.44 mumol/L) it was increased above that on days 1, 60, and 100. Maximum mitogenic proliferative responsiveness of blood lymphocytes in vitro to optimal dose phytohemagglutinin (PHA) was reduced on days 60 (P = 0.025) and 100 (P < 0.0001), but corrected itself on day 120 to a value above those on day 1 (P = 0.04), day 60 (P = 0.0001), and day 100 (P < 0.0001). Present findings show that a diet low in carotene had a suppressive effect on the maximum mitogenic proliferative responsiveness of blood lymphocytes in vitro, which was not corrected with low-dose beta-carotene supplementation but was with a carotenoid complex from vegetables rich in carotenoids.

Am J Clin Nutr 1997 Mar;65(3):871-5

Radioprotective effects of antioxidative plant flavonoids in mice.

Radioprotective effects of tea infusions and plant flavonoids were investigated by using the micronucleus test for anticlastogenic activity and the thiobarbituric acid assay for antioxidative activity. A single gastric intubation of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) infusion at 1 ml per mouse 2 h prior to gama-ray irradiation (1.5 Gy) reduced the frequency of micronucleated reticulocytes (MNRETs). After the fractionation of rooibos tea infusion, the flavonoid fraction was found to be most anticlastogenic and antioxidative. From this fraction, luteolin was isolated as an effective component. Then, anticlastogenic effects of 12 flavonoids containing luteolin and their antioxidative activities against lipid peroxidation by Fenton's reagent were examined. A good correlation (r=0.717) was observed between both activities. Luteolin showed the most effective potency. A gastric intubation of luteolin (10 micromoles/kg) 2 h prior to gamma-ray irradiation (6 Gy) suppressed lipid peroxidation in mouse bone marrow and spleen and a trend of protective effect of luteolin against the decrease of endogenous ascorbic acid in mouse bone marrow after gamma-ray irradiation (3 Gy) was observed. These results suggest that plant flavonoids, which show antioxidative potency in vitro, work as antioxidants in vivo and their radioprotective effects may be attributed to their scavenging potency towards free radicals such as hydroxyl radicals. Therefore, the flavonoids contained in tea, vegetables and fruits seem to be important as antioxidants in the human diet.

Mutat Res 1996 Feb 19;350(1):153-61

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In vitro antiviral activity of lactoferrin and ribavirin upon hantavirus.

Bovine lactoferrin (LF) and ribavirin (Rbv) were tested as antiviral agents against Seoul type hantavirus (SR-11 strain) in vitro. Hantaviral foci number in Vero E6 cells infected with SR-11 was reduced with LF treatment by 5 days post infection to obtain a 50% effective dose (ED50) of 2500 microg/ml, while pretreatment with LF was highly efficacious having an ED50 of 39 microg/ml. Conversely, 1 h pretreatment with Rbv revealed no inhibition of viral focus formation but could significantly reduce the number of viral foci (ED50: 10 microg/ml) when used from the time of viral infection. One hour pre-treatment of the cell monolayer with LF and subsequent addition of Rbv revealed a synergistic anti-hantaviral effect against SR-11, <20 FFU/ml as compared to 10(5) foci/ml in the control. One hour treatment of SR-11 with LF prior to cell inoculation gave an ED50 of 312.5 microg/ml. Whereas, washing the LF-pretreated cell monolayer with PBS demonstrated minimal focus reduction, suggesting LF lightly adheres to cells. These results indicate that LF has anti-hantaviral activity in vitro and inhibition of virus adsorption to cells which play an important role in revealing the anti-hantaviral activity of LF. This paper reports for the first time the anti-hantaviral effect of LF.

Arch Virol 2000;145(8):1571-82

Human lactoferrin and peptides derived from a surface-exposed helical region reduce experimental escherichia coli urinary tract infection in mice

Lactoferrin (LF) is a multifunctional immunoregulatory protein that has been associated with host defense at mucosal surfaces through its antibacterial properties. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of LF were further explored with an animal model of experimental urinary tract infection. Bovine LF (bLF), human LF (hLF), and synthetic peptide sequences based on the antibacterial region of hLF (amino acid residues 16 to 40 [HLD1] and 18 to 40 [HLD2]) were given orally to female mice 30 min after the instillation of 10(8) Escherichia coli bacteria into the urinary bladder. The control groups received phosphate-buffered saline or water. C3H/Tif mice were treated with hLF or bLF, and C3H/HeN mice were treated with bLF only. The numbers of bacteria in the kidneys and bladder of C3H/Tif and C3H/HeN mice were significantly reduced 24 h later by the LF treatments compared to the findings for the control group. The hLF-treated group showed the strongest reduction compared with the vehicle-treated-group (P values were 0.009 and 0. 0001 for the kidneys and bladder, respectively). The urinary leukocyte response was diminished in the hLF-treated group. The hLF treatment also significantly reduced the urinary interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels at 2 h and the systemic IL-6 levels at 24 h after infection (P values were 0.04 and < 0.002, respectively). In the bLF-treated animals, no such strong anti-inflammatory effects were obtained. In another series of experiments, C3H/Tif mice perorally treated with HLD1 or HLD2 also showed reduced numbers of bacteria in the kidneys compared with the vehicle-treated mice, although the results were significantly different only for HLD2 (P < 0.01). Analysis of urine from hLF-fed C3H/Tif mice showed that hLF was excreted into the urinary tract at 2 h after feeding. Testing of the in vitro bactericidal activity of LF (1 mg/ml) or the peptides (0.1 mg/ml) in mouse urine against the E. coli bacteria revealed moderate killing only by HLD2. In conclusion, these results demonstrate for the first time that oral administration of hLF or peptides thereof is effective in reducing infection and inflammation at a remote site, the urinary tract, possibly through transfer of hLF or its peptides to the site of infection via renal secretion. The antibacterial mechanism is suggested to involve bactericidal capacities of LF, fragments thereof, or its peptides.

Infect Immun 2000 Oct;68(10):5816-23

Oral administration of bovine lactoferrin for treatment of tinea pedis. A placebo-controlled, double-blind study.

A clinical study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of lactoferrin, which is a protein component of cow's milk, in the treatment of tinea pedis. Doses of either 600 mg or 2000 mg of lactoferrin, or a placebo was orally administered daily for 8 weeks to 37 adults who were judged to have mild or moderate tinea pedis. Dermatological improvement and antifungal efficacy were assessed. In the analysis of all subjects, dermatological symptoms scores in all groups decreased but the differences were not statistically significant comparing the three groups. However, in the analysis limited to subjects with moderate vesicular or interdigital tinea pedis, dermatological symptoms scores in the lactoferrin-treated groups decreased significantly in comparison with the placebo group (P < 0.05). The organisms isolated were Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. A mycological cure was not seen in any of the subjects. In the 37 subjects there were no adverse events and no subject withdrew from the study because of an adverse event. These results suggest that orally administered lactoferrin can improve the dermatological symptoms in some subjects. The potential usefulness of lactoferrin as a functional food material for treating tinea pedis was seen for the first time in this study.

Mycoses 2000;43(5):197-202

Mercury Toxicity

Maternal-fetal distribution of mercury (203Hg) released from dental amalgam fillings.

In humans, the continuous release of Hg vapor from dental amalgam tooth restorations is markedly increased for prolonged periods after chewing. The present study establishes a time-course distribution for amalgam Hg in body tissues of adult and fetal sheep. Under general anesthesia, five pregnant ewes had twelve occlusal amalgam fillings containing radioactive 203Hg placed in teeth at 112 days gestation. Blood, amniotic fluid, feces, and urine specimens were collected at 1- to 3-day intervals for 16 days. From days 16-140 after amalgam placement (16-41 days for fetal lambs), tissue specimens were analyzed for radioactivity, and total Hg concentrations were calculated. Results demonstrate that Hg from dental amalgam will appear in maternal and fetal blood and amniotic fluid within 2 days after placement of amalgam tooth restorations. Excretion of some of this Hg will also commence within 2 days. All tissues examined displayed Hg accumulation. Highest concentrations of Hg from amalgam in the adult occurred in kidney and liver, whereas in the fetus the highest amalgam Hg concentrations appeared in liver and pituitary gland. The placenta progressively concentrated Hg as gestation advanced to term, and milk concentration of amalgam Hg postpartum provides a potential source of Hg exposure to the newborn. It is concluded that accumulation of amalgam Hg progresses in maternal and fetal tissues to a steady state with advancing gestation and is maintained. Dental amalgam usage as a tooth restorative material in pregnant women and children should be reconsidered.

Am J Physiol 1990 Apr;258(4 Pt 2):R939-45

An estimation of the uptake of mercury from amalgam fillings based on urinary excretion of mercury in Swedish subjects.

Mercury is released from amalgam fillings in several forms, i.e. as elemental vapour, ions and in fine particles. Despite many investigations there is still considerable uncertainty concerning the uptake of such mercury. Most available estimates have calculated the pulmonary uptake of mercury vapour based on measurements of concentrations intra-orally or in expired breath. Presented estimates vary by an order of magnitude from approximately 1 to 20 micrograms/day. The possibility of estimating this uptake based on levels of mercury in a biological index medium has received comparatively little attention. The purpose of the present work is to estimate the uptake of mercury from amalgam fillings based on urinary concentrations of mercury. It is estimated that the average uptake of mercury from amalgam fillings in Swedish subjects is within the interval 4-19 micrograms/day. This interval was arrived at after a detailed evaluation of the uncertainties in the data used and in the different assumptions. Notwithstanding the considerable range of this estimate it indicates a higher uptake than several other estimates, some of which have had a large impact on the scientific debate concerning this issue.

Sci Total Environ 1995 Jun 30;168(3):255-65

Mercury concentration in the mouth mucosa of patients with amalgam fillings.

Mercury concentrations were measured in specimens of oral mucosa taken during oral surgery from 90 patients (53 men, 37 women, mean age 42 +/- 16 years); 30 of the patients had no amalgam fillings. All the mucosal specimens extended for at least 2-3 mm from the epithelium of the gingival margin and were clinically and radiologically normal. Thirteen patients without metallic fillings of any kind had mercury concentrations of 118.4 +/- 83.7 ng/g tissue, and in 17 patients with precious metal fillings but no amalgam the mean mercury concentrations were 144 +/- 290 ng/g tissue. Seventeen patients with 1-3 amalgam fillings had an average of 1975 +/- 4300 ng/g tissue and in 26 patients with 3-6 amalgam fillings the average concentration was 1158 +/- 2500 ng/g tissue. In 17 patients with more than six amalgam fillings the mean mercury concentration was 2302 +/- 5600 ng/g tissue. Although these results demonstrate a considerable degree of transfer of mercury from the amalgam fillings to the oral mucosa, it had not resulted in any clinically detectable mucosal lesions.

Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1992 Nov 13;117(46):1743-7

Influence of chewing gum consumption and dental contact of amalgam fillings to different metal restorations on urine mercury content.

It had been shown previously by various authors that contact of amalgam fillings to metal fillings of different type can increase the electrochemically caused amalgam corrosion in vitro thus leading to an elevated release of mercury. So it was recommended to renounce of a dental contact of amalgam to metal fillings of other type. One aim of the present study was to evaluate possible influences of this contact in vivo on the urinary mercury contents in human volunteers. Neither approximal nor occlusal contacts had any influence on the urinary mercury excretion in comparison to a reference group with similar amalgam status. Furthermore, the influence of gum chewing on urinary mercury levels was taken into account. It could be shown that the consumption of chewing gum resulted in a significantly higher mean urinary mercury content in probands with amalgam fillings in comparison to people with similar amalgam status (gum chewers: 1.36 Hg/24 h vs. non-chewers 0.70 microgram Hg/24 h). Thus, gum chewing has to be considered as important parameter of influence on the urinary mercury levels of people with amalgam fillings.

Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed 1996 Nov;199(1):69-75

Long-term use of nicotine chewing gum and mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings.

In experimental studies, chewing gum has been shown to increase the release rate of mercury vapor from dental amalgam fillings. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of long-term frequent chewing on mercury levels in plasma and urine. Mercury levels in plasma (P-Hg) and urine (U-Hg), and urinary cotinine were examined in 18 subjects who regularly used nicotine chewing gum, and in 19 referents. Age and number of amalgam surfaces were similar in the two groups. Total mercury concentrations in plasma and urine were determined by means of cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry. Urinary cotinine was determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The chewers had been using 10 (median) pieces of gum per day for the past 27 (median) months. P-Hg and U-Hg levels were significantly higher in the chewers (27 nmol/L and 6.5 nmol/mmol creatinine) than in the referents (4.9 nmol/L and 1.2 nmol/mmol creatinine). In both groups, significant correlations were found between P-Hg or U-Hg on the one hand and the number of amalgam surfaces on the other. In the chewers, no correlations were found between P-Hg or U-Hg and chewing time per day or cotinine in urine. Cotinine in urine increased with the number of pieces of chewing gum used. The impact of excessive chewing on mercury levels was considerable.

J Dent Res 1996 Jan;75(1):594-8

Impact of nocturnal bruxism on mercury uptake from dental amalgams.

The mercury (Hg) release from dental amalgam fillings increases by mechanical stimulation. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible impact of nocturnal bruxism on Hg exposure from dental amalgams and to evaluate the effect of an occlusal appliance. 88 female patients from an orofacial pain clinic with a complete maxillary and mandibular dentition, a normal frontal vertical overbite with cuspid guidance, and at least 4 occlusal amalgam fillings in contact with antagonists in intercuspidal position, were examined with the Bruxcore bruxism monitoring device to measure the level of on-going nocturnal bruxism. Based on the degree of abrasion recorded, the subjects were divided into a group defined as bruxists, (n = 29), another group defined as non-bruxists, (n = 32), serving as controls, the intermediate group being discarded. The Hg exposure was assessed from the Hg concentration in plasma and urine, corrected for the creatinine content. In a regression model with bruxism as the only explanatory variable, no significant effect of bruxism was found, but when the number of amalgam fillings, chewing gum use, and other background variables were taken into account, there was a limited impact of bruxism on Hg in plasma. The nocturnal use of an occlusal appliance did not, however, significantly change the Hg levels. This study indicates that mechanical wear on amalgams from nocturnal bruxism may increase the Hg uptake, but the magnitude of this effect seems to be less than from the use of chewing gum.

Eur J Oral Sci 1997 Jun;105(3):251-7

Mercury release of silver amalgam fillings in vitro.

In vitro mercury release from silver amalgam fillings was analyzed by ICP (Inductively-coupled-plasma-atomic-emission-spectroscopy). Within 14 days 63.2 micrograms Hg and 41.5 micrograms Hg respectively, were released from unfinished and finished amalgam fillings (n = 5). The amounts of mercury found in this study were several times higher compared with the results from other in vitro-studies.

Dtsch Zahnarztl Z 1990 Jan;45(1):17-9

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Silver concentrations in human tissues. Their dependence on dental amalgam and other factors.

Human tissue samples (liver, kidney cortex, 5 brain regions: grey matter of cerebrum, white matter of cerebrum, nucleus lentiformis, cerebellum, brain stem) from 173 decreased persons were analysed for silver (Ag) by GF-AAS (Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry) and the results compared with the number of teeth with amalgam fillings and the concentration of inorganic mercury (Hg), which had been determined in the same tissue samples in a previous study. It was found that the mean Ag concentrations in liver and brain of adult females are approximately twice that of males. Moreover, the Ag concentrations, especially in the brain, depend possibly on age. To exclude these confounding factors as far as possible, the influence of dental amalgam and the correlation of Ag and Hg were evaluated only in a sub-group of 93 males, aged 11-50 years. In this sub-group statistically significant correlations were found between the number of teeth with dental amalgam and the Ag concentrations in the cerebral cortex and the liver. No such correlation was found for the kidney. Ag and inorg. Hg correlate well in this sub-group in the liver, but not in the cerebral cortex or the kidney. Individuals from this sub-group with (i) 0-2 and with (ii) more than 9 teeth with amalgam fillings show mean Ag concentrations (micrograms/kg in tissue wet weight, geom. mean) of 1.59 and 5.41 in the grey matter of cerebrum, 1.42 and 4.25 in the white matter of cerebrum, 1.53 and 4.89 in the nucleus lentiformis, 1.95 and 5.02 in the cerebellum, 1.05 and 3.27 in the brain stem, 3.40 and 8.15 in the liver and 0.42 and 0.44 in the kidney cortex. In contrast, comparing all individuals under investigation with only 0-2 teeth with amalgam no correlation between Ag and inorg. Hg could be found in liver, kidney cortex or cerebral cortex. These results show that amalgam fillings release Ag as well. Considering the different toxicokinetics of Ag and Hg it can be concluded that Ag is a reliable marker for the fact that the elevated concentrations of in org. Hg found in tissues of individuals with amalgam fillings derive mainly from these fillings and not from other theoretically possible sources.

J Trace Elem Med Biol 1995 Jul;9(2):82-7

Influence of low frequency magnetic fields on the intra-oral release of mercury vapor from amalgam restorations.

Since the results of a preliminary study have shown that the magnetic fields of some visual display units (VDUs) increased the release of mercury from amalgam specimens, the aim of the present study was to examine whether exposure to magnetic fields might affect the mercury vapor release from amalgam restorations in humans. The test group consisted of five subjects with an average of 31.4 amalgam surfaces (range 13-48). In each of the subjects tested, the intra-oral release of mercury vapor was measured during three 9-h periods at intervals of 30 to 90 min, using a standardized schedule and standardized food. During the first 9-h period which served as control, no intentional magnetic fields were applied. During the second and the third 9-h period, magnetic fields with flux densities of 20 microT at 30 kHz or 500 microT at 50 Hz, respectively, were applied. Although these flux densities were one thousand times higher than those caused by VDUs, no effects could be found on the release of mercury vapor from the amalgam restorations. The results of the present study do not support the assumption that exposure to magnetic fields increases the mercury vapor release from amalgam restorations in humans.

Eur J Oral Sci 1998 Apr;106(2 Pt 1):671-4

Release of mercury vapor from dental amalgam.

Because of its long-term clinical use there is more information and research data available about dental amalgam than about any other dental restorative material. However, on and off the safety of dental amalgam has been called in question and during the 80's the mercury controversy came to the fore, not only within the profession but also among the general public. Sources of mercury vapor contamination within dentistry were identified and attempts made to evaluate the contributions to the daily mercury uptake which can be attributed to dental amalgam. Mercury can be released from dental amalgam by evaporation and electrochemical corrosion as well as from amalgam particles which have been swallowed. A major route for mercury uptake from amalgam restorations is through inhalation of mercury vapor. The present study focused on experimental and analytical difficulties associated with the measurement of mercury vapor released in the oral cavity. A careful methodological study of the kind of source of mercury vapor that is prevalent and on the methods for measuring the intra-oral release of mercury vapor was carried out. With this as a basis quantitative determinations of the release rate of mercury vapor from amalgam restorations were made on healthy human subjects not occupationally exposed to mercury. The daily uptake of mercury from inhaled mercury vapor was calculated and salivary and urinary mercury levels were determined. In addition the release rate of mercury vapor from different types of amalgam was studied in vitro and in vivo. The findings may be summarized as follows: The only relevant measurable quantity when determining the mercury vapor released from amalgam restorations is the amount released per time unit, i.e. the amount of mercury vapor collected during intra-oral sampling is proportional to the sampling time. The diffusion of mercury atoms inside an amalgam restoration results in the formation of a concentration gradient in the surface of the amalgam. This mercury diffusion is the rate-determining step for mercury vapor release in the long run. In the short run the mercury concentration gradient prevalent on the amalgam surface on the measuring occasion is the apparent rate-determining step. The daily uptake of mercury from inhaled mercury vapor released from dental amalgam seems to make a very small contribution to the total body burden of mercury, in comparison with what can be tolerated in the work environment. The in vitro results revealed obvious differences regarding the release rate of mercury vapor from dissimilar amalgam types.

Swed Dent J Suppl 1992;85:1-52

The future of dental amalgam: a review of the literature. Part 7: Possible alternative materials to amalgam for the restoration of posterior teeth.

This is the last in a series of articles on the future of dental amalgam. It considers possible alternative materials to amalgam for the restoration of posterior teeth. The materials discussed are gold inlays, gold foil, gallium alloys, and tooth coloured non-metal alternatives including glass-ionomer cements, composite resins, glass-ionomer-resin hybrids, compomers and ceramics. The clinical indications for these restorations are first described along with their potential clinical problems and their mean survival rates in comparison with dental amalgam. Secondly, the safety of composite resins is considered and potential toxic and hypersensitive effects of these materials are discussed. Finally, it is concluded that the present evidence does not appear to demonstrate that dental amalgam is hazardous to the health of the general population. It does, however, recommend that in continuing to use amalgam dentists must use strict mercury hygiene procedures to avoid risk to their staff and contamination of the environment. It seems that mercury contamination of the environment is likely to be the main reason for any future government action against the continued clinical use of dental amalgam.

Br Dent J 1997 Jul 12;183(1):11-4


Effects of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in patients with carcinoma of the skin.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a nutritional supplement of selenium will decrease the incidence of cancer. DESIGN: A multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled cancer prevention trial. SETTING: Seven dermatology clinics in the eastern United States. PATIENTS: A total of 1312 patients (mean age, 63 years; range, 18-80 years) with a history of basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas of the skin were randomized from 1983 through 1991. Patients were treated for a mean (SD) of 4.5 (2.8) years and had a total follow-up of 6.4 (2.0) years. INTERVENTIONS: Oral administration of 200 microg of selenium per day or placebo. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary end points for the trial were the incidences of basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. The secondary end points, established in 1990, were all-cause mortality and total cancer mortality, total cancer incidence, and the incidences of lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers. RESULTS: After a total follow-up of 8271 person-years, selenium treatment did not significantly affect the incidence of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer. There were 377 new cases of basal cell skin cancer among patients in the selenium group and 350 cases among the control group (relative risk [RR], 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95-1.28), and 218 new squamous cell skin cancers in the selenium group and 190 cases among the controls (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.93-1.39). Analysis of secondary end points revealed that, compared with controls, patients treated with selenium had a nonsignificant reduction in all-cause mortality (108 deaths in the selenium group and 129 deaths in the control group [RR; 0.83; 95% CI, 0.63-1.08]) and significant reductions in total cancer mortality (29 deaths in the selenium treatment group and 57 deaths in controls [RR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.31-0.80]), total cancer incidence (77 cancers in the selenium group and 119 in controls [RR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.47-0.85]), and incidences of lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers. Primarily because of the apparent reductions in total cancer mortality and total cancer incidence in the selenium group, the blinded phase of the trial was stopped early. No cases of selenium toxicity occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Selenium treatment did not protect against development of basal or squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. However, results from secondary end-point analyses support the hypothesis that supplemental selenium may reduce the incidence of, and mortality from, carcinomas of several sites. These effects of selenium require confirmation in an independent trial of appropriate design before new public health recommendations regarding selenium supplementation can be made.

JAMA 1996 Dec 25;276(24):1957-63

Dietary selenium and arsenic affect DNA methylation In vitro in caco-2 cells and In vivo in rat liver and colon.

Selenium is an essential trace element for human health, and it has received considerable attention for its possible role as an anticarcinogenic agent. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether changes in the amount and the chemical form of selenium would affect DNA methylation and whether this effect would be modified by arsenic. Caco-2 cells, a human colon cancer cell line, were exposed to 0, 1 or 2 &mgr;mol supplemental selenite/L and 0, 1 or 2 &mgr;mol supplemental arsenite/L for 7 d. DNA isolated from Caco-2 cells not treated with selenite was significantly (P: < 0. 0001) hypomethylated compared with that from cells treated with 1 or 2 &mgr;mol selenite/L. DNA isolated from Caco-2 cells not treated with arsenite was significantly (P: < 0.0001) hypomethylated compared with DNA isolated from cells treated with 1 or 2 &mgr;mol arsenite/L. In addition, methylation of the p53 promoter region of Caco-2 cells decreased when cells were cultured in the absence of selenite and in the absence of arsenite. Sixty weanling male Fischer 344 rats were fed a torula yeast-based diet supplemented with 0, 0.1 or 2 mg selenium/kg diet as either selenite or selenomethionine in the presence or absence of 5 mg arsenic/kg diet as arsenite for 6 wk. Similar to the results with Caco-2 cells, rats fed selenium-deficient diets had significantly (P: < 0.0001) hypomethylated liver and colon DNA compared with rats fed 0.1 or 2.0 &mgr;g selenium/g diets as either selenite or selenomethionine. Thus, alterations in DNA methylation may be a potential mechanism, whereby deficient dietary selenium increases liver and colon tumorigenesis.

J Nutr 2000 Dec;130(12):2903-9

Selenium from high selenium broccoli protects rats from colon cancer.

Colon cancer is the third most common newly diagnosed cancer in the United States and the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Previous supplementation studies have demonstrated the efficacy of selenium (Se) for prevention of colon cancer in humans. The metabolism of Se depends on its chemical form, and studies have shown that the chemical form of Se in broccoli does not accumulate in the body as fast as other forms of Se and may be especially beneficial for prevention of cancer. In the first experiment of the present study, Fisher F-344 rats (n = 45) were allotted randomly to torula yeast-based diets supplemented with the following: 1) no Se; 2) 0.1 microg Se/g diet as selenate; 3) 1.0 microg Se/g diet as selenate; 4) 0.1 microg Se/g diet as selenized broccoli (Se concentration of approximately 500 microg/g); or 5) 1.0 microg Se/g diet as selenized broccoli. In Experiment 2, rats (n = 80) were allotted randomly to the same basal diet supplemented with the following: 1) no added Se; 2) 2.0 microg Se/g diet as selenite; 3) 2. 0 microg Se/g diet as selenite + low Se broccoli; and 4) 2.0 microg Se/g diet as selenized broccoli. Rats were fed the diets for 2 wk and injected with a chemical carcinogen (3,2 dimethyl 4-amino biphenyl or dimethyl-hydrazine in Experiment 1 or dimethyl hydrazine in Experiment 2; 2 rats/treatment were used as vehicle controls). Supranutritional amounts of Se supplied as high Se broccoli significantly decreased (P: < 0.05) the incidence of aberrant crypts (AC) and aberrant crypt foci (ACF; preneoplastic lesions indicative of colon cancer) compared with other dietary treatments. Diets were controlled for the presence or absence of broccoli and for the total amount of Se. The reduction in AC and ACF was a function of Se in high Se broccoli and not a result of broccoli alone or Se alone. Adequate dietary Se supplied as high Se broccoli did not accumulate in tissues or increase glutathione peroxidase activity as well as other forms and amounts of Se. Thus, Se from high Se broccoli may be metabolized in a manner that diverts much of the Se into a pool that provides protection against colon cancer.

J Nutr 2000 Sep;130(9):2384-9