Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Sep 2008

Foot care

Diabetes mellitus and inflammatory periodontal diseases.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Periodontal diseases are inflammatory conditions that were once thought to have manifestations localized to the oral cavity alone, and were therefore considered the concern of only dentists and other oral health professionals. Emerging evidence has changed this view and now suggests that periodontal diseases may play a role in numerous conditions that impact systemic well being, including diabetes mellitus. This review examines the relationships that exist between periodontal diseases and diabetes mellitus, with a focus on potential common pathophysiologic pathways including those associated with inflammation, altered host responses, and insulin resistance. RECENT FINDINGS: Periodontal inflammation is associated with an elevated systemic inflammatory state and an increased risk of major cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and stroke, adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, low birth weight and preterm birth, and altered glycemic control in people with diabetes. Intervention trials suggest that periodontal therapy, which decreases the intraoral bacterial bioburden and reduces periodontal inflammation, can have a significant impact on systemic inflammatory status. Evidence suggests that periodontal therapy is associated with improved glycemic control in many patients with both diabetes and periodontal diseases. SUMMARY: Recognition of the bilateral relationships between oral and systemic health will challenge physicians and dentists to work together closely in the future when managing patients with diabetes and periodontal disease.

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2008 Apr;15(2):135-41

Association of periodontal disease and tooth loss with rheumatoid arthritis in the US population.

OBJECTIVE: To test for an association of periodontitis and tooth loss with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) is a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of noninstitutionalized civilians. We included participants aged > or = 60 years who had undergone both musculoskeletal and dental examinations. RA was defined based on American College of Rheumatology criteria. Dental examinations quantified decayed and filled surfaces, missing teeth, and periodontitis. Periodontitis was defined as at least 1 site exhibiting both attachment loss and a probing depth of > or = 4 mm. We classified dental health status as (1) no periodontitis, (2) periodontitis, or (3) edentulous (i.e., complete tooth loss). We performed multivariate multinomial logistic regression models with dental health status as the dependent and RA as the independent variables. RESULTS: The sample consisted of 4,461 participants, of whom 103 were classified as having RA. Participants with RA had more missing teeth (20 vs 16 teeth; p < 0.001), but less decay (2% vs 4%; p < 0.001) than participants without RA. After adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and smoking, subjects with RA were more likely to be edentulous [odds ratio (OR) 2.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.56 3.31] and have periodontitis (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.04 3.20) compared with non-RA subjects. In participants with seropositive RA there was a stronger association with dental health status, in particular with edentulism (OR 4.5, 95% CI 1.2 17). CONCLUSION: RA may be associated with tooth loss and periodontitis.

J Rheumatol. 2008 Jan;35(1):70-6

Maternal periodontal disease, systemic inflammation, and risk for preeclampsia.

OBJECTIVE: Maternal periodontal disease, a chronic oral infectious and inflammatory disorder, is associated with an increased risk for preeclampsia. Our objective was to determine the relationship between maternal periodontal disease, maternal systemic inflammation, and the development of preeclampsia. STUDY DESIGN: A secondary analysis of data from the Oral Conditions and Pregnancy Study was performed. A cohort of healthy pregnant women enrolled at less than 26 weeks underwent an oral health examination, serum sampling, and delivery follow-up. Periodontal disease was categorized clinically as present or absent. Maternal serum was assayed for C-reactive protein by high-sensitivity enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and stratified as elevated (> or = 75th percentile) or not elevated (< 75th percentile). Preeclampsia was defined as blood pressure > 140/90 mmHg and at least 1+ proteinuria on a catheterized urine specimen. Risk ratios (RR) for preeclampsia were calculated, stratified by periodontal disease and C-reactive protein level. RESULTS: Thirty-one (4%) of 775 women with complete data developed preeclampsia. Women with CRP > or = 75th percentile were more likely than those with CRP < 75th percentile to develop preeclampsia (7% vs 3%, P < .03; RR, 95% CI 2.2, 1.1-4.4). Women with periodontal disease and CRP > or = 75th percentile were at increased risk for preeclampsia (adjusted RR 5.8, 1.2-26.9), compared to women without periodontal disease and either CRP < 75th or > or = 75th percentile. CONCLUSION: Maternal periodontal disease with systemic inflammation as measured by C-reactive protein is associated with an increased risk for preeclampsia.

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Apr;198(4):389.e1-5

Rheumatoid arthritis, periodontal disease and coronary artery disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), periodontal disease (PD), and coronary artery disease (CAD) are common chronic inflammatory diseases. RA is associated with accelerated vascular risk resulting in an increased prevalence of CAD with attendant early mortality and excess morbidity. RA and PD have a common pathobiology. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to evaluate the association between RA, PD, and CAD and the influence of systemic inflammatory factors. A total of 100 active RA patients of which 50 had established CAD and 50 had no CAD were assessed for PD. All subjects underwent a clinical, cardiac, dental, laboratory, and radiological evaluation. Blood samples were obtained, and the level of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), total white blood counts (WBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), fibrinogen and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, total cholesterol (TC), and high density lipoprotein (HDL) were assayed. The findings of this study demonstrated an association between RA, PD, and CAD. The RA patients with CAD had significantly more PD than RA patients without CAD. The inflammatory markers, hsCRP, ESR, WBC, fibrinogen, and TNF-alpha, were raised in all patients but were significantly higher in RA patients with CAD who also had PD. HDL levels were lower in RA patients with CAD when compared to RA patients without CAD. Evidence from this study shows an association between RA, PD, CAD, and systemic levels of the inflammatory mediators. The implication is that inflammation may be the central link between the chronic inflammatory, autoimmune disorders, and atherosclerosis.

Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Apr;27(4):421-7

Periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in small animal veterinary medicine. In the vast majority of cases, however, there are little to no outward clinical signs of the disease process, and, therefore, therapy often comes very late in the disease course. Consequently, periodontal disease is also the most undertreated animal health problem. In addition, unchecked periodontal disease has numerous dire consequences both locally and systemically. These consequences are detailed in the article and should be utilized to educate clients and encourage compliance of therapeutic recommendations. The local consequences include oronasal fistulas, class II perio-endo lesions, pathologic fractures, ocular problems, osteomyelitis, and an increased incidence of oral cancer. Systemic diseases linked to periodontal disease include: renal, hepatic, pulmonary, and cardiac diseases; osteoporosis, adverse pregnancy effects, and diabetes mellitus. Before the discussion of consequences, this article covers the pathogenesis of periodontal disease, followed by clinical features and diagnostic tests.

Top Companion Anim Med. 2008 May;23(2):72-80

A review of the relationship between tooth loss, periodontal disease, and cancer.

Recent studies have investigated the association between periodontal disease, tooth loss, and several systemic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and preterm birth. Periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory condition, is highly prevalent in adult populations around the world, and may be preventable. Estimates of prevalence vary between races and geographic regions, with a marked increase in the occurrence of periodontal disease with advancing age. Worldwide estimates for the prevalence of severe periodontal disease generally range from 10 to 15%. The relationship between oral health and cancer has been examined for a number of specific cancer sites. Several studies have reported associations between periodontal disease or tooth loss and risk of oral, upper gastrointestinal, lung, and pancreatic cancer in different populations. In a number of studies, these associations persisted after adjustment for major risk factors, including cigarette smoking and socioeconomic status. This review provides a summary of these findings, discusses possible biological mechanisms involved, and raises methodological issues related to studying these relationships.

Cancer Causes Control. 2008 May 14

The potential impact of periodontal disease on general health: a consensus view.

BACKGROUND: Evidence for a link between periodontal disease and several systemic diseases is growing rapidly. The infectious and inflammatory burden of chronic periodontitis is thought to have an important systemic impact. Current evidence suggests that periodontitis is associated with an increased likelihood of coronary heart disease and may influence the severity of diabetes. SCOPE: This paper represents a UK and Ireland cross-specialty consensus review, undertaken by a group of physicians and dentists. The consensus group reviewed published evidence (PubMed search for review and original articles), focusing on the past 5 years, on the contributory role of periodontal disease to overall health. In particular, evidence relating to a role for periodontal disease in cardiovascular disease and in diabetes was considered. FINDINGS: Initial studies of large epidemiological data sets have sought to find links between periodontitis and systemic disease outcomes, but a causal relationship still needs to be demonstrated between periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes through prospective studies. There is a need for prospective studies assessing the association between periodontal disease and patients at particular risk of cardiovascular events which will allow assessment of both cardiovascular disease clinical endpoints and surrogate markers of cardiovascular risk. Of note, periodontal disease is also often more severe in subjects with diabetes mellitus, a group at already increased risk for cardiovascular events. CONCLUSIONS: While further research is needed to define the population-attributable risk of periodontal disease to both cardiovascular diseases and to diabetes control and progression, health education to encourage better oral health should be considered as part of current healthy lifestyle messages designed to reduce the increasing health burden of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 Jun;24(6):1635-43

The repressive effect of green tea ingredients on amyloid precursor protein (APP) expression in oral carcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo.

In a hamster model of N-methyl-N-benzylnitrosamine (MBN)-induced oral carcinogenesis, the incidence of buccal pouch (HBP) carcinomas in MBN-treated hamsters (17.8+/-7.5) was significantly higher than MBN-treated hamsters given tea (10.8+/-3.9) (P<0.05). Amyloid precursor protein (APP) expression was also significantly increased in MBN-induced HBP carcinomas but was significantly reduced by tea intake (P<0.0001). Furthermore, APP expression and secretion by OECM-1 oral squamous cell carcinoma cells was inhibited by a major polyphenolic ingredient of green tea, (-)-epigallocatechin gallate, in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, APP might promote oral carcinogenesis, whereas green tea ingredients might diminish it by down-regulating APP.

Cancer Lett. 2007 Jan 8;245(1-2):81-9

Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease: the heart of the matter.

BACKGROUND: Oral infection models have emerged as useful tools to study the hypothesis that infection is a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor. Periodontal infections are a leading culprit, with studies reporting associations between periodontal disease and CVD. The results, however, have varied, and it often is unclear what conclusions can be drawn from these data. SUMMARY: An association exists between periodontal disease and CVD. It is unknown, however, whether this relationship is causal or coincidental. Early studies predominantly used nonspecific clinical and radiographic definitions of periodontal disease as surrogates for infectious exposure. While most studies demonstrated positive associations between periodontal disease and CVD, not all studies were positive, and substantial variations in results were evident. More recent studies have enhanced the specificity of infectious exposure definitions by measuring systemic antibodies to selected periodontal pathogens or by directly measuring and quantifying oral microbiota from subgingival dental plaque. Results from these studies have shown positive associations between periodontal disease and CVD. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence continues to support an association among periodontal infections, atherosclerosis and vascular disease. Ongoing observational and focused pilot intervention studies may inform the design of large-scale clinical intervention studies. Recommending periodontal treatment for the prevention of atherosclerotic CVD is not warranted based on scientific evidence. Periodontal treatment must be recommended on the basis of the value of its benefits for the oral health of patients, recognizing that patients are not healthy without good oral health. However, the emergence of periodontal infections as a potential risk factor for CVD is leading to a convergence in oral and medical care that can only benefit the patients and public health.

J Am Dent Assoc. 2006 Oct;137 Suppl:14S-20S; quiz 38S

Low-grade inflammation in chronic infectious diseases: paradigm of periodontal infections.

Increasing evidence implicates periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the tooth-supporting structures, as a potential risk factor for increased morbidity or mortality for several systemic conditions including cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke), pregnancy complications (spontaneous preterm birth [SPB]), and diabetes mellitus. Cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort studies indicate that periodontitis may confer two- and up to sevenfold increase in the risk for cardiovascular disease and premature birth, respectively. Given the recently acquired knowledge that systemic inflammation may contribute in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and may predispose to premature birth, research in the field of periodontics has focused on the potential of this chronic low-grade inflammatory condition to contribute to the generation of a systemic inflammatory phenotype. Consistent with this hypothesis clinical studies demonstrate that periodontitis patients have elevated markers of systemic inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), haptoglobin, and fibrinogen. These are higher in periodontal patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) than in patients with AMI alone, supporting the notion that periodontal disease is an independent contributor to systemic inflammation. In the case of adverse pregnancy outcomes, studies on fetal cord blood from SBP babies indicate a strong in utero IgM antibody response specific to several oral periodontal pathogens, which induces an inflammatory response at the fetal-placental unit, leading to prematurity. The importance of periodontal infections to systemic health is further strengthened by pilot intervention trials indicating that periodontal therapy may improve surrogate cardiovascular outcomes, such as endothelial function, and may reduce four- to fivefold the incidence of premature birth. Nevertheless, further research is needed to fully discern the underlying mechanisms by which local chronic infections can have an impact on systemic health, and in this endeavor periodontal disease may serve as an ideal disease model.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1088:251-64

Salivary hydrogen peroxide produced by holding or chewing green tea in the oral cavity.

Tea (Camellia sinensis) catechins have been studied for disease prevention. These compounds undergo oxidation and produce H(2)O(2). We have previously shown that holding tea solution or chewing tea leaves generates high salivary catechin levels. Herein, we examined the generation of H(2)O(2) in the oral cavity by green tea solution or leaves. Human volunteers holding green tea solution (0.1-0.6%) developed salivary H(2)O(2) with C(max) = 2.9-9.6 microM and AUC(0 --> infinity) = 8.5-285.3 microM min. Chewing 2 g green tea leaves produced higher levels of H(2)O(2) (C(max) = 31.2 microM, AUC(0 --> infinity) = 1290.9 microM min). Salivary H(2)O(2) correlated with catechin levels and with predicted levels of H(2)O(2) (C(max(expected)) = 36 microM vs C(max(determined)) = 31.2 microM). Salivary H(2)O(2) and catechin concentrations were similar to those that are biologically active in vitro. Catechin-generated H(2)O(2) may, therefore, have a role in disease prevention by green tea.

Free Radic Res. 2007 Jul;41(7):850-3

Minimum inhibitory concentration of adherence of Punica granatum Linn (pomegranate) gel against S. mutans, S. mitis and C. albicans.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial effect of a Punica granatum Linn (pomegranate) phytotherapeutic gel and miconazole (Daktarin oral gel) against three standard streptococci strains (mutans ATCC 25175, sanguis ATCC 10577 and mitis ATCC 9811), S. mutans clinically isolated and Candida albicans either alone or in association. The effect of minimum inhibitory concentrations of the gels on the adherence of these microorganisms to glass was assessed in the presence of 5% sucrose, using increasing and doubled concentrations of the diluted solution of the gels ranging from 1:1 to 1:1024. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of adherence of Punica granatum L. gel against the test organisms were: 1:16 for S. mutans (ATCC), S. mutans (CI) and S. sanguis; 1:128 for S. mitis and 1:64 for C. albicans. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of adherence of miconazole against the same organisms were: 1:512, 1:64, 1:4, 1:128 and 1:16, respectively. In experiments with three and four associated microorganisms, the Punica granatum L. gel had greater efficiency in inhibiting microbial adherence than the miconazole. The results of this study suggest that this phytotherapeutic agent might be used in the control of adherence of different microorganisms in the oral cavity.

Braz Dent J. 2006;17(3):223-7

Xylitol and dental caries: an overview for clinicians.

An overview of studies about xylitol and dental caries suggests potential clinical dental applications for xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring, low-calorie sugar substitute with anticariogenic properties. Data from recent studies indicate that xylitol can reduce the occurrence of dental caries in young children, schoolchildren, and mothers, and in children via their mothers. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, is derived mainly from birch and other hardwood trees. Short-term consumption of xylitol is associated with decreased Streptococcus mutans levels in saliva and plaque. Aside from decreasing dental caries, xylitol may also decrease the transmission of S. mutans from mothers to children. Commercial xylitol-containing products may be used to help control rampant decay in primary dentition. Studies of schoolchildren in Belize and Estonia, along with data from the University of Washington, indicate that xylitol gum, candy, ice pops, cookies, puddings, etc., in combination with other dental therapies, are associated with the arrest of carious lesions. A prospective trial in Finland has demonstrated that children of mothers treated with xylitol had lower levels of S. mutans than children of mothers treated with chlorhexidine or fluoride varnish. Food products containing xylitol are available commercially and through specialized manufacturers, and have the potential to be widely accessible to consumers.

J Calif Dent Assoc. 2003 Mar;31(3):205-9

Effects of SCN-/H2O2 combinations in dentifrices on plaque and gingivitis.

OBJECTIVES: A 10-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study on 140 male subjects was conducted to determine the effect on plaque and gingivitis of 5 dentifrices containing various thiocyanate (SCN-)/hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) combinations. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The dentifrices consisted of a gel base without any detergents or abrasives (placebo, group A) to which SCN- and/or H2O2 were added as follows: 0.1% SCN- (group B), 0.5% SCN- (group C), 0.1% SCN-/0.1% H2O2 (group D), 0.5% SCN-/0.1% H2O2 (group E) and 0.1% H2O2 (group F). A baseline examination was performed in which the Silness and Löe Plaque Index (PI), the Mühlemann and Son Sulcus Bleeding Index (SBI), and the amount of gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) were recorded using the Periotron 6,000 on teeth 16, 12, 24, 36, 32, and 44. The subjects were randomly assigned to either the placebo group (n = 40) or one of the test groups (n = 20) and used their respective dentifrices over a period of 8 weeks. Finally, each group used the placebo for another 2 weeks (wash-out). Re-examinations were performed after 1, 4, and 8 weeks and the 2-week wash-out period employing the clinical parameters used at baseline. Intragroup changes were analyzed with the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test, using the baseline and wash-out points as references. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for comparisons between the treatment groups and the placebo group. RESULTS: At the 8-week examination, the plaque index in group E (p = 0.017) and group F (p = 0.032) was lower than in the placebo group. The Sulcus Bleeding Index in group F after 1 week was increased (p = 0.023) and the SBI in group E after 8 weeks was reduced (p = 0.047) as compared to the placebo group. CONCLUSION: The results demonstrated that a dentifrice containing 0.5% SCN- and 0.1% H2O2 but no detergents or abrasives inhibited plaque and decreased gingivitis.

J Clin Periodontol. 2001 Mar;28(3):270-6

Markers of systemic bacterial exposure in periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: Recent meta-analyses reported a weak association between periodontal disease (PD) on clinical examination and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Systemic bacterial exposure from periodontitis, which correlates poorly with the clinical examination, has been proposed as the more biologically pertinent risk factor. The purpose of this study was to review and analyze the association between PD with elevated systemic bacterial exposure and CVD. METHODS: We searched in the PubMed, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, EMBASE, and SCOPUS databases for all literature examining PD and CVD. From 10 selected publications, we extracted 12 cohort (N = 5) and cross-sectional (N = 7) studies and included 11 of these in a meta-analysis. With stratified analyses, this resulted in 14 analyses of coronary heart disease (CHD; N = 7), stroke (N = 4), and carotid intima-medial thickening (CIMT; N = 3) as a measure of early atherosclerosis. Systemic bacterial exposure was measured by periodontal bacterial burden (N = 1), periodontitis-specific serology (N = 12), or C-reactive protein (N = 1). RESULTS: Periodontal disease with elevated markers of systemic bacterial exposure was associated strongly with CHD compared to subjects without PD, with a summary odds ratio of 1.75 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.32 to 2.34; P <0.001). This group was not associated with CVD events or with stroke but was associated with a significant increase in mean CIMT (0.03 mm; 95% CI: 0.02 to 0.04). CONCLUSION: Periodontal disease with elevated bacterial exposure is associated with CHD events and early atherogenesis (CIMT), suggesting that the level of systemic bacterial exposure from periodontitis is the biologically pertinent exposure with regard to atherosclerotic risk.

J Periodontol. 2007 Dec;78(12):2289-302

Increases in human plasma antioxidant capacity after consumption of controlled diets high in fruit and vegetables.

BACKGROUND: The putative beneficial effects of an increased consumption of fruit and vegetables have been associated with antioxidant nutrients. However, the effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on the overall antioxidant status in humans is unclear. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate whether a diet rich in fruit and vegetables would affect the antioxidant capacity of human plasma. DESIGN: Thirty-six healthy nonsmokers resided in a metabolic research unit and consumed 2 sets of controlled diets. Diet A contained 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day for 15 d. Diet B was the same as diet A, except diet B also provided 2 servings of broccoli each day on days 6-10. There was a free-living period of a minimum of 6 wk between the 2 experiments using either diet A or diet B. Fasting plasma antioxidant capacity, measured as oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and alpha-tocopherol concentrations were determined on days 1, 6, 11, and 16. RESULTS: The fasting baseline plasma ORAC of these subjects was significantly correlated with their estimated daily intake of total antioxidants from fruit and vegetables during the previous year. Plasma ORAC of these subjects was significantly increased by both diets A and B. This increase in ORAC could not be explained by the increase in the plasma alpha-tocopherol concentration. CONCLUSION: Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables can increase the plasma antioxidant capacity in humans.

Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Nov;68(5):1081-7

Berry fruits for cancer prevention: current status and future prospects.

Overwhelming evidence suggests that edible small and soft-fleshed berry fruits may have beneficial effects against several types of human cancers. The anticancer potential of berries has been related, at least in part, to a multitude of bioactive phytochemicals that these colorful fruits contain, including polyphenols (flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, ellagitannins, gallotannins, phenolic acids), stilbenoids, lignans, and triterpenoids. Studies show that the anticancer effects of berry bioactives are partially mediated through their abilities to counteract, reduce, and also repair damage resulting from oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition, berry bioactives also regulate carcinogen and xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, various transcription and growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, and subcellular signaling pathways of cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, and tumor angiogenesis. Berry phytochemicals may also potentially sensitize tumor cells to chemotherapeutic agents by inhibiting pathways that lead to treatment resistance, and berry fruit consumption may provide protection from therapy-associated toxicities. Although a wide variety of berry fruits are consumed worldwide, this paper focuses on those commonly consumed in North America, namely, blackberries, black raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, red raspberries, and strawberries. In addition, a large body of studies on singly purified berry bioactives is available, but this paper focuses on studies of “whole berries” per se, that is, as berry extracts and purified fractions, juices, and freeze-dried powders. Potential mechanisms of anticancer action and bioavailability of berry phenolics, as well as gaps in knowledge and recommendations for future berry research, are also briefly discussed.

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 13;56(3):630-5

Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of Aronia melanocarpa fruit juice in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Aronia melanocarpa fruit juice (AMFJ) is rich in phenolic antioxidants, especially flavonoids from the anthocyanin subclass. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of AMFJ on plasma glucose and lipids in diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced by an intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (50 mg/kg). AMFJ was applied by gavage at doses of 10 and 20 ml/kg for 6 weeks to normal and diabetic rats. Streptozotocin caused a significant elevation of plasma glucose by 141% and of plasma triglycerides (TG) by 64% in comparison with normal control rats and induced statistically insignificant elevations of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol and a reduction of HDL-cholesterol. Applied to normal rats, AMFJ did not influence plasma glucose and lipid levels. Applied to diabetic rats, AMFJ (10 and 20 ml/kg) significantly reduced plasma glucose by 44% and 42% and TG by 35% and 39%, respectively, to levels that did not significantly differ from those of the normal control rats and counteracted the influence of streptozotocin on total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol. In conclusion, AMFJ significantly decreased the streptozotocin-induced abnormalities in blood glucose and TG in diabetic rats and might be useful in prevention and control of diabetes mellitus and diabetes-associated complications.

Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Mar;29(2):101-5

Fruit polyphenolics and brain aging: nutritional interventions targeting age-related neuronal and behavioral deficits.

Nutritional interventions, in this case, increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, can retard and even reverse age-related declines in brain function and in cognitive and motor performance in rats. Our lab has shown that as Fischer 344 rats age their brains are increasingly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Dietary supplementation with fruit or vegetable extracts high in antioxidants (e.g., blueberry, BB, spinach, respectively) can decrease this vulnerability to oxidative stress as assessed in vivo by examining reductions in neuronal signaling and behavioral deficits and in vitro via H2O2-induced decrements in striatal synaptosomal calcium buffering. Examinations have also revealed that BB supplementations are effective in antagonizing other age-related changes in brain and behavior, as well as decreasing indices of inflammation and oxidative stress in gastrocnemius and quadriceps muscles. In ongoing studies we are attempting to determine the most effective BB polyphenolic components. To date, the anthocyanins show the most efficacy in penetrating the cell membrane and in providing antioxidant protection. In sum, our results indicate that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidant activity may be an important component of a healthy living strategy designed to maximize neuronal and cognitive functioning into old age.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Apr;959:128-32

Blueberry supplementation enhances signaling and prevents behavioral deficits in an Alzheimer disease model.

Previously, we showed that blueberry (BB) supplementation reversed the deleterious effects of aging on motor behavior and neuronal signaling in senescent rodents. We now report that BB-fed (from 4 months of age) APP + PS1 transgenic mice showed no deficits in Y-maze performance (at 12 months of age) with no alterations in amyloid beta burden. It appeared that the protective mechanisms are derived from BB-induced enhancement of memory-associated neuronal signaling (e.g. extracellular signal-regulated kinase) and alterations in neutral sphingomyelin-specific phospholipase C activity. Thus, our data indicate for the first time that it may be possible to overcome genetic predispositions to Alzheimer disease through diet.

Nutr Neurosci. 2003 Jun;6(3):153-62

Direct vasoactive and vasoprotective properties of anthocyanin-rich extracts.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a critical role in the impairment of nitric oxide-mediated vascular functions and overall pathogenesis associated with cardiovascular disease. Plant pigment anthocyanins are exceptionally potent oxygen radical scavengers that produce beneficial effects in diseases outside the cardiovascular system. We examined for the first time the potential coronary vasoactive and vasoprotective properties of three anthocyanin enhanced extracts prepared from chokeberry (Ck), bilberry (B), or elderberry (E). Coronary arterial rings were isolated from 64 pigs and incubated in sterile tissue culture media overnight for use in one of four separate in vitro isometric force recording studies. Ck and B, but not E, produced dose- and endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. (%maximal relaxation at 5 mg total anthocyanins per liter: Ck = 68 +/- 11, B = 59 +/- 10). Coronary vascular tone, endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation to A23187, and vasorelaxation to DEA NONOate were not affected by exposure of rings to any extract at 0.05 mg total anthocyanins per liter for 5 or 30 min. Ck extract at 0.05 mg total anthocyanins per liter showed the greatest protection against loss of A23187 relaxation following exposure to ROS from pyrogallol (Ck, % maximal relaxation and -logED50 to A23187, respectively, means +/- SE: Ck alone, 93 +/- 5%, 7.91 +/- 0.1; pyrogallol alone, 76 +/- 7%, 7.46 +/- 0.06; pyrogallol + Ck, 98 +/- 1%, 7.82 +/- 0.06; control: 99 +/- 1%, 7.86 +/- 0.07; P < 0.05 control vs. pyrogallol alone). Neither the extracts nor pyrogallol affected responses to DEA NONOate. Thus anthocyanin-enhanced extracts produce endothelium-dependent relaxation in porcine coronary arteries. Extract concentrations too low to directly alter coronary vascular tone protect coronary arteries from ROS without altering vasorelaxation to endogenous or exogenous NO. These results suggest that such extracts could have significant beneficial effects in vascular disease.

J Appl Physiol. 2006 Apr;100(4):1164-70

Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure.

Consumption of pomegranate juice which is rich in tannins, possess anti-atherosclerotic properties which could be related to its potent anti-oxidative characteristics. As some antioxidants were recently shown to reduce blood pressure, we studied the effect of pomegranate juice consumption (50 ml, 1.5mmol of total polyphenols per day, for 2 weeks) by hypertensive patients on their blood pressure and on serum angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity. A 36% decrement in serum ACE activity and a 5% reduction in systolic blood pressure were noted. Similar dose-dependent inhibitory effect (31%) of pomegranate juice on serum ACE activity was observed also in vitro. As reduction in serum ACE activity, even with no decrement in blood pressure, was previously shown to attenuate atherosclerosis, pomegranate juice can offer a wide protection against cardiovascular diseases which could be related to its inhibitory effect on oxidative stress and on serum ACE activity.

Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):195-8

Antihyperlipidemic effect of Aronia melanocarpa fruit juice in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet.

Aronia melanocrpa fruit juice (AMFJ) used in our experiment was very rich in phenolic substances (709.3 mg gallic acid equivalents/100 ml juice). Anthocyanins (106.8 mg cyanidin-3-glucoside equivalents/100 ml juice) were the main flavonoid group. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of AMFJ on plasma lipids and lipoprotein profile, and histopathology of liver and aorta in rats with dietary-induced hyperlipidemia. AMFJ was administered by gavage for 30 days at doses of 5, 10, and 20 ml/kg body weight to rats fed a standard diet (SD) or a 4% cholesterol-containing diet (4% ChD). The 4% ChD caused a significant elevation of plasma total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TG). AMFJ did not significantly influence plasma lipids in rats fed the SD and significantly hindered the elevation of plasma TC, LDL-C and TG in rats fed the 4% ChD. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels were not significantly influenced either by the 4% ChD or by AMFJ. Neither the cholesterol feeding, nor AMFJ treatment induced any histopathological changes in rat liver and aorta. In conclusion, AMFJ showed an antihyperlipidemic effect in rats with hyperlipidemia and could be valuable in reducing this factor of cardiovascular risk.

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2007 Mar;62(1):19-24

Natural dietary polyphenolic compounds cause endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in rat thoracic aorta.

This study investigated the possible active principles which support the endothelial nitric oxide-dependent relaxation produced by red wine and other plant polyphenolic compounds in thoracic aorta from male Wistar rats (12-14 wk old). Relaxation experiments were recorded isometrically on vessels precontracted with norepinephrine. Ten different chromatographic fractions (3-18 mg) isolated from red wine polyphenolic compounds (RWPC) and some available defined polyphenols (10-15 mg) were tested. Fractions enriched into either anthocyanins or oligomeric condensed tannins exhibited endothelium-dependent vasorelaxant activity (maximal relaxation in the range of 59-77%) comparable to the original RWPC. However, polymeric condensed tannins elicited a weaker vasorelaxant activity than the original RWPC (maximal relaxation ranged between 20-47%, P < 0.01). Moreover, the representative of either phenolic acid derivatives (benzoic acid, vanillic acid, gallic acid), hydroxycinnamic acid (p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid) or the flavanol [(+)-epicatechin] classes failed to induce this type of response. Among the anthocyanins, delphinidin (maximal relaxation being 89%), but not malvidin or cyanidin, showed endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. These results show that anthocyanins and oligomeric-condensed tannins exhibited a pharmacological profile comparable to the original RWPC. These compounds may be involved in the reduction of cardiovascular mortality related to the presence of wine, fruits and vegetables in the diet.

J Nutr. 1998 Dec;128(12):2324-33

Blueberry prevents bone loss in ovariectomized rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

The objective of the present study was to explore the bone protective role of blueberry in an ovariectomized rat model. Thirty 6-month-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were either sham-operated (Sham) or ovariectomized (Ovx) and divided into three groups: Sham, Ovx (control), Ovx+blueberry (5% blueberry w/w). After 100 days of treatment, rats were euthanized, and blood and tissues were collected. Bone mineral density (BMD) and content of whole body, right tibia, right femur, and fourth lumbar vertebra were assessed via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. As expected, Ovx resulted in loss of whole-body, tibial, femoral, and 4th lumbar BMD by approximately 6%. Blueberry treatment was able to prevent the loss of whole-body BMD and had an intermediary effect on prevention of tibial and femoral BMD when compared to either Sham or Ovx controls. The bone-protective effects of blueberry may be due to suppression of Ovx-induced increase in bone turnover, as evident by lowered femoral mRNA levels of alkaline phosphatase, collagen type I and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase to the Sham levels. Similarly, serum osteocalcein levels were also lower in the blueberry group when compared to the Ovx control group, albeit not significantly. In summary, our findings indicate that blueberry can prevent bone loss as seen by the increases in BMD and favorable changes in biomarkers of bone metabolism.

J Nutr Biochem. 2008 Mar 5

Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai).

The fruit of Euterpe oleraceae, commonly known as acai, has been demonstrated to exhibit significantly high antioxidant capacity in vitro, especially for superoxide and peroxyl scavenging, and, therefore, may have possible health benefits. In this study, the antioxidant capacities of freeze-dried acai fruit pulp/skin powder (OptiAcai) were evaluated by different assays with various free radical sources. It was found to have exceptional activity against superoxide in the superoxide scavenging (SOD) assay, the highest of any food reported to date against the peroxyl radical as measured by the oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay with fluorescein as the fluorescent probe (ORACFL), and mild activity against both the peroxynitrite and hydroxyl radical by the peroxynitrite averting capacity (NORAC) and hydroxyl radical averting capacity (HORAC) assays, respectively. The SOD of acai was 1,614 units/g, an extremely high scavenging capacity for O2*-, by far the highest of any fruit or vegetable tested to date. Total phenolics were also tested as comparison. In the total antioxidant (TAO) assay, antioxidants in acai were differentiated into “slow-acting” and “fast-acting” components. An assay measuring inhibition of reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in freshly purified human neutrophils showed that antioxidants in acai are able to enter human cells in a fully functional form and to perform an oxygen quenching function at very low doses. Furthermore, other bioactivities related to anti-inflammation and immune functions were also investigated. Acai was found to be a potential cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 inhibitor. It also showed a weak effect on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide but no effect on either lymphocyte proliferation and phagocytic capacity.

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 1;54(22):8604-10

Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) polyphenolics in their glycoside and aglycone forms induce apoptosis of HL-60 leukemia cells.

The effects of açai polyphenolics on the antiproliferation and induction of apoptosis in HL-60 human leukemia cells were investigated. Interactions between anthocyanins and non-anthocyanin-polyphenolics in both their glycosidic and their aglycone forms were also investigated to determine additive or nonadditive responses. Polyphenolic fractions at 0.17-10.7 microM were found to reduce cell proliferation from 56 to 86% likely due to caspase-3 activation (apoptosis). Anthocyanin and polyphenolic fractions were nonadditive in their contribution to the cell antiproliferation activity. At equimolar concentrations, the glycosidic forms of phenolic acids and flavonoids induced a higher magnitude of change in cell parameters (proliferation and apoptosis) than their respective aglycone forms, while the opposite trend was observed for anthocyanin aglycones. This study demonstrated that açai offers a rich source of bioactive polyphenolics and confirmed the importance of investigating whole food systems when evaluating the potential health benefits of individual phytochemical compounds.

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 22;54(4):1222-9

Anthocyanin-rich extracts inhibit multiple biomarkers of colon cancer in rats.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the chemoprotective activity of anthocyanin-rich extracts (AREs) from bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.), chokeberry (Aronia meloncarpa E.), and grape (Vitis vinifera) by assessing multiple biomarkers of colon cancer in male rats treated with a colon carcinogen, azoxymethane. Fischer 344 male rats were fed the AIN-93 diet (control) or AIN-93 diet supplemented with AREs for 14 wk. Biomarkers that were evaluated included the number and multiplicity of colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF), colonic cell proliferation, urinary levels of oxidative DNA damage, and expression of cyclooxygenase (COX) genes. To assess the bioavailability, levels of anthocyanins in serum, urine, and feces were evaluated. Total ACF were reduced (P<0.05) in bilberry, chokeberry, and grape diet groups compared with the control group. The number of large ACF was also reduced (P<0.05) in bilberry and chokeberry ARE-fed rats. Colonic cellular proliferation was decreased in rats fed bilberry ARE and chokeberry ARE diets. Rats fed bilberry and grape ARE diets had lower COX-2 mRNA expression of gene. High levels of fecal anthocyanins and increased fecal mass and fecal moisture occurred in ARE-fed rats. There was also a significant reduction (P<0.05) in fecal bile acids in ARE-fed rats. The levels of urinary 8-hydroxyguanosine were similar among rats fed different diets. These results support our previous in vitro studies suggesting a protective role of AREs in colon carcinogenesis and indicate multiple mechanisms of action.

Nutr Cancer. 2006;54(1):84-93

Anti-inflammatory effects of aronia extract on rat endotoxin-induced uveitis.

PURPOSE: Aronia crude extract (ACE) with high levels of polyphenol compounds has been reported to have antioxidative effects in vitro and in vivo. In this study, attention was focused on the antioxidant effect of ACE. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of ACE on endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU) in rats. In addition, the endotoxin-induced expression of the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 proteins was investigated in a mouse macrophage cell line (RAW 264.7) treated with ACE in vitro, to clarify the anti-inflammatory effect. METHODS: EIU was induced in male Lewis rats by a footpad injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Immediately after the LPS inoculation, 1, 10, or 100 mg ACE or 10 mg prednisolone was injected intravenously. After 24 hours, the aqueous humor was collected from both eyes, and the number of infiltrating cells, protein concentration, nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin (PG)-E2, and TNF-alpha levels in the aqueous humor were determined. RAW 264.7 cells treated with various concentrations of ACE were incubated with 10 mug/mL LPS for 24 hours. Levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha were determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of iNOS and COX-2 proteins was analyzed by Western blot analysis. RESULTS: The number of inflammatory cells, the protein concentrations, and the levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha in the aqueous humor in the groups treated with ACE were significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of 100 mg ACE was as strong as that of 10 mg prednisolone. The anti-inflammatory action of ACE was stronger than that of either quercetin or anthocyanin administered alone. ACE also suppressed LPS-induced iNOS and COX-2 protein expressions in RAW 264.7 cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that ACE has a dose-dependent anti-ocular inflammatory effect that is due to the direct blocking of the expression of the iNOS and COX-2 enzymes and leads to the suppression of the production of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jan;46(1):275-81

Effects of 1,8-cineole on the dynamics of lipids and proteins of stratum corneum.

The interaction of a potent percutaneous penetration enhancer, 1,8-cineole, with the stratum corneum (SC) and DPPC membranes was investigated by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) of spin-labeled analogs of stearic acid (5-DSA) and androstanol (ASL). The EPR spectra of lipid derivatives spin probes structured in stratum corneum tissue of neonatal rat containing of 0.1-10% (v/v) 1,8-cineole in the solvent indicate an abrupt increase in membrane fluidity at around 1% 1,8-cineole. These spectra of stratum corneum membranes are characterized by the presence of two spectral components differing in mobility. Component 1 was attributed to the spin labels H-bonded to the headgroups, while component 2 possibly arose from spin labels H-bonded to water molecules or temporally non-hydrogen-bonded. With the addition of 1,8-cineole, the spin probes were transferred from the motionally more restricted component 1 to the more mobile component 2, suggesting that 1,8-cineole causes ruptures in the hydrogen-bonded network of the membrane-water interface, with consequent displacements of spin probes towards the hydrophobic core. 1,8-Cineole increased the rotational diffusion rates of component 2, whereas no significant mobility changes were observed in component 1. The EPR spectra of maleimide derivative spin label (6-MSL) covalently attached to stratum corneum proteins indicate that 1,8-cineole does not alter the dynamics of protein backbones. Instead, this terpene only increases the solvent’s ability to ‘dissolve’ and mobilize the nitroxide side chain, which is in agreement with its low irritation response.

Int J Pharm. 2007 Dec 10;345(1-2):81-7

Antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities of volatile oils and extracts from stems, leaves, and flowers of Eucalyptus sideroxylon and Eucalyptus torquata.

Eucalyptus species leaves have been traditionally used to heal wounds and fungal infections. Essential oils and extracts of some Eucalyptus species possess antimicrobial and antitumor properties. We sought to determine antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities of oils and extracts of leaves, stems, and flowers of Eucalyptus sideroxylon and Eucalyptus torquata grown in Egypt. An agar diffusion method was used to analyze antimicrobial activities of essential oils and extracts of Eucalyptus against medically important gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. A sulphorhodamine B assay was used to analyze the in vitro cytotoxic activities of oils and extracts against Human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (HEPG2), and Human breast adenocarcinoma cell line (MCF7). Gram-positive bacteria were highly susceptible to oils and extracts of both Eucalyptus species. With the exception of Escherichia coli, gram-negative bacteria were resistant to extracts, but susceptible to the oil obtained from at least one organ of E sideroxylon and E torquata. Although Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger were resistant to the extracts, essential oils of E sideroxylon and E torquata generally exhibited moderate to high antifungal activities against Candida albicans, A flavus and A niger. Oils of E torquata stems exhibited cytotoxic activities on MCF7 cells followed by oils of E torquata leaves and E sideroxylon leaves. However, oils from both species failed to exert cytotoxic effects on HEPG2 cells. This is the first report of antimicrobial and antitumor properties of E sideroxylon and E torquata. Results suggest a wider use of Eucalyptus species products in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food preparations.

Cancer Biol Ther. 2008 Mar;7(3):1-5

The menthol receptor TRPM8 is the principal detector of environmental cold.

Sensory nerve fibres can detect changes in temperature over a remarkably wide range, a process that has been proposed to involve direct activation of thermosensitive excitatory transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels. One such channel—TRP melastatin 8 (TRPM8) or cold and menthol receptor 1 (CMR1)—is activated by chemical cooling agents (such as menthol) or when ambient temperatures drop below approximately 26 degrees C, suggesting that it mediates the detection of cold thermal stimuli by primary afferent sensory neurons. However, some studies have questioned the contribution of TRPM8 to cold detection or proposed that other excitatory or inhibitory channels are more critical to this sensory modality in vivo. Here we show that cultured sensory neurons and intact sensory nerve fibres from TRPM8-deficient mice exhibit profoundly diminished responses to cold. These animals also show clear behavioural deficits in their ability to discriminate between cold and warm surfaces, or to respond to evaporative cooling. At the same time, TRPM8 mutant mice are not completely insensitive to cold as they avoid contact with surfaces below 10 degrees C, albeit with reduced efficiency. Thus, our findings demonstrate an essential and predominant role for TRPM8 in thermosensation over a wide range of cold temperatures, validating the hypothesis that TRP channels are the principal sensors of thermal stimuli in the peripheral nervous system.

Nature. 2007 Jul 12;448(7150):204-8

Menthol-induced Ca2+ release from presynaptic Ca2+ stores potentiates sensory synaptic transmission.

Menthol and many of its derivatives produce profound sensory and mental effects. The receptor for menthol has been cloned and named cold- and menthol-sensitive receptor-1 (CMR1) or transient receptor potential channel M8 (TRPM8) receptor. Using a dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and dorsal horn (DH) coculture system as a model for the first sensory synapse in the CNS, we studied menthol effects on sensory synaptic transmission and the underlying mechanisms. We found that menthol increased the frequency of miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs). The effects persisted under an extracellular Ca2+-free condition but were abolished by intracellular BAPTA and pretreatment with thapsigargin. Menthol-induced increases of mEPSC frequency were blocked by 2-aminoethoxydiphenylborane (2-APB) but not affected by the phospholipase C inhibitor U73122 [GenBank] or by the cADP receptor inhibitor 8-bromo-cADPR (8Br-cADPR). Double-patch recordings from DRG-DH pairs showed that menthol could potentiate evoked EPSCs (eEPSCs) and change the paired-pulse ratio of eEPSCs. A Ca2+ imaging study on DRG neurons demonstrated that menthol could directly release Ca2+ from intracellular Ca2+ stores. Menthol-induced Ca2+ release was abolished by 2-APB but not affected by U73122 [GenBank] or 8Br-cADPR. Taken together, our results indicate that menthol can act directly on presynaptic Ca2+ stores of sensory neurons to release Ca2+, resulting in a facilitation of glutamate release and a modulation of neuronal transmission at sensory synapses. Expression of TRPM8 receptor on presynaptic Ca2+ stores, a novel localization for this ligand-gated ion channel, is also strongly suggested.

J Neurosci. 2004 Jan 21;24(3):762-71

Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of essential oils of Eucalyptus.

Many species of the genus Eucalyptus from the Myrtaceae family are used in Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of various medical conditions such as cold, flue, fever, and bronchial infections. In the current investigation, we evaluated the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of essential oil extracts from three species of Eucalyptus employing various standard experimental test models. Using acetic acid-induced writhes in mice and hot plate thermal stimulation in rats, it was shown that the essential oils of Eucalyptus citriodora (EC), Eucalyptus tereticornis (ET), and Eucalyptus globulus (EG) induced analgesic effects in both models, suggesting peripheral and central actions. In addition, essential oil extracts from the three Eucalyptus species produced anti-inflammatory effects, as demonstrated by inhibition of rat paw edema induced by carrageenan and dextran, neutrophil migration into rat peritoneal cavities induced by carrageenan, and vascular permeability induced by carrageenan and histamine. However, no consistent results were observed for some of the parameters evaluated, both in terms of activities and dose-response relationships, reflecting the complex nature of the oil extracts and/or the assay systems used. Taken together, the data suggest that essential oil extracts of EC, ET, and EG possess central and peripheral analgesic effects as well as neutrophil-dependent and independent anti-inflammatory activities. These initial observations provide support for the reported use of the eucalyptus plant in Brazilian folk medicine. Further investigation is warranted for possible development of new classes of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs from components of the essential oils of the Eucalyptus species.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Dec;89(2-3):277-83

More than cool: promiscuous relationships of menthol and other sensory compounds.

Several temperature-activated transient receptor potential (thermoTRP) ion channels are the molecular receptors of natural compounds that evoke thermal and pain sensations. Menthol, popularly known for its cooling effect, activates TRPM8--a cold-activated thermoTRP ion channel. However, human physiological studies demonstrate a paradoxical role of menthol in modulation of warm sensation, and here, we show that menthol also activates heat-activated TRPV3. We further show that menthol inhibits TRPA1, potentially explaining the use of menthol as an analgesic. Similar to menthol, both camphor and cinnamaldehyde (initially reported to be specific activators of TRPV3 and TRPA1, respectively) also modulate other thermoTRPs. Therefore, we find that many “sensory compounds” presumed to be specific have a promiscuous relationship with thermoTRPs.

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2006 Aug;32(4):335-43

A review of the bioactivity of South African herbal teas: rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia).

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) are popular tisanes in their native South Africa and have a growing worldwide market. Both herbal teas are used traditionally for medicinal purposes and are rich in polyphenols with rooibos a rare source of the dietary dihydrochalcones, aspalathin and nothofagin. The principal polyphenols in honeybush include the xanthone mangiferin and the flavonones hesperitin and isokuranetin. Despite their divergent phytochemical and nutrient compositions, rooibos and honeybush share potent antioxidant and antimutagenic activities in vitro. Animal model studies indicate both herbal teas possess potent antioxidant, immune-modulating and chemopreventive actions. However, human studies of rooibos are limited and of honeybush are absent. No adverse effects of rooibos or honeybush consumption as tisanes have been reported.

Phytother Res. 2007 Jan;21(1):1-16

Studies of the antioxidative effects of green and black tea (Camellia sinensis) extracts in rats.

This paper reports a comparative study of the antioxidative effects of black and green tea extracts in sodium oxalate-challenged rats. A dose of 10 mg/kg of body weight of sodium oxalate was used to induce lipid peroxidation in vivo. Rats treated with sodium oxalate had 42.06 +/- 3.10 nM/hour, 45.39 +/- 9.75 mg/100 mL, 10.95 +/- 1.52%, 15.95 +/- 3.19 mg/dL, 112.25 +/- 5.15 mg/dL, 59.21 +/- 2.95 IU, 39.55 +/- 2.51 IU, and 150.62 +/- 9.62 KA/unit for serum levels of malondialdehyde, reduced ascorbic acid, catalase, cholesterol, phospholipid, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), respectively. These values are significantly (P < .05) different from values obtained from normal rats. Rats pretreated with 100 mg/kg of body weight of green tea had 27.59 +/- 3.56 nM/hour, 79.11 +/- 5.13 mg/100 mL, 4.23 +/- 0.36%, 50.09 +/- 5.24 mg/dL, 97.58 +/- 4.73 mg/dL, 23.10 +/- 1.59 IU, 31.14 +/- 1.26 IU, and 96.48 +/- 2.36 KA/unit for serum levels of malondialdehyde, reduced ascorbic acid, catalase, cholesterol, phospholipid, AST, ALT, and ALP, respectively, compared with 37.28 +/- 2.07 nM/hour, 72.62 +/- 2.10 mg/100 mL, 6.23 +/- 1.52%, 37.25 +/- 2.84 mg/dL, 78.05 +/- 2.36 mg/dL, 36.08 +/- 1.80 IU, 29.00 +/- 3.02 IU, and 109.23 +/- 6.32 KA/unit recorded for the same parameters in rats treated with black tea. The cholesterol to phospholipid ratio was increased from 0.14 +/- 0.04 in control rats to 0.47 +/- 0.02 and 0.51 +/- 0.01 by black and green tea extracts, respectively. These results suggest that tea extracts have antioxidant properties and that green tea extract is more potent.

J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):345-9

The effect of green, black and white tea on the level of alpha and gamma tocopherols in free radical-induced oxidative damage of human red blood cells.

The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of aqueous tea extracts on lipid peroxidation and alpha and gamma tocopherols concentration in the oxidative damage of human red blood cells (RBC). RBC was taken as the model for study of the oxidative damage was induced by cumene hydroperoxide (cumOOH). The antioxidative property of leaf green tea, leaf and granulate of black tea and white tea at levels 1, 2, 4 g/150 mL of water were evaluated. The correlation was observed between reducing power of tea extract and formation of malondialdehyde--MDA (an indicator of lipid peroxidation) in oxidative damage of RBC. All tea extracts at level of 4 g/150 mL of water significantly decreased concentration of MDA. The extract of green tea in comparison to black and white tea extracts at the same levels seems to be a better protective agent against oxidative stress. The antioxidant synergism between components extracted from leaves of green tea and endogenous alpha tocopherol in the oxidative damage of red blood cells was observed. The consumption of alpha tocopherol in oxidative damage of RBC was the lowest after treatment with the highest dose of green tea extract. All tea extracts did not protect against decrease of gamma tocopherol in human erythrocytes treated with cumOOH.

Acta Pol Pharm. 2007 Mar-Apr;64(2):159-64

Skin photoprotection by green tea: antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects.

Because of a characteristic aroma and health benefits, green tea is consumed worldwide as a popular beverage. The epicatechin derivatives, commonly called polyphenols, present in green tea possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. The major and most highly chemopreventive constituent in green tea responsible for the biochemical or pharmacological effects is (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Epidemiological, clinical and biological studies have implicated that solar ultraviolet (UV) light is a complete carcinogen and repeated exposure can lead to the development of various skin disorders including melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. We and others have shown that topical treatment or oral consumption of green tea polyphenols (GTP) inhibit chemical carcinogen- or UV radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis in different laboratory animal models. Topical treatment of GTP and EGCG or oral consumption of GTP resulted in prevention of UVB-induced inflammatory responses, immunosuppression and oxidative stress, which are the biomarkers of several skin disease states. Topical application of GTP and EGCG prior to exposure of UVB protects against UVB-induced local as well as systemic immune suppression in laboratory animals, which was associated with the inhibition of UVB-induced infiltration of inflammatory leukocytes. Prevention of UVB-induced suppression of immune responses by EGCG was also associated with the reduction in immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 production at UV irradiated skin and draining lymph nodes, whereas IL-12 production was significantly enhanced in draining lymph nodes. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of green tea were also observed in human skin. Treatment of EGCG to human skin resulted in the inhibition of UVB-induced erythema, oxidative stress and infiltration of inflammatory leukocytes. We also showed that treatment of GTP to human skin prevents UVB-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers formation, which are considered to be mediators of UVB-induced immune suppression and skin cancer induction. The in vitro and in vivo animal and human studies suggest that green tea polyphenols are photoprotective in nature, and can be used as pharmacological agents for the prevention of solar UVB light-induced skin disorders including photoaging, melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers after more clinical trials in humans.

Curr Drug Targets Immune Endocr Metabol Disord. 2003 Sep;3(3):234-42

Recipes for reconstituting skin.

Reconstituted Living Skin Equivalent (LSE) is made up of a dermal equivalent (DE) on which keratinocytes are plated where they give rise to a multilayered differentiated epidermis. The dermal equivalent develops through interactions between fibroblasts and collagen fibrils that begin to form after the cell-matrix precursor is cast. The gel that forms as a result of collagen polymerization and fluid trapping is contracted uniformly in all dimensions. By securing it at ends and edges in the mold in which it is cast, the final dimensions, strength and morphology of the forming tissue are altered. The same phenomena are seen in casting tubular tissues for the fabrication of small caliber blood vessel equivalents. The cells of the dermal equivalent are biosynthetically active and enrich the matrix to different degrees with secretory products, depending on how the cells are stimulated and on the presence or absence of an epidermis. Collagen biosynthesis by dermal cells in the DE is sensitive to growth factors, ascorbate concentrations and amino acid pools. Both ascorbate and TGF beta 1 increase total collagen biosynthesis at least two-fold by one week after tissue formation. With TGF beta 1 present, the capacity of cells in the DE to synthesize collagen increases with time, over a two-week period. If ascorbate (200 micrograms/ml) is added just after the tissue is cast and daily thereafter, contraction lattice is blocked, and collagen biosynthesis is enhanced relative to contracted controls that had received 200 micrograms/ml ascorbate once. The increase was nearly an order of magnitude over that of controls and was coordinate with a comparable increase in hyaluronate and sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production as shown by TCA-precipitable glucosamine in the intercellular matrix of the DE. Both the LSE and the Living Dermal Equivalent (LDE) exhibit complex responses to UV radiation and to various chemicals that are greatly different from responses given by monolayered cells.

J Biomech Eng. 1991 May;113(2):113-9

Lipophilic antioxidants in human sebum and aging.

Skin surface lipids (SSL), a very complex mixture of sebum mixed to small amounts of epidermal lipids, mantle the human epidermis, thus representing the outermost protection of the body against exogenous oxidative insults. The present work is a systematic and quantitative analysis of upper-chest SSL and their content in antioxidants in 100 healthy volunteers, divided into five age groups using TLC, HPLC, and GC-MS methods. Further, the effect of exposing SSL in vitro to increasing doses of UV irradiation was examined. Straight monounsaturated and diunsaturated as well as branched monounsaturated fatty acids of triglycerides and pooled fractions were found to be higher at maturity than in childhood and in advancing age. Diunsaturated fatty acids were below 3% of the total and constituted exclusively of C18:2delta5,8, C20:2delta7,10, C18:2delta9,12. Squalene, vitamin E (vit. E) and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) were found to increase from childhood to maturity to decrease again significantly in old age. Vitamin E and CoQ10 were the only known lipophilic antioxidants present in SSL. In spite of their low levels they were found to synergically inhibit the UV induced depletion of squalene, cholesterol and of unsaturated fatty acids of SSL. In fact, exposure of SSL to increasing amounts of UV irradiation led preferentially to lowering of the levels of vit. E and CoQ10. Four minimal erythema dose (MED) (5.6J/cm2) were able to deplete 84% vit. E and 70% ubiquinone, and only 13% squalene. Diunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids as well as cholesterol were unaffected even following 10 MED UV exposures, which produced a 26% loss of squalene. The same UV dose when applied in the absence of vit. E and CoQ10 produced a 90% decrease of squalene.

Free Radic Res. 2002 Apr;36(4):471-7

Palmitoleic acid isomer (C16:1delta6) in human skin sebum is effective against gram-positive bacteria.

The percent lipid composition of pooled human sebum analyzed by thin-layer chromatography was: ceramides (13%), fatty acid (47%), cholesterol (7%), cholesterol esters (2%), squalene (11%), triglycerides (3%), and wax esters (17%). Total sebum lipids (2- 4 mg/ml), sonicated into bacterial culture medium, caused 4- to 5-fold log reduction in growth of gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus salivarius and the anaerobe Fusobacterium nucleatum, but was ineffective against most gram-negative bacteria. Fractionation of the sebum lipids showed that both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids contained the bulk of the antimicrobial activity. Lauric acid (C12:0) was the most active saturated fatty acid. The unsaturated fatty acid, palmitoleic acid (C16:1delta6, cPA) was both the most predominant monoene and the most active antimicrobial fatty acid. Purified cPA (>99%) yielded typical minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 10-20 microg/ml against gram-positive bacteria. Organically synthesized cPA isomer gave MIC values comparable to the natural material. Both natural and synthetic cPA were found to be the most active sebum lipid fraction in blocking the adherence of a pathogenic strain of Candida albicans to porcine stratum corneum. Ethanol in combination with cPA exerts a synergistic bactericidal activity against gram-negative pathogenic bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Propionibacterium acnes, Escherichia coli, and several methacillin-resistant strains of S. aureus. Palmitoleic acid may be useful in topical formulations for treatment of secondary gram-positive bacterial infections, as a gram-positive bacteria antimicrobial in wound dressings, and as a natural gram-positive antimicrobial preservative in skin and hair care products.

Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2003 May-Jun;16(3):176-87

Coconut fats.

In many areas of Sri Lanka the coconut tree and its products have for centuries been an integral part of life, and it has come to be called the “Tree of life”. However, in the last few decades, the relationship between coconut fats and health has been the subject of much debate and misinformation. Coconut fats account for 80% of the fat intake among Sri Lankans. Around 92% of these fats are saturated fats. This has lead to the belief that coconut fats are ‘bad for health’, particularly in relation to ischaemic heart disease. Yet most of the saturated fats in coconut are medium chain fatty acids whose properties and metabolism are different to those of animal origin. Medium chain fatty acids do not undergo degradation and re-esterification processes and are directly used in the body to produce energy. They are not as ‘bad for health’ as saturated fats. There is the need to clarify issues relating to intake of coconut fats and health, more particularly for populations that still depend on coconut fats for much of their fat intake. This paper describes the metabolism of coconut fats and its potential benefits, and attempts to highlight its benefits to remove certain misconceptions regarding its use.

Ceylon Med J. 2006 Jun;51(2):47-51

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