Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Sep 2013


Melatonin antioxidative defense: therapeutical implications for aging and neurodegenerative processes.

The pineal product melatonin has remarkable antioxidant properties. It is secreted during darkness and plays a key role in various physiological responses including regulation of circadian rhythms, sleep homeostasis, retinal neuromodulation, and vasomotor responses. It scavenges hydroxyl, carbonate, and various organic radicals as well as a number of reactive nitrogen species. Melatonin also enhances the antioxidant potential of the cell by stimulating the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes including superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase, and by augmenting glutathione levels. Melatonin preserves mitochondrial homeostasis, reduces free radical generation and protects mitochondrial ATP synthesis by stimulating Complexes I and IV activities. The decline in melatonin production in aged individuals has been suggested as one of the primary contributing factors for the development of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. The efficacy of melatonin in preventing oxidative damage in either cultured neuronal cells or in the brains of animals treated with various neurotoxic agents, suggests that melatonin has a potential therapeutic value as a neuroprotective drug in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease (HD), stroke, and brain trauma. Therapeutic trials with melatonin indicate that it has a potential therapeutic value as a neuroprotective drug in treatment of AD, ALS, and HD. In the case of other neurological conditions, like PD, the evidence is less compelling. Melatonin’s efficacy in combating free radical damage in the brain suggests that it can be a valuable therapeutic agent in the treatment of cerebral edema following traumatic brain injury or stroke. Clinical trials employing melatonin doses in the range of 50-100 mg/day are warranted before its relative merits as a neuroprotective agent is definitively established.

Neurotox Res. 2013 Apr;23(3):267-300

Clinical aspects of melatonin intervention in Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Melatonin secretion decreases in Alzheimer´s disease (AD) and this decrease has been postulated as responsible for the circadian disorganization, decrease in sleep efficiency and impaired cognitive function seen in those patients. Half of severely ill AD patients develop chronobiological day-night rhythm disturbances like an agitated behavior during the evening hours (so-called “sundowning”). Melatonin replacement has been shown effective to treat sundowning and other sleep wake disorders in AD patients. The antioxidant, mitochondrial and antiamyloidogenic effects of melatonin indicate its potentiality to interfere with the onset of the disease. This is of particularly importance in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an etiologically heterogeneous syndrome that precedes dementia. The aim of this manuscript was to assess published evidence of the efficacy of melatonin to treat AD and MCI patients. PubMed was searched using Entrez for articles including clinical trials and published up to 15 January 2010. Search terms were “Alzheimer” and “melatonin”. Full publications were obtained and references were checked for additional material where appropriate. Only clinical studies with empirical treatment data were reviewed. The analysis of published evidence made it possible to postulate melatonin as a useful ad-on therapeutic tool in MCI. In the case of AD, larger randomized controlled trials are necessary to yield evidence of effectiveness (i.e. clinical and subjective relevance) before melatonin´s use can be advocated.

Curr Neuropharmacol. 2010 Sep;8(3):218-27

Therapeutic application of melatonin in mild cognitive impairment.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an etiologically heterogeneous syndrome defined by cognitive impairment in advance of dementia. We previously reported in a retrospective analysis that daily 3 - 9 mg of a fast-release melatonin preparation given p. o. at bedtime for up to 3 years significantly improved cognitive and emotional performance and daily sleep/wake cycle in MCI patients. In a follow up of that study we now report data from another series of 96 MCI outpatients, 61 of who had received daily 3 - 24 mg of a fast-release melatonin preparation p. o. at bedtime for 15 to 60 months. Melatonin was given in addition to the standard medication prescribed by the attending psychiatrist. Patients treated with melatonin exhibited significantly better performance in Mini-Mental State Examination and the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer’s disease Assessment Scale. After application of a neuropsychological battery comprising a Mattis´ test, Digit-symbol test, Trail A and B tasks and the Rey´s verbal test, better performance was found in melatonin-treated patients for every parameter tested. Abnormally high Beck Depression Inventory scores decreased in melatonin-treated patients, concomitantly with the improvement in the quality of sleep and wakefulness. The comparison of the medication profile in both groups of MCI patients indicated that 9.8% in the melatonin group received benzodiazepines vs. 62.8% in the non-melatonin group. The results further support that melatonin can be a useful add-on drug for treating MCI in a clinic environment.

Am J Neurodegener Dis. 2012;1(3):280-91

Effect of chronic L-dopa or melatonin treatments after dopamine deafferentation in rats: dyskinesia, motor performance, and cytological analysis.

The present study examines the ability of melatonin to protect striatal dopaminergic loss induced by 6-OHDA in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease, comparing the results with L-DOPA-treated rats. The drugs were administered orally daily for a month, their therapeutic or dyskinetic effects were assessed by means of abnormal involuntary movements (AIMs) and stepping ability. At the cellular level, the response was evaluated using tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity and striatal ultrastructural changes to compare between L-DOPA-induced AIMs and Melatonin-treated rats. Our findings demonstrated that chronic oral administration of Melatonin improved the alterations caused by the neurotoxin 6-OHDA. Melatonin-treated animals perform better in the motor tasks and had no dyskinetic alterations compared to L-DOPA-treated group. At the cellular level, we found that Melatonin-treated rats showed more TH-positive neurons and their striatal ultrastructure was well preserved. Thus, Melatonin is a useful treatment to delay the cellular and behavioral alterations observed in Parkinson’s disease.

ISRN Neurol. 2012;2012:360379

Pineal Calcification is Associated with Symptomatic Cerebral Infarction.

BACKGROUND: Pineal calcification and low melatonin have been shown to be risk factors for stroke in animal studies; however, there are limited clinical data on the association of pineal calcification and stroke in humans. METHODS: All computed tomographic (CT) scans of the brains of patients >15 years of age during the year 2011 at a university teaching hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Patient medical charts were used to obtain the risk factors for stroke, including diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, age, and sex. Cerebral infarction was identified by having clinical syndromes of stroke and a positive CT scan. Patients with embolic or hemorrhagic stroke were excluded. Pineal calcification was evidenced by the CT scans. The association of various stroke risk factors and cerebral infarction were calculated using logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: A total of 1,614 patients were included, and symptomatic cerebral infarction was identified in 620 patients (38.4%). Regarding stroke risk factors in symptomatic cerebral infarction patients, the majority of patients were male (356 [57.4%]), >50 years of age (525 [84.7%]), and had hypertension (361 [58.2%]); some had diabetes (199 [32.1%]) and dyslipidemia (174 [28.1%]). Pineal calcification was found in 1081 patients (67.0%), with a male:female ratio of 1.5:1. Significant factors related to cerebral infarction by univariate logistic regression were age >50 years, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and pineal calcification. Pineal calcification as a risk factor for cerebral infarction had an adjusted odds ratio of 1.35 (95% confidence interval 1.05-1.72). CONCLUSIONS: Pineal calcification may be a potential new contributor to cerebral infarction.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2013 Feb 20

Melatonin decreases matrix metalloproteinase-9 activation and expression and attenuates reperfusion-induced hemorrhage following transient focal cerebral ischemia in rats.

We have previously shown that melatonin reduces postischemic rises in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and improves neurovascular dysfunction and hemorrhagic transformation following ischemic stroke. It is known that activation of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of brain edema and hemorrhagic transformation after ischemic stroke. We, herein, investigated whether melatonin would ameliorate MMP-2 and MMP-9 activation and expression in a rat model of transient focal cerebral ischemia. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to a 90-min middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion using an intraluminal filament. Melatonin (5 mg/kg) or vehicle was intravenously injected upon reperfusion. Brain infarction and hemorrhage within infarcts were measured, and neurological deficits were scored. The activity and expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were determined by zymography, in situ zymography and Western immunoblot analysis. Cerebral ischemia-reperfusion induced increased pro-MMP-9 and MMP-9 activity and expression 24 hr after reperfusion onset. Relative to controls, melatonin-treated animals, however, had significantly reduced levels in the MMP-9 activity and expression (P < 0.01), in addition to reduced brain infarct volume and hemorrhagic transformation as well as improved sensorimotor neurobehavioral outcomes. No significant change in MMP-2 activity was observed throughout the course experiments. Our results indicate that the melatonin-mediated reductions in ischemic brain damage and reperfusion-induced hemorrhage are partly attributed to its ability to reduce postischemic MMP-9 activation and increased expression, and further support the fact that melatonin is a suitable as an add-on to thrombolytic therapy for ischemic stroke patients.

J Pineal Res. 2008 Nov;45(4):459-67.

Melatonin attenuates brain contusion-induced oxidative insult, inactivation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 1, and upregulation of suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 in rats.

The induction of oxidative stress and inflammation has been closely linked in traumatic brain injury (TBI). Transcriptional factors of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) proteins are redox sensitive and participate in the regulation of cytokine signaling. Previous studies demonstrated that melatonin protects neurons through its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects in various neuropathological conditions. However, the effect of melatonin on STAT activity after TBI has not yet been explored. In this study, we used a controlled weight-drop TBI model and found that brain contusion induced oxidative stress (a decreased level of total glutathione and an increased ratio of oxidized glutathione to total glutathione), a reduction in STAT1 DNA-binding activity, and consequently neuronal loss in a contusion depth-dependent manner. A significant increased mRNA expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS3), inducible nitric oxide synthetase (iNOS), and interleukine-6 (IL-6), but a decreased protein expression of protein inhibitor of activated STAT (PIAS1), was found 24 hr after brain contusion. SOCS3 and PIAS1 are endogenous negative regulators of STAT1. Moreover, the combination of intraperitoneal and local (presoaked in gelfoam and placed on the traumatic cortex) administration of melatonin had the most pronounced influence in inhibiting all effects except the PIAS1 downregulation induced by brain contusion. The results suggest that SOCS-3 upregulation and oxidative stress may contribute to the STAT1 inactivation after TBI. Melatonin protects neurons from TBI by reducing oxidative stress, STAT1 inactivation, and upregulation of SOCS-3 and pro-inflammatory cytokines.

J Pineal Res. 2011 Sep;51(2):233-45

The therapeutic effects of melatonin and nimodipine in rats after cerebral cortical injury.

AIM: Secondary brain injury starts after the initial traumatic impact and marked by an increase in the intracellular calcium concentrations. This cascade eventually results in membrane lipid peroxidation and neuronal cell death. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We investigated the neuro-protective effects of nimodipine and melatonin in 38 rats after 6 hours of head trauma using the cortical impact injury model of Marmarou. RESULTS: Brain water in the melatonin-given group decreased significantly comparing to that of control group the brain water in the nimodipine given group increased significantly comparing to that of trauma group. Histopathologically, brain edema was significantly low in melatonin-administered group comparing to that of control group while there were no changes in brain edema in the nimodipine given group and in the group that both nimodipine and melatonin were administered in combination. MDA levels in the brain tissues were significantly lower in the melatonin and nimodipine groups comparing to those of trauma and control group however this difference was by far significant in melatonin group comparing to nimodipine group. CONCLUSION: Melatonin appears to have neuro-protective effects on the secondary brain damage while nimodipine and nimodipine plus melatonin combination did not show such neuro-protective effects on the secondary brain injury.

Turk Neurosurg. 2012;22(6):740-6

Melatonin preserves longevity protein (sirtuin 1) expression in the hippocampus of total sleep-deprived rats.

Sleep disorders cause cognitive dysfunction in which impaired neuronal plasticity in the hippocampus may underline the molecular mechanisms of this deficiency. As sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) plays an important role in maintaining metabolic homeostasis and neuronal plasticity, this study is aimed to determine whether melatonin exerts beneficial effects on preserving SIRT1 activation following total sleep deprivation (TSD). TSD was performed by disc on water method for five consecutive days. During this period, animals daily received melatonin at doses of 5, 25, 50 or 100 mg/kg. The cytochrome oxidase (COX) histochemistry, SIRT1 immunohistochemistry together with Morris water maze learning test were performed to examine the metabolic, neurochemical, as well as the behavioral changes in neuronal plasticity, respectively. The results indicate that in normal rats, numerous COX and SIRT1 positive-labeled neurons with strong staining intensities were found in hippocampal pyramidal and granular cell layers. Following TSD, both COX and SIRT1 reactivities were drastically decreased as revealed by reduced staining pattern and labeling frequency. Behavioral data corresponded well with morphological findings in which spatial memory test in water maze was significantly impaired after TSD. However, in rats receiving different doses of melatonin, both COX and SIRT1 expressions were successfully preserved. Considerably better performance on behavioral testing further strengthened the beneficial effects of melatonin. These findings suggest that melatonin may serve as a novel therapeutic strategy directed for preventing the memory deficits resulting from TSD, possibly by effectively preserving the metabolic function and neuronal plasticity engaged in maintaining cognitive activity.

J Pineal Res. 2009 Oct;47(3):211-20

Melatonin Potentiates the Neuroprotective Properties of Resveratrol Against Beta-Amyloid-Induced Neurodegeneration by Modulating AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Pathways.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Recent studies have demonstrated that resveratrol (RSV) reduces the incidence of age-related macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and stroke, while melatonin (MEL) supplementation reduces the progression of the cognitive impairment in AD patients. The purpose of this investigation was to assess whether the co-administration of MEL and RSV exerts synergistic effects on their neuroprotective properties against β-amyloid (Aβ)-induced neuronal death. METHODS: The neuroprotective effects of co-treatment with MEL and RSV on Aβ1-42-induced cell death, was measured by MTT reduction assay. Aβ1-42 caused an increase in intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as assessed by H(2)-DCF-DA dye, and a reduction of total glutathione (GSH) levels and mitochondrial membrane potential, as assessed using monochlorobimane and rhodamine 123 fluorescence, respectively. Western blotting was used to investigate the intracellular signaling mechanism involved in these synergic effects. RESULTS: We treated a murine HT22 hippocampal cell line with MEL or RSV alone or with both simultaneously. MEL and RSV alone significantly attenuated ROS production, mitochondrial membrane-potential disruption and the neurotoxicity induced by Aβ1-42. They also restored the Aβ1-42-induced depletion of GSH, back to within its normal range and prevented the Aβ1-42-induced activation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β). However, co-treatment with MEL and RSV did not exert any significant synergistic effects on either the recovery of the Aβ1-42-induced depletion of GSH or on the inhibition of Aβ1-42-induced GSK3β activation. Aβ1-42 treatment increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity, which is associated with subsequent neuronal death. We demonstrated that MEL and RSV treatment inhibited the phosphorylation of AMPK. CONCLUSIONS: Together, our results suggest that co-administration of MEL and RSV acts as an effective treatment for AD by attenuating Aβ1-42-induced oxidative stress and the AMPK-dependent pathway.

J Clin Neurol. 2010 Sep;6(3):127-37

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

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

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

Cancer cachexia and anabolic interventions: a case report.

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

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

Glycolytic inhibition as a strategy for developing calorie restriction mimetics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Multifunctional roles of lactoferrin: a critical overview.

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

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

Prevalence of malnutrition and 12-month incidence of mortality in two Sydney teaching hospitals.

AIMS: The objectives of the present study were to determine: (i) the prevalence of malnutrition in two Sydney teaching hospitals using Subjective Global Assessment (SGA), (ii) the effect of malnutrition on 12-month mortality and (iii) the proportion of patients previously identified to be at nutritional risk. METHODS: A prospective study using SGA to assess nutritional status of eligible inpatients, from April to September 1997, with a 12-month follow-up to assess mortality. A total of 819 patients was systematically selected from 2,194 eligible patients. Patients were excluded if they were under the age of 18, had dementia or communication difficulties, or were under obstetric or critical care. The main outcome measures were prevalence of malnutrition, 12-month incidence of mortality, proportion of patients identified with malnutrition, and hospital length of stay (LOS). RESULTS: The prevalence rate of malnutrition was 36%. The proportion of malnourished patients was not significantly different between the two hospitals (P = 0.4). The actuarial incidence of mortality at 12 months after assessment was 29.7% in malnourished subjects compared with 10.1% in well-nourished subjects (P < 0.0005). Malnourished subjects had a significantly longer median LOS (17 days vs 11 days, P< 0.0005) and were significantly older (median 71 years vs 63 years, P < 0.0005) than well-nourished subjects. Only 36% of the malnourished patients had been previously identified as being at nutritional risk. CONCLUSIONS: Malnutrition in Australian hospitals is a continuing health concern and is associated with increased LOS and decreased survival after 12 months. The present study revealed that malnourished patients were not regularly identified. Further studies are required to determine whether routine identification of malnutrition and subsequent nutritional intervention are effective in improving clinical outcomes in these individuals.

Intern Med J. 2001 Nov;31(8):455-61

Hospital malnutrition: prevalence, identification and impact on patients and the healthcare system.

Malnutrition is a debilitating and highly prevalent condition in the acute hospital setting, with Australian and international studies reporting rates of approximately 40%. Malnutrition is associated with many adverse outcomes including depression of the immune system, impaired wound healing, muscle wasting, longer lengths of hospital stay, higher treatment costs and increased mortality. Referral rates for dietetic assessment and treatment of malnourished patients have proven to be suboptimal, thereby increasing the likelihood of developing such aforementioned complications. Nutrition risk screening using a validated tool is a simple technique to rapidly identify patients at risk of malnutrition, and provides a basis for prompt dietetic referrals. In Australia, nutrition screening upon hospital admission is not mandatory, which is of concern knowing that malnutrition remains under-reported and often poorly documented. Unidentified malnutrition not only heightens the risk of adverse complications for patients, but can potentially result in foregone reimbursements to the hospital through casemix-based funding schemes. It is strongly recommended that mandatory nutrition screening be widely adopted in line with published best-practice guidelines to effectively target and reduce the incidence of hospital malnutrition.

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Feb;8(2):514-27

Chronic Neuron- and Age-Selective Down-Regulation of TNF Receptor Expression in Triple-Transgenic Alzheimer Disease Mice Leads to Significant Modulation of Amyloid- and Tau-Related Pathologies.

Neuroinflammation, through production of proinflammatory molecules and activated glial cells, is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. One such proinflammatory mediator is tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), a multifunctional cytokine produced in excess and associated with amyloid β-driven inflammation and cognitive decline. Long-term global inhibition of TNF receptor type I (TNF-RI) and TNF-RII signaling without cell or stage specificity in triple-transgenic AD mice exacerbates hallmark amyloid and neurofibrillary tangle pathology. These observations revealed that long-term pan anti-TNF-α inhibition accelerates disease, cautions against long-term use of anti-TNF-α therapeutics for AD, and urges more selective regulation of TNF signaling. We used adeno-associated virus vector-delivered siRNAs to selectively knock down neuronal TNF-R signaling. We demonstrate divergent roles for neuronal TNF-RI and TNF-RII where loss of opposing TNF-RII leads to TNF-RI-mediated exacerbation of amyloid β and Tau pathology in aged triple-transgenic AD mice. Dampening of TNF-RII or TNF-RI+RII leads to a stage-independent increase in Iba-1-positive microglial staining, implying that neuronal TNF-RII may act nonautonomously on the microglial cell population. These results reveal that TNF-R signaling is complex, and it is unlikely that all cells and both receptors will respond positively to broad anti-TNF-α treatments at various stages of disease. In aggregate, these data further support the development of cell-, stage-, and/or receptor-specific anti-TNF-α therapeutics for AD.

Am J Pathol. 2013 Jun;182(6):2285-97

Pro-inflammatory cytokines and their effects in the dentate gyrus.

The older notion of a central nervous system existing in essential isolation from the immune system has changed dramatically in recent years as the body of evidence relating to the interactions between these two systems has grown. Here we address the role of a particular subset of immune modulatory molecules, the pro-inflammatory cytokines, in regulating neuronal function and viability in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. These inflammatory mediators are known to be elevated in many neuropathological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ischaemic injury that follows stroke. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1beta) and interleukin 18 (IL-18), have been shown to regulate neurotoxicity; although, due to the complexity of the cytokine action in neurons and glia, the effect may be either facilitatory or protective, depending on the circumstances. As well as their role in neurotoxicity and neuroprotection, the pro-inflammatory cytokines have also been shown to be potent regulators of synaptic function. In particular, TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-18 have all been shown to inhibit long-term potentiation, a form of neuronal plasticity widely believed to underlie learning and memory, both in the early p38 mitogen activated protein kinase-dependant phase and the later protein synthesis-dependant phase. In this article we address the mechanisms underlying these cytokine effects in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.

Prog Brain Res. 2007;163:339-54

Neuroinflammation and synaptic loss.

Neuroinflammation plays a critical role in the progression of many neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric and viral diseases. In neuroinflammation, activated microglia and astrocytes release cytokines and chemokines as well as nitric oxide, which in turn activate many signal transduction pathways. The cytokines, interleukin-1 beta and tumor necrosis factor alpha, regulate transcription of a number of genes within the brain, which can lead to the formation of pro-inflammatory products of the arachidonic acid cascade. Formation of pro-inflammatory agents and associated cytotoxic products during neuroinflammation can be detrimental to neurons by altering synaptic proteins. Neuroinflammation as well as excitotoxic insults reduce synaptic markers such as synaptophysin and drebrin. Neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric illnesses and viral infections are accompanied by loss of both pre- and post-synaptic proteins. These synaptic changes may contribute to the progressive cognitive decline and behavioral changes associated with these

Neurochem Res. 2012 May;37(5):903-10

A phase I/II dose-escalation trial of vitamin D3 and calcium in multiple sclerosis.

OBJECTIVE: Low vitamin D status has been associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) prevalence and risk, but the therapeutic potential of vitamin D in established MS has not been explored. Our aim was to assess the tolerability of high-dose oral vitamin D and its impact on biochemical, immunologic, and clinical outcomes in patients with MS prospectively. METHODS: An open-label randomized prospective controlled 52-week trial matched patients with MS for demographic and disease characteristics, with randomization to treatment or control groups. Treatment patients received escalating vitamin D doses up to 40,000 IU/day over 28 weeks to raise serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] rapidly and assess tolerability, followed by 10,000 IU/day (12 weeks), and further downtitrated to 0 IU/day. Calcium (1,200 mg/day) was given throughout the trial. Primary endpoints were mean change in serum calcium at each vitamin D dose and a comparison of serum calcium between groups. Secondary endpoints included 25(OH)D and other biochemical measures, immunologic biomarkers, relapse events, and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. RESULTS: Forty-nine patients (25 treatment, 24 control) were enrolled [mean age 40.5 years, EDSS 1.34, and 25(OH)D 78 nmol/L]. All calcium-related measures within and between groups were normal. Despite a mean peak 25(OH)D of 413 nmol/L, no significant adverse events occurred. Although there may have been confounding variables in clinical outcomes, treatment group patients appeared to have fewer relapse events and a persistent reduction in T-cell proliferation compared to controls. CONCLUSIONS: High-dose vitamin D (approximately 10,000 IU/day) in multiple sclerosis is safe, with evidence of immunomodulatory effects. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This trial provides Class II evidence that high-dose vitamin D use for 52 weeks in patients with multiple sclerosis does not significantly increase serum calcium levels when compared to patients not on high-dose supplementation. The trial, however, lacked statistical precision and the design requirements to adequately assess changes in clinical disease measures (relapses and Expanded Disability Status Scale scores), providing only Class level IV evidence for these outcomes.

Neurology. 2010 Jun 8;74(23):1852-9

Control of autoimmune diseases by the vitamin D endocrine system.

1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) [1,25(OH)(2)D(3)], the biologically active form of vitamin D(3), is a secosteroid hormone essential for bone and mineral homeostasis. It regulates the growth and differentiation of multiple cell types, and displays immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. Cells involved in innate and adaptive immune responses--including macrophages, dendritic cells, T cells and B cells--express the vitamin D receptor (VDR), and can both produce and respond to 1,25(OH)(2)D(3). The net effect of the vitamin D system on the immune response is an enhancement of innate immunity coupled with multifaceted regulation of adaptive immunity. Epidemiological evidence indicates a significant association between vitamin D deficiency and an increased incidence of several autoimmune diseases, and clarification of the physiological role of endogenous VDR agonists in the regulation of autoimmune responses will guide the development of pharmacological VDR agonists for use in the clinic. The antiproliferative, prodifferentiative, antibacterial, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of synthetic VDR agonists could be exploited to treat a variety of autoimmune diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to systemic lupus erythematosus, and possibly also multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, and autoimmune prostatitis.

Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. 2008 Aug;4(8):404-12

New insights into nitric oxide and coronary circulation.

Since its discovery over 20 years ago as an intercellular messenger, nitric oxide (NO), has been extensively studied with regard to its involvement in the control of the circulation and, more recently, in the prevention of atherosclerosis. The importance of NO in coronary blood flow control has also been recognized. NO-independent vasodilation causes increased shear stress within the blood vessel which, in turn, stimulates endothelial NO synthase activation, NO release and prolongation of vasodilation. Reactive hyperemia, myogenic vasodilation and vasodilator effects of acetylcholine and bradykinin are all mediated by NO. Ischemic preconditioning, which protects the myocardium from cellular damage and arrhythmias, is itself linked with NO and both the first and second windows of protection may be due to NO release. Exercise increases NO synthesis via increases in shear stress and pulse pressure and so it is likely that NO is an important blood flow regulatory mechanism in exercise. This phenomenon may account for the beneficial effects of exercise seen in atherosclerotic individuals. Whilst NO plays a protective role in preventing atherosclerosis via superoxide anion scavenging, risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia reduce NO release leading the way for endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerotic lesions. Exercise reverses this process by stimulating NO synthesis and release. Other factors impacting on the activity of NO include estrogens, endothelins, adrenomedullin and adenosine, the last appearing to be a compensatory pathway for coronary control in the presence of NO inhibition. These studies reinforce the pivotal role played by the substance in the control of coronary circulation.

Life Sci. 1999;65(21):2167-74

Cimetidine increases survival of colorectal cancer patients with high levels of sialyl Lewis-X and sialyl Lewis-A epitope expression on tumour cells.

Cimetidine has been shown to have beneficial effects in colorectal cancer patients. In this study, a total of 64 colorectal cancer patients who received curative operation were examined for the effects of cimetidine treatment on survival and recurrence. The cimetidine group was given 800 mg day(-1) of cimetidine orally together with 200 mg day(-1) of 5-fluorouracil, while the control group received 5-fluorouracil alone. The treatment was initiated 2 weeks after the operation and terminated after 1 year. Robust beneficial effects of cimetidine were noted: the 10-year survival rate of the cimetidine group was 84.6% whereas that of control group was 49.8% (P<0.0001). According to our previous observations that cimetidine blocked the expression of E-selectin on vascular endothelium and inhibited the adhesion of cancer cells to the endothelium, we have further stratified the patients according to the expression levels of sialyl Lewis antigens X (sL(x)) and A (sL(a)). We found that cimetidine treatment was particularly effective in patients whose tumour had higher sL(x) and sL(a) antigen levels. For example, the 10-year cumulative survival rate of the cimetidine group with higher CSLEX staining, recognizing sL(x), of tumours was 95.5%, whereas that of control group was 35.1% (P=0.0001). In contrast, in the group of patients with no or low levels CSLEX staining, cimetidine did not show significant beneficial effect (the 10-year survival rate of the cimetidine group was 70.0% and that of control group was 85.7% (P=n.s.)). These results clearly indicate that cimetidine treatment dramatically improved survival in colorectal cancer patients with tumour cells expressing high levels of sL(x) and sL(a).

Br J Cancer. 2002 Jan 21;86(2):161-7

Radiation-induced dementia in patients cured of brain metastases.

When a patient with cancer develops a brain metastasis, death is usually imminent, but aggressive treatment in some patients with limited or no systemic disease yields long-term survival. In such patients, delayed deleterious effects of therapy are particularly tragic. We report 12 patients who developed delayed complications of whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) given as sole treatment (4 patients) or in combination with surgical resection (8 patients). Within 5 to 36 months (median, 14) all patients developed progressive dementia, ataxia, and urinary incontinence causing severe disability in all and leading to death in 7. No patient had tumor recurrence when neurologic symptoms began. Cortical atrophy and hypodense white matter were identified by CT in all. Contrast-enhancing lesions were seen in 3 patients; 2 of the lesions yielded radionecrosis on biopsy. Autopsies on 2 patients revealed diffuse chronic edema of the hemispheric white matter in the absence of tumor recurrence. Corticosteroids and ventriculoperitoneal shunt offered significant but incomplete improvement in some patients. The total dose of WBRT was only 2,500 to 3,900 cGy, but daily fractions of 300 to 600 cGy were employed. We believe that these fractionation schedules, several of which are used commonly, predispose to delayed neurologic toxicity, and that more protracted schedules should be employed for the safe and efficacious treatment of good-risk patients with brain metastases. The incidence of WBRT-induced dementia was only 1.9 to 5.1% in the 2 populations reviewed here; however, this underestimates the incidence because only severely affected patients could be identified from chart review.

Neurology. 1989 Jun;39(6):789-96

Dietary flavonols and flavonol-rich foods intake and the risk of breast cancer.

Laboratory and animal studies suggest that dietary flavonols may reduce breast cancer risk but there are limited epidemiological studies. We computed flavonol intakes from dietary data collected by validated food frequency questionnaires in 1991 and 1995 from 90,630 women in the Nurses Health Study II. Using multivariate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), we evaluated the association of flavonol intake with breast cancer risk in women who were premenopausal and aged between 26 and 46 years at baseline in 1991. During 8 years of follow-up, we documented 710 cases of invasive breast cancer. The multivariate RR (95% CI), comparing highest to lowest quintiles of cumulative average intake, was 1.05 (0.83, 1.34; p-value for test of trend=0.96) for the sum of flavonols and there were no associations seen between individual flavonols such as kaempferol, quercetin and myricetin and breast cancer risk. The multivariate RR (95% CI), comparing highest to lowest quintiles of cumulative average intake, was 0.94 (0.72, 1.22; p-value for test of trend=0.54) for sum of flavonol-rich foods. Among the major food sources of flavonols, we found a significant inverse association with intake of beans or lentils but not with tea, onions, apples, string beans, broccoli, green pepper and blueberries. The multivariate RR (95% CI), comparing the highest category (2 or more times a week) of cumulative average beans or lentils intake with the lowest category (less than once a month), was 0.76 (0.57, 1.00; p-value for test of trend=0.03). While we found no overall association between intake of flavonols and risk of breast cancer, there was an inverse association with intake of beans or lentils that merits further evaluation.

Int J Cancer. 2005 Apr 20;114(4):628-33

Legume intake and the risk of cancer: a multisite case-control study in Uruguay.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that a high intake of legumes may decrease the risk of stomach and prostate cancer and some other cancers. However, the evidence is still limited. To further explore the association between legume intake and cancer risk we conducted a case-control study of 11 cancer sites in Uruguay between 1996 and 2004, including 3,539 cancer cases and 2,032 hospital controls. RESULTS: The highest versus the lowest tertile of legume intake was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx (OR = 0.48, 95% CI: 0.34-0.68), esophagus (OR = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.38-0.77), larynx (OR = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.40-0.77), upper aerodigestive tract (OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.40-0.63), stomach (OR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.49-0.97), colorectum (OR = 0.43, 95% CI: 0.32-0.59), kidney (OR = 0.41, 95% CI: 0.24-0.71), and all sites combined (OR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.59-0.78). No significant association was observed between legume intake and cancers of the lung (OR = 1.03, 95% CI: 0.83-1.27), breast (OR = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.65-1.20), prostate (OR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.64-1.18) or bladder (OR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.57-1.17). Similar results were found for both beans and lentils. CONCLUSION: Higher intake of legumes was associated with a decreased risk of several cancers including those of the upper aerodigestive tract, stomach, colorectum, and kidney, but not lung, breast, prostate or bladder. Further investigations of these associations in prospective cohort studies are warranted.

Cancer Causes Control. 2009 Nov;20(9):1605-15

Dietary risk factors for colon cancer in a low-risk population.

In a 6-year prospective study, the authors examined the relation between diet and incident colon cancer among 32,051 non-Hispanic white cohort members of the Adventist Health Study (California, 1976-1982) who, at baseline, had no documented or reported history of cancer. The risk of colon cancer was determined from proportional hazards regression with adjustment for age and other covariates. The authors found a positive association with total meat intake (risk ratio (RR) for > or =1 time/week vs. no meat intake = 1.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19-2.87; p for trend = 0.01) and, among subjects who favored specific types of meat, positive associations with red meat intake (RR for > or =1 time/week vs. no red meat intake = 1.90, 95% CI 1.16-3.11; p for trend = 0.02) and white meat intake (RR for > or =1 time/week vs. no white meat intake = 3.29, 95% CI 1.60-6.75; p for trend = 0.006). An inverse association with legume intake (RR for >2 times/week vs. <1 time/week = 0.53, 95% CI 0.33-0.86; p for trend = 0.03) was observed. Among men, a positive association with body mass index was observed (relative to the RR for tertile III (>25.6 kg/m2) vs. tertile I (<22.5 kg/m2) = 2.63, 95% CI 1.12-6.13; p for trend = 0.05). A complex relation was identified whereby subjects exhibiting a high red meat intake, a low legume intake, and a high body mass experienced a more than threefold elevation in risk relative to all other patterns based on these variables. This pattern of putative risk factors would likely contribute to increases in both insulin resistance (high body mass, high red meat intake) and glycemic load (low legume intake), a synergism that, if causal, implicates hyperinsulinemic exposure in colon carcinogenesis. The overall findings from this cohort identify both red meat intake and white meat intake as important dietary risk factors for colon cancer and raise the possibility that the risk due to red meat intake reflects a more complex etiology.

Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Oct 15;148(8):761-74

Chemopreventive effect of raw and cooked lentils (Lens culinaris L) and soybeans (Glycine max) against azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci.

Although lentils (Lens culinaris L) contain several bioactive compounds that have been linked to the prevention of cancer, the in vivo chemopreventive ability of lentils against chemically induced colorectal cancer has not been examined. Our present study examined the hypothesis that lentils could suppress the early carcinogenesis in vivo by virtue of their bioactive micro- and macroconstituents and that culinary thermal treatment could affect their chemopreventive potential. To accomplish this goal, we used raw whole lentils (RWL), raw split lentils (RSL), cooked whole lentils (CWL), and cooked split lentils (CSL). Raw soybeans (RSB; Glycine max) were used for the purpose of comparison with a well-studied chemopreventive agent. Sixty weanling Fischer 344 male rats, 4 to 5 weeks of age, were randomly assigned to 6 groups (10 rats/group): the control group (C) received AIN-93G diet, and treatment leguminous groups of RWL, CWL, RSL, CSL, and RSB received the treatment diets containing AIN-93G+5% of the above-mentioned legumes. After acclimatization for 1 week (at 5th to 6th week of age), all animals were put on the control and treatment diets separately for 5 weeks (from 6th to 11th week of age). At the end of the 5th week of feeding (end of 11th week of age), all rats received 2 subcutaneous injections of azoxymethane carcinogen at 15 mg/kg rat body weight per dose once a week for 2 consecutive weeks. After 17 weeks of the last azoxymethane injection (from 12th to 29th week of age), all rats were euthanized. Chemopreventive ability was assessed using colonic aberrant crypt foci and activity of hepatic glutathione-S-transferases. Significant reductions (P < .05) were found in total aberrant crypt foci number (mean +/- SEM) for RSB (27.33 +/- 4.32), CWL (33.44 +/- 4.56), and RSL (37.00 +/- 6.02) in comparison with the C group (58.33 +/- 8.46). Hepatic glutathione-S-transferases activities increased significantly (P < .05) in rats fed all treatment diets (from 51.38 +/- 3.66 to 67.94 +/- 2.01 micromol mg(-1) min(-1)) when compared with control (C) diet (26.13 +/- 1.01 micromol mg(-1) min(-1)). Our findings indicate that consumption of lentils might be protective against colon carcinogenesis and that hydrothermal treatment resulted in an improvement in the chemopreventive potential for the whole lentils.

Nutr Res. 2009 May;29(5):355-62

Cohort study of diet, lifestyle, and prostate cancer in Adventist men.

Dietary and lifestyle characteristics were evaluated in relation to subsequent prostatic cancer risk in a cohort of approximately 14,000 Seventh-day Adventist men who completed a detailed lifestyle questionnaire in 1976 and who were monitored for cancer incidence until the end of 1982. During the 6-year follow-up period, 180 histologically confirmed prostatic cancers were detected among some 78,000 man-years of follow-up. Increasing educational attainment was associated with significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer in this study; age at first marriage was also inversely associated with risk, although this was not significant. There was no relationship between body mass index (as measured by Quetelet’s Index) and risk. A history of prostate “trouble” was associated with a 60% increase in risk which was highly significant. Although there were suggestive relationships between increasing animal product consumption and increased risk, these results did not persist after accounting for the influence of fruit and vegetable consumption. Nor was exposure to the vegetarian lifestyle during the childhood years associated with alterations in subsequent risk. However, increasing consumption of beans, lentils and peas, tomatoes, raisin, dates, and other dried fruit were all associated with significantly decreased prostate cancer risk.

Cancer. 1989 Aug 1;64(3):598-604

Persistent increase of prevalence of metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults: NHANES III to NHANES 1999-2006.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the prevalence in metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) between 1988-1994 and 1999-2006 among U.S. adults of different races or ethnicities. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Analysis of data on 6,423 adult men and nonpregnant women aged ≥20 years from Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) and 6,962 participants from the combined NHANES 1999-2006 were done. The revised National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III definition was used to calculate MetSyn. RESULTS: Both the unadjusted prevalence (27.9 ± 1.1% to 34.1 ± 0.8%, P < 0.001) and age-adjusted prevalence (29.2 ± 1.0% to 34.2 ± 0.7%, P < 0.001) increased from NHANES III to NHANES 1999-2006, respectively. Although MetSyn prevalence was highest in Mexican Americans, significant increases in prevalence occurred among non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, especially among younger women. CONCLUSIONS: The persistent increase of MetSyn among U.S. adults is a serious public health concern because it raises the likelihood of increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Care. 2011 Jan;34(1):216-9

Legume intake is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome in adults.

BACKGROUND: Studies on the association between legume intake and metabolic syndrome (MetS) are sparse. The objective of this study is to evaluate the association between legume intake, MetS, and its components. METHODS: This study was conducted on 80 subjects (48% female) with MetS as cases and 160 age and gender-matched healthy controls. Anthropometric measures, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and lipid profiles were evaluated by standard methods. Dietary data were collected using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and legume intake was determined. MetS was defined according to the definition of the Adult Treatment Panel III. RESULTS: The mean (SD) intake of legumes was 1.4 (0.9) servings/week for cases and 2.3 (1.1) servings/week for control subjects (P < 0.05). After adjustment for potential confounders, decreases in mean systolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and increase in HDL cholesterol levels were observed across increasing quartile categories of legume intake. After adjustments for life style and food groups, subjects in the highest quartile of legume intake had lower odds of having MetS compared with those in the lowest quartile [odds ratio (OR): 0.25; 95% CI: 0.11 - 0.64, P < 0.05], an association that weakened after adjustment for body mass index (BMI), but remained significant (OR: 0.28; 95% CI: 0.12 - 0.81, P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Legume intake is inversely associated with the risk of having MetS and some of its components.

Arch Iran Med. 2012 Sep;15(9):538-44

A legume-based hypocaloric diet reduces proinflammatory status and improves metabolic features in overweight/obese subjects.

BACKGROUND: The nutritional composition of the dietary intake could produce specific effects on metabolic variables and inflammatory marker concentrations. This study assessed the effects of two hypocaloric diets (legume-restricted- vs. legume-based diet) on metabolic and inflammatory changes, accompanying weight loss. METHODS: Thirty obese subjects (17 M/13F; BMI: 32.5 ± 4.5 kg/m(2); 36 ± 8 years) were randomly assigned to one of the following hypocaloric treatments (8 weeks): Calorie-restricted legume-free diet (Control: C-diet) or calorie-restricted legume-based diet (L-diet), prescribing 4 weekly different cooked-servings (160-235 g) of lentils, chickpeas, peas or beans. Body composition, blood pressure (BP), blood biochemical and inflammatory marker concentrations as well as dietary intake were measured at baseline and after the nutritional intervention. RESULTS: The L-diet achieved a greater body weight loss, when compared to the C-diet (-7.8 ± 2.9% vs. -5.3 ± 2.7%; p = 0.024). Total and LDL cholesterol levels and systolic BP were improved only when consuming the L-diet (p < 0.05). L-diet also resulted in a significant higher reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP) and complement C3 (C3) concentrations (p < 0.05), compared to baseline and C-diet values. Interestingly, the reduction in the concentrations of CRP and C3 remained significantly higher to L-diet group, after adjusting by weight loss (p < 0.05). In addition, the reduction (%) in CRP concentrations was positively associated with decreases (%) in systolic BP and total cholesterol concentration specifically in the L-diet group, independent from weight loss (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The consumption of legumes (4 servings/week) within a hypocaloric diet resulted in a specific reduction in proinflammatory markers, such as CRP and C3 and a clinically significant improvement of some metabolic features (lipid profile and BP) in overweight/ obese subjects, which were in some cases independent from weight loss.

Eur J Nutr. 2011 Feb;50(1):61-9

Effect of Dehulling and Cooking of Lentils (Lens Culinaris, L.)on Serum Glucose and Lipoprotein Levels in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.

This study was conducted to investigate the effect of lentils on serum glucose and serum lipid levels in diabetic rats. Forty adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, 12 weeks of age weighing 220-290g, were used. Diabetes was induced by streptozotocin at a level of 35 mg/kg intra-peritoneally. The animals were randomly divided into five groups, eight animals each: a casein diet (control), raw whole lentil (RWL), cooked whole lentil (CWL), raw dehulled lentil (RDL) and cooked dehulled lentil (CDL). Animals were fed with experimental diets for six weeks, sacrificed and blood samples were taken. Serum glucose level of the CDL group (387.9 ± 53.3 mg/dl) was significantly lower (P<0.05) than that of the control, RDL and RWL groups (529.0 ± 11.7, 538.6 ± 45.0, 542.1 ± 32.2 mg/dl respectively). In addition, HDL concentration of CWL group (66.3 ± 1.9 mg/dl) was significantly higher (P<0.01) than that of the control, RWL and RDL groups (54.9 ± 3.5, 50.8 ± 4.2, 54.0 ± 3.4 mg/dl respectively). However, there was no significant difference in serum glucose and serum HDL between the CDL and CWL groups. No significant differences (p>0.05) were detected in triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol among the experimental groups. It is concluded that cooked lentils rather than raw lentils was more effective in lowering blood glucose and improving HDL cholesterol in diabetic rats. There was no difference between whole and dehulled lentils with regard to effects on blood glucose and HDL cholesterol levels.

Malays J Nutr. 2010 Dec;16(3):409-18