Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Dec 2008

Corn Syrup

Effects of Marapuama in the chronic mild stress model: further indication of antidepressant properties.

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY RELEVANCE: Ptychopetalum olacoides Bentham (PO) (Olacaceae), known as Marapuama, is regarded as a “nerve tonic” in the Amazon. Traditional uses include states of lassitude with noticeable lack of desire/motivation, and to manage particularly stressful (physical and/or psychological) circumstances. Suggestive of antidepressant activity, we have established that a specific PO ethanol extract (POEE) significantly decreases immobility in the tail suspension and forced swimming tests. AIM OF THE STUDY: The aim of this study was to verify the effects of POEE in the unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) depression model in mice, given the construct and face values of the UCMS as an experimental model of depression and the traditional use of this species. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Over 6 weeks BALB/c mice were subjected to the UCMS protocol. The effects of POEE (50, 100, 300 mg/kg, p.o.) and imipramine (20 mg/kg, i.p.) were evaluated in relation to coat state, splash-test grooming, and corticosterone levels. RESULTS: The coat state degradation, decreased grooming and increased serum corticosterone induced by UCMS were prevented by POEE and imipramine treatments. CONCLUSION: In addition to supporting traditional claims and previously reported antidepressant properties for POEE, this study shows that POEE prevents stress-induced HPA hyperactivity.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jul 23;118(2):300-4

Interest of lignans in prevention and treatment of cancers.

Lignans are diphenolic compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom. They are mainly localised in lignified tissues, seeds and roots. These molecules are involved in plant defence mechanisms, but are also interesting for human health. Flax lignans belonging to the phytoestrogens are metabolised after ingestion into enterolignans that may offer a protection against the onset and development of hormono-dependant cancers. In vitro studies based on mammalian cellular models tend to confirm their beneficial effects observed during epidemiological studies and give us insights about their mechanisms of action. The most studied lignan, podophyllotoxin, and its semi-synthetic derivatives (etoposide, teniposide, etoposide phosphate), are particularly interesting at a curative level due to their cytotoxic properties. These semi-synthetic derivatives are used in chemotherapy of lung cancer for example. However, the extensive use of these anticancer drugs will lead to the problem of podophyllotoxin supply. This molecule is currently extracted from the rhizomes and roots of an Indian species Podophyllum hexandrum which has subsequently become endangered. Strategies are investigated to obtain economically viable alternative sources of Podophyllotoxin from plants and in vitro cultures of several species. Among them, north american Podophyllum peltatum, Linum wild species, Hyptis, Anthriscus, Juniperus or Dysosma species which accumulate Podophyllotoxin or closely related derivatives, are good candidates. double dagger.

Med Sci (Paris). 2008 May;24(5):511-9

Antagonistic effect of Lepidium meyenii (red maca) on prostatic hyperplasia in adult mice.

The plants from the Lepidium gender have demonstrated to have effect on the size of the prostate. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) is a Peruvian plant that grows exclusively over 4000 m above sea level. The present study was designed to determine the effect of red maca (RM) in the prostate hyperplasia induced with testosterone enanthate (TE) in adult mice. Prostate hyperplasia was induced by administering TE, and then these animals (n = 6, each group) were treated with RM or Finasteride (positive control) for 21 days. There was an additional group without prostate hyperplasia (vehicle). Mice were killed on days 7, 14 and 21 after treatment with RM. Testosterone and oestradiol levels were measured on the last day of treatment. Prostatic stroma, epithelium and acini were measured histologically. RM reduced prostate weight at 21 days of treatment. Weights of seminal vesicles, testis and epididymis were not affected by RM treatment. The reduction in prostate size by RM was 1.59 times. Histological analysis showed that TE increased 2-fold the acinar area, effect prevented in the groups receiving TE + RM for 14 (P < 0.05) and 21 (P < 0.05) days and the group receiving TE + Finasteride for 21 days (P < 0.05). TE increased prostatic stroma area and this effect was prevented by treatment with RM since 7 days of treatment or Finasteride. The reduction in prostatic stroma area by RM was 1.42 times. RM has an anti-hyperplastic effect on the prostate of adult mice when hyperplasia was induced with TE acting first at prostatic stromal level.

Andrologia. 2008 Jun;40(3):179-85

A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. Meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.

We sought to determine whether maca, a Peruvian plant, is effective for selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-induced sexual dysfunction. We conducted a double-blind, randomized, parallel group dose-finding pilot study comparing a low-dose (1.5 g/day) to a high-dose (3.0 g/day) maca regimen in 20 remitted depressed outpatients (mean age 36+/-13 years; 17 women) with SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. The Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX) and the Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Function Questionnaire (MGH-SFQ) were used to measure sexual dysfunction. Ten subjects completed the study, and 16 subjects (9 on 3.0 g/day; 7 on 1.5 g/day) were eligible for intent-to-treat (ITT) analyses on the basis of having had at least one postbaseline visit. ITT subjects on 3.0 g/day maca had a significant improvement in ASEX (from 22.8+/-3.8 to 16.9+/-6.2; z=-2.20, P=0.028) and in MGH-SFQ scores (from 24.1+/-1.9 to 17.0+/-5.7; z=-2.39, P=0.017), but subjects on 1.5 g/day maca did not. Libido improved significantly (P<0.05) for the ITT and completer groups based on ASEX item #1, but not by dosing groups. Maca was well tolerated. Maca root may alleviate SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, and there may be a dose-related effect. Maca may also have a beneficial effect on libido.

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91

Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the estrogenic and androgenic activity of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) and its effect on the hormonal profile and symptoms in postmenopausal women. DESIGN: Fourteen postmenopausal women completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. They received 3.5 g/day of powered Maca for 6 weeks and matching placebo for 6 weeks, in either order, over a total of 12 weeks. At baseline and weeks 6 and 12 blood samples were collected for the measurement of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin, and the women completed the Greene Climacteric Scale to assess the severity of menopausal symptoms. In addition, aqueous and methanolic Maca extracts were tested for androgenic and estrogenic activity using a yeast-based hormone-dependent reporter assay. RESULTS: No differences were seen in serum concentrations of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin between baseline, Maca treatment, and placebo (P > 0.05). The Greene Climacteric Scale revealed a significant reduction in scores in the areas of psychological symptoms, including the subscales for anxiety and depression and sexual dysfunction after Maca consumption compared with both baseline and placebo (P < 0.05). These findings did not correlate with androgenic or alpha-estrogenic activity present in the Maca as no physiologically significant activity was observed in yeast-based assays employing up to 4 mg/mL Maca extract (equivalent to 200 mg/mL Maca). CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary findings show that Lepidium meyenii (Maca) (3.5 g/d) reduces psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity.

Menopause. 2008 Sep 6

Changes in sexual hormones in a male population over 50 years of age. Frequency of low testosterone levels and risk factors.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the changes in sexual hormones in a selected male population older than 50 years of age. To assess the frequency of biochemical hypogonadism and which factors are related to testosterone levels. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A Cross-sectional study was carried out on 230 Spanish men older than 50 years of age. Blood tests were performed including: total testosterone, SHBG, calculated free testosterone, dehidroepiandrosterone sulfate, androstendione, estradiol, bioavailable estradiol, FSH, LH, and prolactin. Clinical and socio-demographic backgrounds were investigated. The frequency of biochemical hypogonadism was established using total and free testosterone levels as diagnostic criteria. Factors that may influence testosterone levels were evaluated by univariate and multivariate statistical analysis, and a logistic regression model was used to determine which factors can predict biochemical hypogonadism according to free testosterone levels. RESULTS: Age was associated with a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in total testosterone (0.6% per year), free testosterone (1.3% per year), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (1.8% per year) and bioavailable estradiol (0.69% per year). Moreover, an increase in SHBG, LH, and FSH was observed (p < 0.05). According to total testosterone levels, 4.8% of the men were hypogonadal, whereas 24.8% were hypogonadal when free testosterone was considered. In the univariate analysis, obesity, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipemia were related to lower total testosterone levels, while free testosterone levels were lower in men with sedentary life, lower levels of education, obesity or diabetes mellitus. In the multivariate analysis age, diabetes mellitus and obesity were inversely related to total and free testosterone levels. Free testosterone was also inversely related to hyperlipemia. For biochemical hypogonadism, simple logistic regression analysis selected age, sedentary life, obesity and diabetes mellitus. In the multivariate analysis age, obesity and diabetes mellitus had significant independent prognostic value. CONCLUSIONS: Starting from 50 years of age, a significant age-related decrease in total testosterone, free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and bioavailable estradiol is observed. The frequency of biochemical hypogonadism is higher when free testosterone levels are used for diagnosis. Total testosterone levels were related to age, diabetes mellitus and obesity. Free testosterone was related to age. diabetes mellitus, obesity and hyperlipemia. The probability of suffering low free testosterone levels increases with age, diabetes mellitus and/or obesity.

Actas Urol Esp. 2008 Jun;32(6):603-10

Free testosterone levels and implications on clinical outcomes in elderly men.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Aging is accompanied by a progressive decline in serum testosterone. Evidence concerning the clinical manifestations of low serum testosterone levels is contradictory. We aimed to examine the age-related decline in testosterone and the possible clinical outcomes, including erectile dysfunction, prostatism, cognitive function, daily life activities, depression, and osteoporosis. METHODS: One hundred and twenty men underwent comprehensive geriatric assessment. Testosterone and free testosterone levels were measured, geriatric assessment scales, International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and International Prostate Symptom Scale (IPSS) were performed, and bone mineral densities were determined. RESULTS: The mean age of the 120 men was 73.8+/-5.90. A significant decrease in testosterone and free testosterone levels with increasing age was determined (p=0.021). It was also found that erectile dysfunction, as determined by IIEF (r=0.66, p<0.001), and symptoms of prostatism determined by IPSS (r=-0.23, p=0.016), were significantly associated with low free testosterone levels. Laboratory parameters, obesity, osteoporosis, cognitive function, daily life activities, and cardiovascular diseases were not significantly different between groups with low and normal free testosterone levels. CONCLUSION: Age-related decrease in free testosterone may lead to erectile dysfunction and symptoms of prostatism in elderly men.

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2008 Jun;20(3):201-6

New steroidal aromatase inhibitors: suppression of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cell proliferation and induction of cell death.

BACKGROUND: Aromatase, the cytochrome P-450 enzyme (CYP19) responsible for estrogen biosynthesis, is an important target for the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer. In fact, the use of synthetic aromatase inhibitors (AI), which induce suppression of estrogen synthesis, has shown to be an effective alternative to the classical tamoxifen for the treatment of postmenopausal patients with ER-positive breast cancer. New AIs obtained, in our laboratory, by modification of the A and D-rings of the natural substrate of aromatase, compounds 3a and 4a, showed previously to efficiently suppress aromatase activity in placental microsomes. In the present study we have investigated the effects of these compounds on cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and induction of cell death using the estrogen-dependent human breast cancer cell line stably transfected with the aromatase gene, MCF-7 aro cells. RESULTS: The new steroids inhibit hormone-dependent proliferation of MCF-7aro cells in a time and dose-dependent manner, causing cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase and inducing cell death with features of apoptosis and autophagic cell death. CONCLUSION: Our in vitro studies showed that the two steroidal AIs, 3a and 4a, are potent inhibitors of breast cancer cell proliferation. Moreover, it was also shown that the antiproliferative effects of these two steroids on MCF-7aro cells are mediated by disrupting cell cycle progression, through cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase and induction of cell death, being the dominant mechanism autophagic cell death. Our results are important for the elucidation of the cellular effects of steroidal AIs on breast cancer.

BMC Cell Biol. 2008 Jul 24;9:41

Effects of aromatase inhibition in hypogonadal older men: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Objective: To assess the effects of sustained aromatase inhibition in older hypogonadal men. Design and patients: In a 1-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 88 men, aged 60 and older with testosterone levels between 5.2 and 10.4 nmol/L on a single measure or between 10.4 and 12.1 nmol/L on two consecutive measures, and symptoms of hypogonadism were recruited. Subjects received either anastrozole 1 mg daily or placebo. Measurements: Changes in gonadal steroid hormone levels, body composition (by computerized tomography (CT) and dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)), strength, prostate specific antigen (PSA), symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), hematocrit and lipid levels were assessed. Results: Testosterone levels increased from 11.2 +/- 3.3 nmol/L at baseline to 18.2 +/- 4.8 nmol/L at month 3 (p < 0.0001 vs. placebo) while bioavailable testosterone levels increased from 2.7 +/- 0.8 nmol/L at baseline to 5.4 +/- 1.7 nmol/L at month 3 (p < 0.0001 vs. placebo). Testosterone and biotestosterone levels peaked at month 3 and then declined by month 12 (though they remained significantly higher than baseline and greater than placebo). Estradiol levels decreased from 55.8 +/- 15.4 pmol/L at baseline to 42.2 +/- 13.6 pmol/L at month 3 and then remained stable (p < 0.0001). Body composition and strength did not change, nor did PSA, BPH symptoms, hematocrit or lipid levels. Conclusions: Anastrozole administration normalized androgen production in older hypogonadal men and decreased estradiol production modestly. These alterations did not improve body composition or strength.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2008 Jun 25

Enterolactone restricts the proliferation of the LNCaP human prostate cancer cell line in vitro.

Ecological data suggest a long-term diet high in plant material rich in biologically active compounds, such as the lignans, can significantly influence the development of prostate cancer over the lifetime of an individual. The capacity of a pure mammalian lignan, enterolactone (ENL), to influence the proliferation of the LNCaP human prostate cancer cell line was investigated as a function of cell density, metabolic activity, expression and secretion of prostate specific antigen (PSA), cell cycle profile, and the expression of genes involved in development and progression of prostate cancer. Treatment with a subcytotoxic concentration of ENL (60 muM for 72 h) was found to reduce: cell density (57.5%, SD 7.23, p < 0.001), metabolic activity (55%, SD 0.03, p < 0.001), secretion of PSA (48.50% SD 4.74, p = 0.05) and induce apoptosis (8.33-fold SD 0.04, p = 0.001) compared to untreated cells. Cotreatment with 10 muM etoposide was found to increase apoptosis by 50.17% (SD 0.02, p < 0.001). Additionally, several key genes (e. g. MCMs, survivin and CDKs) were beneficially regulated by ENL treatment (p < 0.05). The data suggest that the antiproliferative activity of ENL is a consequence of altered expression of cell cycle associated genes and provides novel molecular evidence for the antiproliferative properties of a pure lignan in prostate cancer.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 May;52(5):567-80

Aromatase inhibition by synthetic lactones and flavonoids in human placental microsomes and breast fibroblasts--a comparative study.

Interference of exogenous chemicals with the aromatase enzyme can be useful as a tool to identify chemicals that could act either chemopreventive for hormone-dependent cancer or adverse endocrine disruptive. Aromatase is the key enzyme in the biosynthesis of steroids, as it converts androgens to estrogens. Certain flavonoids, plant derived chemicals, are known catalytic aromatase inhibitors. Various systems are in use to test aromatase inhibitory properties of compounds. Commonly used are microsomes derived from ovary or placental tissue characterized by high aromatase activity. To a lesser extent whole cell systems are used and specifically cell systems that are potential target tissue in breast cancer development. In this study aromatase inhibitory properties of fadrozole, 8-prenylnaringenin and a synthetic lactone (TM-7) were determined in human placental microsomes and in human primary breast fibroblasts. In addition, apigenin, chrysin, naringenin and two synthetic lactones (TM-8 and TM-9) were tested in human microsomes only. Comparison of the aromatase inhibitory potencies of these compounds between the two test systems showed that the measurement of aromatase inhibition in human placental microsomes is a good predictor of aromatase inhibition in human breast fibroblasts.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008 May 1;228(3):269-76

In vitro and in vivo modulation of testosterone mediated alterations in apoptosis related proteins by [6]-gingerol.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae) has been widely used as a dietary spice, and as a traditional oriental medicine. The rhizome of ginger contains pungent vanillyl ketones, including [6]-gingerol and [6]-paradol, and have been credited with therapeutic and preventive health benefits, including anti-cancer activity. Prostate cancer is an attractive target for chemoprevention because of its ubiquity, treatment-related morbidity, long latency between premalignant lesions and clinically evident cancer, and defined molecular pathogenesis. Here we are reporting the modulatory effects of [6]-gingerol on testosterone-induced alterations on apoptosis related proteins in both in vitro, androgen sensitive LNCaP cells and in vivo, ventral prostate of Swiss albino mice. [6]-gingerol treatment resulted apoptosis in LNCaP cells, as indicated by depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential, increase in sub G1 cell population by flow cytometry and the appearance of DNA laddering pattern in agarose gel electrophoresis. Results of western blot analysis showed that [6]-gingerol upregulated the testosterone depleted levels of p53 in mouse prostate and upregulated its downstream regulator Bax and further activated Caspase-9 and Caspase-3 in both LNCaP cells and in mouse prostate. We also found downregulation of testosterone induced antiapoptotic proteins, Bcl-2 and Survivin expression by [6]-gingerol in both LNCaP cells and in mouse ventral prostate. Thus, [6]-gingerol shows its protective effects in both in vivo and in vitro prostate cancer models by modulation of proteins involved in apoptosis pathway.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Dec;51(12):1492-502

Dose-response effect of Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on benign prostatic hyperplasia induced by testosterone enanthate.

The main goal of this study was to determine the effect of a freeze-dried aqueous extract of the red variety of Lepidium meyenii (Red Maca) on testosterone-induced benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in adult rats of the Holtzman strain. Rats were treated with freeze-dried aqueous extract of Red Maca at doses of 0, 0.01, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.5 g/kg body wt. A positive control group received Finasteride (0.6 mg/kg body wt.). After treatment, the animals were sacrificed, and the ventral prostate was extracted, and weighed. HPLC was used to determine the presence of glucosinolates in Red Maca. The prostate weight diminished in a dose-dependent fashion in rats treated with Red Maca. The effect of Red Maca was better than that observed with Finasteride. Finasteride, but not Red Maca, reduced seminal vesicles weight. Analysis of the HPLC indicated the presence of benzyl glucosinolate (Glucotropaeolin) with a content of 0.639%. Serum testosterone levels were not affected by Red Maca. Moreover, serum testosterone levels were not related to prostate or seminal vesicles weight in rats treated with vehicle and Red Maca. In conclusion, Red Maca administered orally in rats seems to exert an inhibitory effect at a level post DHT conversion, on the BPH-induced experimentally, although a direct measure of reductase action would still be required.

Phytomedicine. 2007 Aug;14(7-8):460-4

Testosterone and the brain.

Gender differences in spatial recognition, and age-related declines in cognition and mood, point towards testosterone as an important modulator of cerebral functions. Testosterone appears to activate a distributed cortical network, the ventral processing stream, during spatial cognition tasks, and addition of testosterone improves spatial cognition in younger and older hypogonadal men. In addition, reduced testosterone is associated with depressive disorders. The relationship between depression and testosterone appears to partly depend upon the androgen receptor genotype of the patient, and in appropriate patients with low testosterone levels, testosterone substitution can increase positive mood and decrease negative mood. The much publicized link between testosterone and aggression is probably only of importance in athletes who supplement their testosterone levels to excessively high levels, whereas in hypogonadal men, testosterone supplementation only enhances the positive aspects of aggression such as vigour and energy. Current data suggest that testosterone supplementation in hypogonadal men of all ages will enhance many aspects of mood and cognition.

Aging Male. 2006 Dec;9(4):195-9

In men older than 70 years, total testosterone remains stable while free testosterone declines with age. The Health in Men Study.

OBJECTIVE: An age-related decline in serum total and free testosterone concentration may contribute to ill health in men, but limited data are available for men > 70 years of age. We sought to determine the distribution and associations of reduced testosterone concentrations in older men. DESIGN: The Health in Men Study is a community-representative prospective cohort investigation of 4,263 men aged > or = 70 years. Cross-sectional hormone data from 3,645 men were analysed. METHODS: Early morning sera were assayed for total testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and LH. Free testosterone was calculated using the Vermeulen method. RESULTS: Mean (+/- s.d.) serum total testosterone was 15.4 +/- 5.6 nmol/l (444 +/- 162 ng/dl), SHBG 42.4 +/- 16.7 nmol/l and free testosterone 278 +/- 96 pmol/l (8.01 +/- 2.78 ng/dl). Total testosterone correlated with SHBG (Spearman’s r = 0.6, P < 0.0001). LH and SHBG increased with age (r = 0.2, P < 0.0001 for both). Instead of declining, total testosterone increased marginally (r = 0.04, P = 0.007) whilst free testosterone declined with age (r = -0.1, P < 0.0001). Free testosterone was inversely correlated with LH (r = -0.1, P < 0.0001). In multivariate analyses, increasing age, body mass index (BMI) and LH were associated with lower free testosterone. CONCLUSIONS: In men aged 70-89 years, modulation of androgen action may occur via an age-related increase in SHBG and reduction in free testosterone without a decline in total testosterone concentration. Increasing age, BMI and LH are independently associated with lower free testosterone. Further investigation would be required to assess the clinical consequences of low serum free testosterone, particularly in older men in whom total testosterone may be preserved.

Eur J Endocrinol. 2007 May;156(5):585-94

Estrogen receptor alpha gene polymorphisms associated with incident aging macula disorder.

PURPOSE: It has been suggested that early menopause increases the risk of aging-macula disorder (AMD), the major cause of incurable blindness with a dry and wet late subtype, and that exposure to endogenous or postmenopausal exogenous estrogens reduces this risk. This study was undertaken to investigate whether genetic variations in the estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) gene are associated with incident AMD. METHODS: In the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort study of participants aged 55 years and older, associations between ESR1 PvuII-XbaI haplotypes and incident early or late AMD were studied in 4,571 participants after a mean follow-up time of 7.7 years. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs), with adjustment for the most common confounders. RESULTS: ESR1 PvuII-XbaI haplotype 1 was a risk factor for late AMD. Persons with two copies of haplotype 1 were at 3.20 (95% CI, 1.47-6.99) times higher risk for late AMD than noncarriers of haplotype 1, after adjustment for age and sex. This increase was more pronounced for wet AMD (hazard ratio [HR] 4.29; 95% CI, 1.47-12.49) after adjustment for age, sex, smoking, and complement factor H genotype. Correction for additional confounders, including age at menopause, use of hormone replacement therapy, blood pressure, and body mass index did not essentially alter the findings. CONCLUSIONS: Persons with one or two copies of ESR1 PvuII-XbaI haplotype 1 have an increased risk of late AMD, especially of the wet form.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Mar;48(3):1012-7

Serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate level in age-related macular degeneration.

PURPOSE: To evaluate plasma dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) levels in patients diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and controls. DESIGN: Case-controlled, prospective, comparative noninterventional study. METHODS: This study involved 32 men and 35 women with exudative AMD, 37 men and 38 women with nonexudative AMD, and 32 men and 32 women of an age-matched control group. The Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System was used to asses the severity of AMD lesions. DHEAS levels were measured and compared according to a gender based subdivision. Analysis of variance was used to assess the association between DHEAS and AMD. Linear regression model was used to examine the relation among DHEAS level and AMD severity scale. RESULTS: Mean +/- SD of DHEAS levels in exudative AMD, nonexudative AMD, and controls in men was 2.67 +/- 0.68 micromol/l, 2.89 +/- 0.95 micromol/l, and 4.43 +/- 1.44 micromol/l, respectively (P = .001), and in women was 1.64 +/- 0.72 micromol/l, 1.85 +/- 0.73 micromol/l, and 2.78 +/- 0.91 micromol/l, respectively (P = .001). Post hoc Tukey analyses revealed a significant reduction in serum DHEAS level in both AMD groups, compared with controls for men and women (P = .001), while no difference was found between AMD groups in both men and women (P = .668 and 0.49, respectively). Regression analyses revealed an inverse correlation among serum DHEAS level and AMD severity scale both in men and women (P = .006 and .007, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests an inverse correlation between serum DHEAS level and AMD severity scale with a considerably reduced DHEAS level in AMD.

Am J Ophthalmol. 2007 Feb;143(2):212-216

Age-related macular degeneration and mortality from cardiovascular disease or stroke.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vascular disease share similar risk factors. Recent data suggest AMD may independently predict stroke or coronary heart disease. We prospectively assessed the relationship between AMD and risk of stroke- or cardiovascular-related death in an Australian population. METHODS: Of 3,654 baseline participants (1992-4) aged 49+ years, 2335 were re-examined after 5 years and 1952 after 10 years. Retinal photographs were graded using the Wisconsin System. History and physical examination provided data on possible risk factors. Deaths and cause of death were confirmed by data linkage with the Australian National Death Index. Risk ratios (RR) were estimated in Cox models. RESULTS: Among persons aged <75 years at baseline, early AMD predicted a doubling of cardiovascular mortality (RR, 2.32; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.03 to 5.19), over the next decade, after controlling for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Late AMD predicted fivefold higher cardiovascular mortality (RR, 5.57; 95% CI, 1.35 to 22.99) and 10-fold higher stroke mortality (RR, 10.21; 95% CI, 2.39 to 43.60) after adjusting for age and sex only. These associations were not present when persons older than 75 were included. CONCLUSION: AMD predicted stroke and cardiovascular events over the long term in persons aged 49-75 years. This may have potential implications for new intravitreal anti-VEGF AMD therapies.

Br J Ophthalmol. 2008 Apr;92(4):509-12

Neurosteroids in the retina: neurodegenerative and neuroprotective agents in retinal degeneration.

Steroids may have a powerful role in neuronal degeneration. Recent research has revealed that steroids may influence the onset and progression of some retinal disorders as well as neurodegenerative diseases and, as in brain, they accumulate in the retina via a local synthesis (neurosteroids) and metabolism of blood-circulating steroid hormones. Their crucial role as neurodegenerative and neuroprotective agents has been also upheld in a retinal excitotoxic paradigm. These findings are reviewed especially from the emerging perspective that after an insult local changes in steroidogenic responses and consequent neurosteroid availability might turn out to be offensive or defensive cellular adaptations for the potentiation or prevention of neuronal death.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Dec;1007:117-28

Basal deposits and drusen in eyes with age-related maculopathy: evidence for solid lipid particles.

Neutral lipid, including esterified cholesterol, and apolipoproteins B and E are abundant in basal deposits and drusen of aged and age-related maculopathy (ARM) eyes. The principal component of basal linear deposit (BlinD), a specific ARM lesion, is membranous debris, which if actually derived from membranes cannot account for extracellular neutral lipid. We therefore used a lipid-preserving ultrastructural method to obtain improved images of membranous debris. Maculas from 44 human donors (71-96 yr) were preserved <7.5 hr after death. Blocks were post-fixed in 2% osmium or osmium-tannic acid-paraphenylenediamine (OTAP) to preserve neutral lipid for thin-section transmission electron microscopic (TEM) examination. Solid particles identified by OTAP were considered closest to the in vivo state of extracellular lipids. Micrographs were examined for intermediate forms, with greatest weight given to comparable images from different preparations of same or fellow eyes. Twenty eyes of older adults (12 with ARM including fellows treated with photodynamic and radiation therapies) had adequately preserved extracellular lipid. The exterior surface of membranous debris was thicker and more electron-dense than basal infoldings of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. By OTAP, individual membranous debris profiles were solid (diameters, 80-200 nm) and formed tracks across or aggregations within basal laminar deposits. Solid particles and/or pools of neutral lipid were visible in BlinD and drusen. When processed to preserve lipid, membranous debris resembles neither membranes of surrounding cells nor vesicles possessing aqueous interiors but rather solid particles. These results are consistent with recent evidence implicating lipoprotein particles of intra-ocular origin as a potential source of neutral lipids, including esterified cholesterol, in the specific lesions of ARM.

Exp Eye Res. 2005 Jun;80(6):761-75

Role of melatonin in the eye and ocular dysfunctions.

Melatonin is a ubiquitous molecule and widely distributed in nature, with functional activity occurring in unicellular organisms, plants, fungi, and animals. Several studies have indicated that melatonin synthesis occurs in the retina of most vertebrates, including mammals. The retinal biosynthesis of melatonin and the mechanisms involved in the regulation of this process have been extensively studied. Circadian clocks located in the photoreceptors and retinal neurons regulate melatonin synthesis in the eye. Photoreceptors, dopaminergic amacrine neurons, and horizontal cells of the retina, corneal epithelium, stroma endothelium, and the sclera all have melatonin receptors, indicating a widespread ocular function for melatonin. In addition, melatonin is an effective antioxidant which scavenges free radicals and up-regulates several antioxidant enzymes. It also has a strong antiapoptotic signaling function, an effect that it exerts even during ischemia. Melatonin cytoprotective properties may have practical implications in the treatment of ocular diseases, like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

Vis Neurosci. 2006 Nov-Dec;23(6):853-62

Current concepts in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration.

OBJECTIVE: To review and synthesize information concerning the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). METHODS: Review of the English-language literature. RESULTS: Five concepts relevant to the cell biology of AMD are as follows: (1) AMD involves aging changes plus additional pathological changes (ie, AMD is not just an aging change); (2) in aging and AMD, oxidative stress causes retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) and, possibly, choriocapillaris injury; (3) in AMD (and perhaps in aging), RPE and, possibly, choriocapillaris injury results in a chronic inflammatory response within the Bruch membrane and the choroid; (4) in AMD, RPE and, possibly, choriocapillaris injury and inflammation lead to formation of an abnormal extracellular matrix (ECM), which causes altered diffusion of nutrients to the retina and RPE, possibly precipitating further RPE and retinal damage; and (5) the abnormal ECM results in altered RPE-choriocapillaris behavior leading ultimately to atrophy of the retina, RPE, and choriocapillaris and/or choroidal new vessel growth. In this sequence of events, both the environment and multiple genes can alter a patient’s susceptibility to AMD. Implicit in this characterization of AMD pathogenesis is the concept that there is linear progression from one stage of the disease to the next. This assumption may be incorrect, and different biochemical pathways leading to geographic atrophy and/or choroidal new vessels may operate simultaneously. CONCLUSIONS: Better knowledge of AMD cell biology will lead to better treatments for AMD at all stages of the disease. Many unanswered questions regarding AMD pathogenesis remain. Multiple animal models and in vitro models of specific aspects of AMD are needed to make rapid progress in developing effective therapies for different stages of the disease.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Apr;122(4):598-614

Pregnenolone sulfate, a naturally occurring excitotoxin involved in delayed retinal cell death.

The present study was designed to investigate the neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate (PS), known for its ability to modulate NMDA receptors and interfere with acute excitotoxicity, in delayed retinal cell death. Three hours after exposure of the isolated and intact retina to a 30-min PS pulse, DNA fragmentation as assessed by genomic DNA gel electrophoresis and a modified in situ terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labeling (TUNEL) method appeared concurrently with an increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) levels. At 7 h, the increased amount of DNA laddering was accompanied by a higher number of TUNEL-positive cells in the inner nuclear and ganglion cell layers. Necrotic signs were characterized by DNA smear migration, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, and damage mainly in the inner nuclear layer. PS-induced delayed cell death was markedly reduced by the NMDA receptor antagonists 4-(3-phosphonopropyl)-2-piperazinecarboxylic acid and 3alpha-hydroxy-5beta-pregnan-20-one sulfate but completely blocked after concomitant addition of the non-NMDA receptor antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione. Steroids with antioxidant properties (progesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and its sulfate ester, and 17beta-estradiol) differently prevented PS-induced delayed cell death. Cycloheximide treatment protected against DNA fragmentation and LDH release but failed to prevent the rise in SOD activity and TBARS level. We conclude that a brief PS pulse causes delayed cell death in a slowly evolving apoptotic fashion characterized by a cycloheximide-sensitive death program downstream of reactive oxygen species generation and lipid peroxidation, turning into secondary necrosis in a retinal cell subset.

J Neurochem. 2000 Jun;74(6):2380-91

Apolipoprotein B in cholesterol-containing drusen and basal deposits of human eyes with age-related maculopathy.

Lipids accumulate in Bruch’s membrane (BrM), a specialized vascular intima of the eye, and in extracellular lesions associated with aging and age-related maculopathy (ARM). We tested the hypothesis that ARM and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease share molecules and mechanisms pertaining to extracellular lipid accumulation by localizing cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apo B) in BrM, basal deposits, and drusen. Human donor eyes were preserved <4 hours postmortem and cryosectioned. Sections were stained with traditional lipid stains and filipin for esterified and unesterified cholesterol or probed with antibodies to apo B, apo E, and apo C-III. Normal adult retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) was subjected to RT-PCR and Western blot analysis for apolipoprotein mRNA and protein. Esterified and unesterified cholesterol was present in all drusen and basal deposits of ARM and normal eyes. Both apo B and apo E but not apo C-III were found in BrM, drusen, and basal deposits. Fewer macular drusen were stained by traditional lipid stains and apolipoprotein antibodies than peripheral drusen. RPE contained apo B and apo E mRNA and protein. Finding cholesterol and apo B in sub-RPE deposits links ARM with important molecules and mechanisms in atherosclerosis initiation and progression. The combination of apo B mRNA and protein in RPE raises the possibility that intraocular assembly of apo B-containing lipoproteins is a pathway involved in forming cholesterol-enriched lesions in ARM.

Am J Pathol. 2003 Feb;162(2):413-25

Distribution and composition of esterified and unesterified cholesterol in extra-macular drusen.

More details about the distribution of esterified and unesterified cholesterol (EC, UC), abundant druse components, would inform models of druse biogenesis and new technologies for ocular imaging. From donors with grossly normal maculas (n=10, 66-86years), whose eyes were preserved in paraformaldehyde within 6h of death, extra-macular drusen encased with retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) were isolated manually. Cryosections of pelleted drusen, stained with filipin for UC and EC, were used to investigate filipin staining patterns within single drusen (n=193) and to quantify fluorescence (n=146). From lipid extracts of other drusen/RPE and RPE samples, total cholesterol (TC) and UC were determined by enzymatic fluorimetry. Drusen contained cores, basally located regions that were intensely bright when stained for UC or deeply dark when stained for EC; many were surrounded by concentric lamellae. Within the same cores, the EC-poor regions were significantly smaller (13.0mum) than UC-rich regions (17.1mum). Drusen with highly fluorescent EC-rich shells lacked UC-rich shells. Small spots representing lakes were visible only in drusen stained for EC. Some drusen had small, refractive spherical inclusions lacking both UC and EC. Of drusen examined, 32% had a UC-rich core, 35% had an EC-poor core, 31% had an EC-rich shell, 25% had EC-rich lakes, and 4-5% had UC-, EC-poor inclusions. Shells and cores occurred in significantly non-overlapping druse populations. The percentage of TC that was esterified ranged from 32-66% for drusen/RPE and 5-21% for RPE. The disposition of cholesterol in cores may reflect the activity of invading cellular process. The greater size of UC-rich cores relative to EC-poor cores may reflect a declining gradient of enzymatic activity with increased radial distance from the putative invaders. The relative sizes of sub-domains defined by cholesterol composition are compared to sub-domains detected in drusen by in vivo imaging methods.

Exp Eye Res. 2007 Aug;85(2):192-201

Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.

Obesity is a major epidemic, but its causes are still unclear. In this article, we investigate the relation between the intake of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and the development of obesity. We analyzed food consumption patterns by using US Department of Agriculture food consumption tables from 1967 to 2000. The consumption of HFCS increased > 1,000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group. HFCS now represents > 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the United States. Our most conservative estimate of the consumption of HFCS indicates a daily average of 132 kcal for all Americans aged > or = 2 y, and the top 20% of consumers of caloric sweeteners ingest 316 kcal from HFCS/d. The increased use of HFCS in the United States mirrors the rapid increase in obesity. The digestion, absorption, and metabolism of fructose differ from those of glucose. Hepatic metabolism of fructose favors de novo lipogenesis. In addition, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. Because insulin and leptin act as key afferent signals in the regulation of food intake and body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased energy intake and weight gain. Furthermore, calorically sweetened beverages may enhance caloric overconsumption. Thus, the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):537-43

Fructose ingestion enhances atherosclerosis and deposition of advanced glycated end-products in cholesterol-fed rabbits.

This study was performed to investigate whether the plasma concentration of phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxide (PCOOH), which is a marker of oxidized stress in the blood, increased in cholesterol-fed rabbits, and fructose ingestion promoted this process and aggravated atherosclerosis. Male Japanese white rabbits (age: 12 weeks, and body weight: around 2.0 kg, n = 15) were divided into three groups, (1) a NN group as a normal control fed a standard diet (n = 5), (2) a CN group fed 1.0% cholesterol, and (3) a CF group given both 1.0% cholesterol and 10% fructose-containing tap water. During 8 weeks, plasma PCOOH levels increased significantly in the CN and CF groups compared to the NN group and fructose further raised the PCOOH level. The atherosclerosis was significantly promoted and the deposition of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) was marked in the CF group compared to the CN group. Fructose worsened the atheromatous lesions caused by cholesterol feeding. The mechanism is most likely through lipid peroxidation, which was increased by cholesterol feeding-induced hyperlipidemia, and the formation of AGEs.

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2005;12(5):260-7

Effects of glucose-to-fructose ratios in solutions on subjective satiety, food intake, and satiety hormones in young men.

BACKGROUND: The greater prevalence of obesity and the metabolic syndrome in the past 35 y has been attributed to the replacement of sucrose in the food supply with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). OBJECTIVE: Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of solutions containing sucrose, HFCS, or various ratios of glucose to fructose (G:F) on food intake (FI), average appetite (AA), blood glucose (BG), plasma insulin, ghrelin, and uric acid (UA) in men. DESIGN: Sugar solutions (300 kcal/300 mL) were (in %) G20:F80, HFCS 55 (G45:F55), sucrose, and G80:F20 (experiment 1, n = 12) and G20:F80, G35:F65, G50:F50, sucrose, and G80:F20 (experiment 2, n = 19). The controls were a sweet energy-free control (experiment 1) and water (both experiments). Solutions were provided in a repeated-measures design. AA, BG, and FI were measured in all subjects. Hormonal responses and UA were measured in 7 subjects in experiment 2. Measurements were taken from baseline to 75 min. FI was measured at 80 min. RESULTS: Sucrose and HFCS (experiment 1) and sucrose and G50:F50 (experiment 2) had similar effects on all dependent measures. All sugar solutions similarly reduced the AA area under the curve (AUC). FI and plasma UA concentrations were significantly (P < 0.05) lower after high-glucose solutions than after low-glucose solutions. The lower FI was associated with a greater BG AUC (P < 0.05) and smaller AA and ghrelin AUCs (P < 0.01). Insulin and BG AUCs were positively associated (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Sucrose, HFCS, and G50:F50 solutions do not differ significantly in their short-term effects on subjective and physiologic measures of satiety, UA, and FI at a subsequent meal.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;86(5):1354-63

Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Currently, we are experiencing an epidemic of cardiorenal disease characterized by increasing rates of obesity, hypertension, the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease. Whereas excessive caloric intake and physical inactivity are likely important factors driving the obesity epidemic, it is important to consider additional mechanisms. We revisit an old hypothesis that sugar, particularly excessive fructose intake, has a critical role in the epidemic of cardiorenal disease. We also present evidence that the unique ability of fructose to induce an increase in uric acid may be a major mechanism by which fructose can cause cardiorenal disease. Finally, we suggest that high intakes of fructose in African Americans may explain their greater predisposition to develop cardiorenal disease, and we provide a list of testable predictions to evaluate this hypothesis.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;86(4):899-906

A critical examination of the evidence relating high fructose corn syrup and weight gain.

The use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has increased over the past several decades in the United States while overweight and obesity rates have risen dramatically. Some scientists hypothesize that HFCS consumption has uniquely contributed to the increasing mean body mass index (BMI) of the U.S. population. The Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy convened an expert panel to discuss the published scientific literature examining the relationship between consumption of HFCS or “soft drinks” (proxy for HFCS) and weight gain. The authors conducted original analysis to address certain gaps in the literature. Evidence from ecological studies linking HFCS consumption with rising BMI rates is unreliable. Evidence from epidemiologic studies and randomized controlled trials is inconclusive. Studies analyzing the differences between HFCS and sucrose consumption and their contributions to weight gain do not exist. HFCS and sucrose have similar monosaccharide compositions and sweetness values. The fructose:glucose (F:G) ratio in the U.S. food supply has not appreciably changed since the introduction of HFCS in the 1960s. It is unclear why HFCS would affect satiety or absorption and metabolism of fructose any differently than would sucrose. Based on the currently available evidence, the expert panel concluded that HFCS does not appear to contribute to overweight and obesity any differently than do other energy sources. Research recommendations were made to improve our understanding of the association of HFCS and weight gain.

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007;47(6):561-82

Fructose consumption as a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: While the rise in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) parallels the increase in obesity and diabetes, a significant increase in dietary fructose consumption in industrialized countries has also occurred. The increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup, primarily in the form of soft drinks, is linked with complications of the insulin resistance syndrome. Furthermore, the hepatic metabolism of fructose favors de novo lipogenesis and ATP depletion. We hypothesize that increased fructose consumption contributes to the development of NAFLD. METHODS: A dietary history and paired serum and liver tissue were obtained from patients with evidence of biopsy-proven NAFLD (n=49) without cirrhosis and controls (n=24) matched for gender, age (+/-5 years), and body mass index (+/-3 points). RESULTS: Consumption of fructose in patients with NAFLD was nearly 2- to 3-fold higher than controls [365 kcal vs 170 kcal (p<0.05)]. In patients with NAFLD (n=6), hepatic mRNA expression of fructokinase (KHK), an important enzyme for fructose metabolism, and fatty acid synthase, an important enzyme for lipogenesis were increased (p=0.04 and p=0.02, respectively). In an AML hepatocyte cell line, fructose resulted in dose-dependent increase in KHK protein and activity. CONCLUSIONS: The pathogenic mechanism underlying the development of NAFLD may be associated with excessive dietary fructose consumption.

J Hepatol. 2008 Jun;48(6):993-9

Fructose and the metabolic syndrome: pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms.

Emerging evidence suggests that increased dietary consumption of fructose in Western society may be a potentially important factor in the growing rates of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. This review will discuss fructose-induced perturbations in cell signaling and inflammatory cascades in insulin-sensitive tissues. In particular, the roles of cellular signaling molecules including nuclear factor kappa B (NFkB), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), c-Jun amino terminal kinase 1 (JNK-1), protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP-1B), phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN), liver X receptor (LXR), farnesoid X receptor (FXR), and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) will be addressed. Considering the prevalence and seriousness of the metabolic syndrome, further research on the underlying molecular mechanisms and preventative and curative strategies is warranted.

Nutr Rev. 2007 Jun;65(6 Pt 2):S13-23

Adverse effects of dietary fructose.

The consumption of fructose, primarily from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), has increased considerably in the United States during the past several decades. Intake of HFCS may now exceed that of the other major caloric sweetener, sucrose. Some nutritionists believe fructose is a safer form of sugar than sucrose, particularly for people with diabetes mellitus, because it does not adversely affect blood-glucose regulation, at least in the short-term. However, fructose has potentially harmful effects on other aspects of metabolism. In particular, fructose is a potent reducing sugar that promotes the formation of toxic advanced glycation end-products, which appear to play a role in the aging process; in the pathogenesis of the vascular, renal, and ocular complications of diabetes; and in the development of atherosclerosis. Fructose has also been implicated as the main cause of symptoms in some patients with chronic diarrhea or other functional bowel disturbances. In addition, excessive fructose consumption may be responsible in part for the increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes mellitus, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Although the long-term effects of fructose consumption have not been adequately studied in humans, the available evidence suggests it may be more harmful than is generally recognized. The extent to which a person might be adversely affected by dietary fructose depends both on the amount consumed and on individual tolerance. With a few exceptions, the relatively small amounts of fructose that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables are unlikely to have deleterious effects, and this review is not meant to discourage the consumption of these healthful foods.

Altern Med Rev. 2005 Dec;10(4):294-306

High fructose consumption combined with low dietary magnesium intake may increase the incidence of the metabolic syndrome by inducing inflammation.

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of common pathologies: abdominal obesity linked to an excess of visceral fat, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension. This syndrome is occurring at epidemic rates, with dramatic consequences for human health worldwide, and appears to have emerged largely from changes in our diet and reduced physical activity. An important but not well-appreciated dietary change has been the substantial increase in fructose intake, which appears to be an important causative factor in the metabolic syndrome. There is also experimental and clinical evidence that the amount of magnesium in the western diet is insufficient to meet individual needs and that magnesium deficiency may contribute to insulin resistance. In recent years, several studies have been published that implicate subclinical chronic inflammation as an important pathogenic factor in the development of metabolic syndrome. Pro-inflammatory molecules produced by adipose tissue have been implicated in the development of insulin resistance. The present review will discuss experimental evidence showing that the metabolic syndrome, high fructose intake and low magnesium diet may all be linked to the inflammatory response. In many ways, fructose-fed rats display the changes observed in the metabolic syndrome and recent studies indicate that high-fructose feeding is associated with NADPH oxidase and renin-angiotensin activation. The production of reactive oxygen species results in the initiation and development of insulin resistance, hyperlipemia and high blood pressure in this model. In this rat model, a few days of experimental magnesium deficiency produces a clinical inflammatory syndrome characterized by leukocyte and macrophage activation, release of inflammatory cytokines, appearance of the acute phase proteins and excessive production of free radicals. Because magnesium acts as a natural calcium antagonist, the molecular basis for the inflammatory response is probably the result of a modulation of the intracellular calcium concentration. Potential mechanisms include the priming of phagocytic cells, the opening of calcium channels, activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, the activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NFkB) and activation of the renin-angiotensin system. Since magnesium deficiency has a pro-inflammatory effect, the expected consequence would be an increased risk of developing insulin resistance when magnesium deficiency is combined with a high-fructose diet. Accordingly, magnesium deficiency combined with a high-fructose diet induces insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, endothelial activation and prothrombic changes in combination with the upregulation of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

Magnes Res. 2006 Dec;19(4):237-43

Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome.

This review explores whether fructose consumption might be a contributing factor to the development of obesity and the accompanying metabolic abnormalities observed in the insulin resistance syndrome. The per capita disappearance data for fructose from the combined consumption of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup have increased by 26%, from 64 g/d in 1970 to 81 g/d in 1997. Both plasma insulin and leptin act in the central nervous system in the long-term regulation of energy homeostasis. Because fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells, the consumption of foods and beverages containing fructose produces smaller postprandial insulin excursions than does consumption of glucose-containing carbohydrate. Because leptin production is regulated by insulin responses to meals, fructose consumption also reduces circulating leptin concentrations. The combined effects of lowered circulating leptin and insulin in individuals who consume diets that are high in dietary fructose could therefore increase the likelihood of weight gain and its associated metabolic sequelae. In addition, fructose, compared with glucose, is preferentially metabolized to lipid in the liver. Fructose consumption induces insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriacylglycerolemia, and hypertension in animal models. The data in humans are less clear. Although there are existing data on the metabolic and endocrine effects of dietary fructose that suggest that increased consumption of fructose may be detrimental in terms of body weight and adiposity and the metabolic indexes associated with the insulin resistance syndrome, much more research is needed to fully understand the metabolic effect of dietary fructose in humans.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):911-22

Fructose intake at current levels in the United States may cause gastrointestinal distress in normal adults.

OBJECTIVE: Fructose intake has increased considerably in the United States, primarily as a result of increased consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, fruits and juices, and crystalline fructose. The purpose was to determine how often fructose, in amounts commonly consumed, would result in malabsorption and/or symptoms in healthy persons. DESIGN: Fructose absorption was measured using 3-hour breath hydrogen tests and symptom scores were used to rate subjective responses for gas, borborygmus, abdominal pain, and loose stools. SUBJECTS/SETTING: The study included 15 normal, free-living volunteers from a medical center community and was performed in a gastrointestinal specialty clinic. INTERVENTION: Subjects consumed 25- and 50-g doses of crystalline fructose with water after an overnight fast on separate test days. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mean peak breath hydrogen, time of peak, area under the curve (AUC) for breath hydrogen and gastrointestinal symptoms were measured during a 3-hour period after subjects consumed both 25- and 50-g doses of fructose. STATISTICAL ANALYSES: Differences in mean breath hydrogen, AUC, and symptom scores between doses were analyzed using paired t tests. Correlations among peak breath hydrogen, AUC, and symptoms were also evaluated. RESULTS: More than half of the 15 adults tested showed evidence of fructose malabsorption after 25 g fructose and greater than two thirds showed malabsorption after 50 g fructose. AUC, representing overall breath hydrogen response, was significantly greater after the 50-g dose. Overall symptom scores were significantly greater than baseline after each dose, but scores were only marginally greater after 50 g than 25 g. Peak hydrogen levels and AUC were highly correlated, but neither was significantly related to symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Fructose, in amounts commonly consumed, may result in mild gastrointestinal distress in normal people. Additional study is warranted to evaluate the response to fructose-glucose mixtures (as in high-fructose corn syrup) and fructose taken with food in both normal people and those with gastrointestinal dysfunction. Because breath hydrogen peaks occurred at 90 to 114 minutes and were highly correlated with 180-minute breath hydrogen AUC, the use of peak hydrogen measures may be considered to shorten the duration of the exam.

J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Oct;105(10):1559-66

Advanced glycation end-product pentosidine accumulates in various tissues of rats with high fructose intake.

The slowly metabolized proteins of the extracellular matrix, typically collagen and elastin, accumulate reactive metabolites through uncontrolled non-enzymatic reactions such as glycation or the products arising from the reaction of unsaturated long chain fatty acid metabolites (possessing aldehydic groups). A typical example of these non-enzymatic changes is the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), resulting from the reaction of carbohydrates with the free amino group of proteins. The accumulation of AGEs and the resulting structural alterations cause altered tissue properties (increased stiffness, reduced elasticity) that contribute to their reduced catabolism and to their aging. Posttranslational nonenzymatic modifications of the proteins of the extracellular matrix (the formation of a typical AGE product--pentosidine) were studied in three types of tissue of three rat strains subjected to a high-fructose diet. Chronic (three-week) hyperglycemia (resulting from fructose loading) caused a significant increase in pentosidine concentration mainly in the aorta and skin of the three rat strains (Lewis, Wistar and hereditary hypertriglyceridemic rats).

Physiol Res. 2008;57(1):89-94

Long-term fructose consumption accelerates glycation and several age-related variables in male rats.

Fructose intake has increased steadily during the past two decades. Fructose, like other reducing sugars, can react with proteins through the Maillard reaction (glycation), which may account for several complications of diabetes mellitus and accelerating aging. In this study, we evaluated the effect of fructose intake on some age-related variables. Rats were fed for 1 y a commercial nonpurified diet, and had free access to water or 250 g/L solutions of fructose, glucose or sucrose. Early glycation products were evaluated by blood glycated hemoglobin and fructosamine concentrations. Lipid peroxidation was estimated by urine thiobarbituric reactive substances. Skin collagen crosslinking was evaluated by solubilization in natural salt or diluted acetic acid solutions, and by the ratio between beta- and alpha-collagen chains. Advanced glycation end products were evaluated by collagen-linked fluorescence in bones. The ratio between type-III and type-I collagens served as an aging variable and was measured in denatured skin collagen. The tested sugars had no effect on plasma glucose concentrations. Blood fructose, cholesterol, fructosamine and glycated hemoglobin levels, and urine lipid peroxidation products were significantly higher in fructose-fed rats compared with the other sugar-fed and control rats. Acid-soluble collagen and the type-III to type-I ratio were significantly lower, whereas insoluble collagen, the beta to alpha ratio and collagen-bound fluorescence at 335/385 nm (excitation/emission) were significantly higher in fructose-fed rats than in the other groups. The data suggest that long-term fructose consumption induces adverse effects on aging; further studies are required to clarify the precise role of fructose in the aging process.

J Nutr. 1998 Sep;128(9):1442-9

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