Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jun 2014

Scalp serum

Synthetic multimeric heptyl mannosides as potent antiadhesives of uropathogenic Escherichia coli.

Urinary tract infections caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli presents a serious communal and nosocomial health problem initiated by bacterial adhesion to the bladder cells. E. coli expresses fimbriae with a mannose-binding adhesin, FimH, at the tip. Heptyl alpha-D-mannoside (HM) is a nanomolar inhibitor of this lectin, preventing adhesion of type 1-piliated E. coli and reducing bacteria levels in a murine cystitis model. Herein, we described the synthesis of multimeric heptyl-mannosides with valencies ranging from one to four by copper-catalyzed azide alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC). Biological evaluation of the multivalent compounds revealed an increase in potency compared to HM. Inhibition of bladder cell binding highlighted a promising tetravalent derivative with inhibitory concentrations 6000- and 64-fold lower than mannose and HM respectively.

ChemMedChem. 2009 May;4(5):749-55

Antiadhesion therapy for urinary tract infections—a balanced PK/PD profile proved to be key for success.

The initial step for the successful establishment of urinary tract infections (UTIs), predominantly caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli, is the adhesion of bacteria to urothelial cells. This attachment is mediated by FimH, a mannose-binding adhesin, which is expressed on the bacterial surface. To date, UTIs are mainly treated with antibiotics, leading to the ubiquitous problem of increasing resistance against most of the currently available antimicrobials. Therefore, new treatment strategies are urgently needed, avoiding selection pressure and thereby implying a reduced risk of resistance. Here, we present a new class of highly active antimicrobials, targeting the virulence factor FimH. When the most potent representative, an indolinylphenyl mannoside, was administered in a mouse model at the low dosage of 1 mg/kg (corresponding to approximately 25 µg/mouse), the minimal therapeutic concentration to prevent UTI was maintained for more than 8 h. In a treatment study, the colony-forming units in the bladder could be reduced by almost 4 orders of magnitude, comparable to the standard antibiotic treatment with ciprofloxacin (8 mg/kg, sc).

J Med Chem. 2012 May 24;55(10):4700-13

In-vitro and in-vivo evidence of dose-dependent decrease of uropathogenic Escherichia coli virulence after consumption of commercial Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) capsules.

This study evaluated the antibacterial efficacy of the consumption of cranberry capsules vs. placebo in the urine of healthy volunteers. A first double-blind, randomised, crossover trial involved eight volunteers who had followed three regimens, with or without cranberry, with a wash-out period of at least 6 days between each regimen. Twelve hours after consumption of cranberry or placebo hard capsules, the first urine of the morning was collected. Different Escherichia coli strains were cultured in the urine samples. Urinary antibacterial adhesion activity was measured in vitro using the human T24 epithelial cell-line, and in vivo using the Caenorhabditis elegans killing model. With the in-vitro model, 108 mg of cranberry induced a significant reduction in bacterial adherence to T24 cells as compared with placebo (p <0.001). A significant dose-dependent decrease in bacterial adherence in vitro was noted after the consumption of 108 and 36 mg of cranberry (p <0.001). The in-vivo model confirmed that E. coli strains had a reduced ability to kill C. elegans after growth in the urine of patients who consumed cranberry capsules. Overall, these in-vivo and in-vitro studies suggested that consumption of cranberry juice represents an interesting new strategy to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection.

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2008 Apr;14(4):350-5

Effect of cranberry drink on bacterial adhesion in vitro and vaginal microbiota in healthy females.

INTRODUCTION/OBJECTIVE: Cranberries have been shown to produce urinary metabolites that influence uropathogen adhesion and prevent urinary tract infections. This study was designed to determine if consuming reconstituted, unsweetened cranberry drink from extract retained its bioactive properties by reducing uropathogen adhesion without adversely affecting urinary calcium, magnesium and the vaginal microflora. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A randomized crossover study was undertaken in 12 healthy women consuming reconstituted unsweetened cranberry drink, CranActin or water. The urine was collected at 4 hours and 1 week of consumption and evaluated for antiadhesive properties and urinary pH, calcium and magnesium. Vaginal swabs were collected after 1 week of treatment to assess the vaginal microbiota by DGGE. RESULTS: The resultant urine produced by subjects who consumed 500 ml reconstituted cranberry extract twice per day, significantly reduced the adherence to epithelial cells of P-fimbriated uropathogenic Escherichia coli and showed a tendency towards significance for two E. coli strains expressing fimbriae and an Enterococcus faecalis isolate. The cranberry drink treatment did not alter urinary pH, but reduced calcium and magnesium concentrations compared to water, although not to statistical significance. The reconstituted cranberry drink had no apparent detrimental effect on the vaginal microbiota. However, consuming twice daily resulted in an apparent loss of a potential pathogen from the vagina in 42% subjects. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest that reconstituted cranberry drink may retain the ability to reduce the risk of UTI by inhibiting pathogen adhesion while not detrimentally affecting urinary pH or vaginal microbiota, or the risk of calculi.

Can J Urol. 2 009 Dec;16(6):4901-7

Dosage effect on uropathogenic Escherichia coli anti-adhesion activity in urine following consumption of cranberry powder standardized for proanthocyanidin content: a multicentric randomized double blind study.

BACKGROUND: Ingestion of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) has traditionally been utilized for prevention of urinary tract infections. The proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberry, in particular the A-type linkages have been implicated as important inhibitors of primarily P-fimbriated E. coli adhesion to uroepithelial cells. Additional experiments were required to investigate the persistence in urine samples over a broader time period, to determine the most effective dose per day and to determine if the urinary anti-adhesion effect following cranberry is detected within volunteers of different origins. METHODS: Two separate bioassays (a mannose-resistant hemagglutination assay and an original new human T24 epithelial cell-line assay) have assessed the ex-vivo urinary bacterial anti-adhesion activity on urines samples collected from 32 volunteers from Japan, Hungary, Spain and France in a randomized, double-blind versus placebo study. An in vivo Caenorhabditis elegans model was used to evaluate the influence of cranberry regimen on the virulence of E. coli strain. RESULTS: The results indicated a significant bacterial anti-adhesion activity in urine samples collected from volunteers that consumed cranberry powder compared to placebo (p < 0.001). This inhibition was clearly dose-dependent, prolonged (until 24 h with 72 mg of PAC) and increasing with the amount of PAC equivalents consumed in each cranberry powder regimen. An in vivo Caenorhabditis elegans model showed that cranberry acted against bacterial virulence: E. coli strain presented a reduced ability to kill worms after a growth in urines samples of patients who took cranberry capsules. This effect is particularly important with the regimen of 72 mg of PAC. CONCLUSIONS: Administration of PAC-standardized cranberry powder at dosages containing 72 mg of PAC per day may offer some protection against bacterial adhesion and virulence in the urinary tract. This effect may offer a nyctohemeral protection.

BMC Infect Dis. 2010 Apr 14;10:94

Inhibitory activity of cranberry extract on the bacterial adhesiveness in the urine of women: an ex-vivo study.

Strains of uropathogenic E. coli are responsible for approximately 90% of community-acquired, uncomplicated cystitis, and fimbriae represent the adhesive factors enabling E. coli to be anchored to uroepithelial cells in the first step of the infectious process. Recently, a few studies have shown that a correlation between the consumption of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and prevention of UTI is related to the ability of proanthocyanidins to reduce the bacterial adhesion to uroepithelial cells. In this study we evaluate the inhibitory activity of urine of healthy women treated with tablets containing cranberry extract on the adhesiveness of E. coli to uroepithelial human cells. Two groups of 12 female volunteers each, aged between 18 and 65 years, were enrolled, one group with negative history and one group with positive history of recurrent cystitis. Subjects were treated with the active product or placebo in a random, cross-over, double-blinded sequence for one week in each of the two treatment sequences. Urine samples were collected at the beginning and the end of each study period. Tests of bacterial adhesiveness were performed with two strains of E. coli (ATCC 25922 and ATCC 35218) on HT1376 human bladder carcinoma cells. Significant reductions of bacterial adhesiveness were observed in women who received cranberry extract (-50.9%; p less than 0.0001), regardless of their medical history and the treatment period in the cross-over sequence. No changes were observed with placebo (-0.29%; n.s.). This ex-vivo study showed that the assumption of cranberry extract in suitable amounts can have an anti-adhesive activity on uropathogenic E. coli.

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2010 Apr-Jun;23(2):611-8

Vaccinium macrocarpon: an interesting option for women with recurrent urinary tract infections and other health benefits.

AIM: To review the scientific publications concerning the clinical use and mechanism of action of the North American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) for women with recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) and other health conditions. METHODS: This is a retrospective study of published information concerning Vaccinium macrocarpon retrieved from a PubMed and individual searches. RESULTS: Urinary tract infections are very common in women, cause discomfort, and may aggravate other genitourinary conditions. The available scientific information supports a clinical benefit of Vaccinium macrocarpon in the prevention of recurrent UTI in women. There is a non-significant reduction of UTI associated with Vaccinium macrocarpon treatment during pregnancy. A group of proanthocyanidins (PAC) with A-type linkages have been isolated from Vaccinium macrocarpon which inhibit P-fimbriae synthesis and induce a bacterial deformation, on both antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant uropathogenic Escherichia coli. It is plausible that cranberry PAC prevent bacteria from adhering to the uroepithelium of the bladder, thereby blocking the ability of E. coli to infect the urinary mucosa. CONCLUSION: Cranberry treatment is a safe, well-tolerated supplement that does not have significant drug interactions. Although investigations are in the early stages, experimental and preclinical studies suggest that cranberry components may have other potential benefits, including anti-infective, anticancer and antioxidant effects, which may be considered as positive for different age-related conditions. In addition, cranberry components may induce positive cardiovascular and metabolic changes, and may improve neuropsychological activity. These effects warrant further clinical research to better place the role of cranberry products for women.

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2009 Aug;35(4):630-9

Oral consumption of cranberry juice cocktail inhibits molecular-scale adhesion of clinical uropathogenic Escherichia coli.

Cranberry juice cocktail (CJC) has been shown to inhibit the formation of biofilm by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. In order to investigate whether the anti-adhesive components could reach the urinary tract after oral consumption of CJC, a volunteer was given 16 oz of either water or CJC. Urine samples were collected at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours after consumption of a single dose. The ability of compounds in the urine to influence bacterial adhesion was tested for six clinical uropathogenic E. coli strains, including four P-fimbriated strains (B37, CFT073, BF1023, and J96) and two strains not expressing P-fimbriae but exhibiting mannose-resistant hemagglutination (B73 and B78). A non-fimbriated strain, HB101, was used as a control. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to measure the adhesion force between a silicon nitride probe and bacteria treated with urine samples. Within 2 hours after CJC consumption, bacteria of the clinical strains treated with the corresponding urine sample demonstrated lower adhesion forces than those treated with urine collected before CJC consumption. The adhesion forces continued decreasing with time after CJC consumption over the 8-hour measurement period. The adhesion forces of bacteria after exposure to urine collected following water consumption did not change. HB101 showed low adhesion forces following both water and CJC consumption, and these did not change over time. The AFM adhesion force measurements were consistent with the results of a hemagglutination assay, confirming that oral consumption of CJC could act against adhesion of uropathogenic E. coli.

J Med Food. 2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):739-45

Effects of Cranberry Extracts on Growth and Biofilm Production of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus species.

Biofilm producing bacteria such as Staphylococcus species and Escherichia coli are the most common cause of catheter related urinary tract infections (UTIs). The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is utilized widely as a prophylaxis for UTIs due to its prevention of microbial adhesion. Cranberry contains proanthocyanidins (PACs), which have been implicated as active constituents responsible for its bacterial antiadhesive properties. Despite overwhelming data supporting cranberry’s beneficial effects against human pathogenic bacteria, there is limited information regarding its effects on biofilm formation. This study evaluated the effects of three proprietary PAC-standardized cranberry extracts on the inhibition of bacterial growth and biofilm production against a panel of clinically relevant pathogens: Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, clinical methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Escherichia coli. The extracts inhibited the growth of the Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus spp.) but not the Gram-negative species (E. coli) with minimum inhibitory concentrations in the range 0.02-5 mg/mL. The extracts also inhibited biofilm production by the Gram-positive bacteria but did not eradicate their established biofilm. These results suggest that cranberry may have beneficial effects against the growth and biofilm producing capability of Gram-positive bacteria pathogens.

Phytother Res. 2012 Sep;26(9):1371-4

Effects of cranberry extracts and ursolic acid derivatives on P-fimbriated Escherichia coli, COX-2 activity, pro-inflammatory cytokine release and the NF-kappabeta transcriptional response in vitro.

Cranberry, the fresh or dried ripe fruit of Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. (Ericaceae), is currently used as adjunct therapy for the prevention and symptomatic treatment of urinary tract infections. Data from clinical trials suggest that extracts of cranberry or cranberry juice reduce the bacterial load of E. coli and also suppress the inflammatory symptoms induced by E. coli infections. A methanol extract prepared from 10 kg of dehydrated cranberries did not directly inhibit the growth of E coli strains ATCC 700336 or ATCC 25922 in concentrations up to 256 mug/mL in vitro. However, the methanol extract (CR-ME) inhibited the activity of cyclooxygenase-2, with an IC(50) of 12.8 mug/mL. Moreover, CR-ME also inhibited the NF-kappabeta transcriptional activation in human T lymphocytes with an IC(50) of 19.4 mug/mL, and significantly (p < 0.01) inhibited the release of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha from E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro, at a concentration of 50 mug/mL. The extract had no effect on inducible nitric oxide synthase activity in the murine macrophage cell line RAW 264.7. The compounds responsible for this activity were identified using a novel LC-MS based assay as ursolic acid and ursolic acid derivatives. Taken together, these data suggest CR-ME and its constituent chemical compounds target specific pathways involved in E. coli-induced inflammation.

Pharm Biol.2009;47(1):18-25

Cardiovascular care facts: a report from the national cardiovascular data registry: 2011.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this report was to characterize the patients, participating centers, and measures of quality of care and outcomes for 5 NCDR (National Cardiovascular Data Registry) programs: 1) ACTION (Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network) Registry-GWTG (Get With The Guidelines) for acute coronary syndromes; 2) CathPCI Registry for coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention; 3) CARE (Carotid Artery Revascularization and Endarterectomy) Registry for carotid revascularization; 4) ICD Registry for implantable cardioverter defibrillators; and the 5) PINNACLE (Practice INNovation And CLinical Excellence) Registry for outpatients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). BACKGROUND: CVD is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. The quality of care for patients with CVD is suboptimal. National registry programs, such as NCDR, permit assessments of the quality of care and outcomes for broad populations of patients with CVD. METHODS: For the year 2011, we assessed for each of the 5 NCDR programs: 1) demographic and clinical characteristics of enrolled patients; 2) key characteristics of participating centers; 3) measures of processes of care; and 4) patient outcomes. For selected variables, we assessed trends over time. RESULTS: In 2011 ACTION Registry-GWTG enrolled 119,967 patients in 567 hospitals; CathPCI enrolled 632,557 patients in 1,337 hospitals; CARE enrolled 4,934 patients in 130 hospitals; ICD enrolled 139,991 patients in 1,435 hospitals; and PINNACLE enrolled 249,198 patients (1,436,328 individual encounters) in 74 practices (1,222 individual providers). Data on performance metrics and outcomes, in some cases risk-adjusted with validated NCDR models, are presented. CONCLUSIONS: The NCDR provides a unique opportunity to understand the characteristics of large populations of patients with CVD, the centers that provide their care, quality of care provided, and important patient outcomes.

J Am Coll Cardiol . 2013 Nov 19;62(21):1931-47

The Effect of Testosterone on Cardiovascular Disease: A Critical Review of the Literature.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone and plays an important role in men’s health and well-being. Historically, testosterone was believed to adversely affect cardiovascular function. However, contemporary literature has refuted this traditional thinking; testosterone has been suggested to have a protective effect on cardiovascular function through its effects on the vascular system. Data from modern research indicate that hypogonadism is closely related to the development of various cardiovascular risk factors, including hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance. Several studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of testosterone supplementation therapy on eversing symptoms of hypogonadism and improving cardiovascular disease risk profiles. In this review, we perform a critical analysis on the association between testosterone and cardiovascular disease.

Am J Mens Health . 2014 Feb 20

Pycnogenol® and Centella Asiatica for asymptomatic atherosclerosis progression.

AIM: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of the nutritional supplements Pycnogenol and TECA (total triterpenic fraction of Centella Asiatica)on atherosclerosis progression in low-risk asymptomatic subjects with carotid or femoral non-stenosing plaques. METHODS: This was an observational pilot substudy of the San Valentino epidemiological cardiovascular study. The study included 1363 subjects aged 45-60 without any conventional risk factors who had non stenosing atherosclerotic plaques (<50%) in at least one carotid or common femoral bifurcation, allocated into 6 groups: Group 1 (CONTROLS): management was based on education, exercise, diet and lifestyle changes. This same management plan was used in all groups; Group 2 Pycnogenol 50 mg/day; Group 3 Pycnogenol 100 mg/day; Group 4 Aspirin 100 mg/day or Ticlopidine 250 mg/day if intolerant to aspirin; Group 5 Aspirin 100 mg/day and Pycnogenol 100 mg/day; Group 6 Pycnogenol 100 mg/day plus TECA (total triterpenic fraction of Centella Asiatica) 100 mg/day. There was a six monthly follow-up up to 30 months. Plaque progression was assessed using the ultrasonic arterial score based on the arterial wall morphology and the number of plaques that progressed from the non-stenotic to the stenotic group. A secondary endpoint was to evaluate the changes in oxidative stress at baseline and at 30 months. RESULTS: The ultrasonic score increased significantly in groups 1, 2 and 4 but not in groups 3, 5 and 6 suggesting a beneficial effect of Pycnogenol 100 mg. The percentage of plaques that progressed from class IV to class V was 8.4% in group 2, 5.3% in group 3, 4% in group 5 and 1.1% in group 6 (P<0.0001) compared with 16.6% in group 4 (aspirin) and 21.3% in the control group suggesting a beneficial effect of Pycnogenol. The lowest rate of progression was in group 6 (Pycnogenol plus TECA). At 30 months, the oxidative stress in all the Pycnogenol groups was less than in the
control group. The oxidative stress was lower in the Pycnogenol 100 mg group than the Pycnogenol 50 mg group (P<0.0001). In the combined group of Pycnogenol and TECA the oxidative stress was less than the Pycnogenol alone (P<0.001). CONCLUSION: Pycnogenol and the combination of Pycnogenol+TECA appear to reduce the progression of subclinical arterial lesions in low-risk asymptomatic subjects. The reduction in plaque progression was associated with a reduction in oxidative stress. The results justify a large randomized controlled study to demonstrate the efficacy of the combined Pycnogenol and TECA prophylactic therapy in subclinical atherosclerosis.

Int Angiol. 2014 Feb;33(1):20-6

Investigation of Pycnogenol® in combination with coenzymeQ10 in heart failure patients (NYHA II/III).

AIM: In this study we investigated benefits of a Pycnogenol - coenzyme Q10 combination (PycnoQ10) taken as an adjunct to medical treatment in stable heart failure patients. The aim of this single-blinded, 12-week observational study was to provide functional parameters such as exercise capacity, ejection fraction and distal edema. METHODS: The essential element for inclusion was a stable level of heart failure within the past three months and stable NYHA class II or III (6 months). The heart failure management was in accordance with AHA guidelines for “best treatment.” The treatment and control groups were comparable at baseline. The mean age of the PycnoQ10-treated patients was 61.3+/-7.1 years and 62.1+/-3.7 in the control group. All patients were taking medication and most patients (>75%)used three or more drugs for heart failure treatment. There were two dropouts in the PycnoQ10 treatment group and 6 in the control group (5 NYHA III patients). RESULTS: Nine PycnoQ10 treated patients (out of 32) and 3 (out of 21) taking placebo improved NYHA class. Systolic and diastolic pressure as well as heart rate and respiratory rate were significantly lowered with PycnoQ10 as compared to the control group (P<0.05). No significant changes were observed in controls. Heart ejection fraction increased by 22.4% in the treatment group (P<0.05) versus 4.0% in controls. Walking distance on treadmill increased 3.3-fold in PycnoQ10 treated patients (P<0.05) but marginally improved in the control group. Distal edema decreased significantly in PycnoQ10 treated patients and only slightly in controls. CONCLUSION: The association of Pycnogenol and CoQ10 may offer an important therapeutic option with a very good tolerability that improves heart failure management without side effects.

Panminerva Med . 2010 Jun;52(2 Suppl 1):21-5

Protection of MPTP-induced neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration by Pycnogenol.

Oxidative stress and inflammation play a crucial role in Parkinson’s disease (PD)pathogenesis and may represent a target for treatment. Current PD drugs provide only symptomatic relief and have limitations in terms of adverse effects and inability to prevent neurodegeneration. Flavonoids have been suggested to exert human health benefits by its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, in the present study, using 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydro pyridine (MPTP)-induced mouse model of Parkinsonism, we investigated the neuroprotective potential of bioflavonoid compound Pycnogenol® (PYC), an extract of Pinus maritime bark. MPTP injected mice developed significantly severe oxidative stress and impaired motor coordination at day 1 and day 7 postinjection. This was associated with significantly increased inflammatory responses of astrocyte and microglia as assessed by ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba 1) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)immunohistochemistry, and nuclear transcription factor-kB (NF-κB), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in the striata by Western blot. Additionally, there was significant upregulation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1b) expression in the striata of MPTP injected mice compared to saline controls. The MPTP-induced neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and behavioral impairments were markedly repudiated by treatment with PYC. These results suggest that PYC protects dopaminergic neurons from MPTP-induced toxicity in the mouse model of PD. Thus, the present finding of PYC-induced adaptation to oxidative stress and inflammation could suggest a novel avenue for clinical intervention in neurodegenerative diseases including PD.

Neurochem Int . 2013 Mar;62(4):379-88

Pycnogenol inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced nuclear factor kappa B activation and adhesion molecule expression in human vascular endothelial cells.

The transcriptional regulatory protein nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B) participates in the control of gene expression of many modulators of inflammatory and immune responses, including vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). The heightened expression of these adhesion molecules has been reported to play a critical role in atherosclerosis, inflammation, ischemic vascular disorders, diabetes, and cancer metastasis. In the present study, we investigated the effect of pycnogenol, an antioxidant phytochemical, on the activation of NF-kappa B and the induction of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 in tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Gel-shift analysis of HUVEC demonstrated that pretreatment with pycnogenol exhibited a concentration-dependent suppression of TNF-alpha-induced activation of NF-kappa B. Induction of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 surface expression by TNF-alpha was dose-dependently reduced by pycnogenol. TNF-alpha significantly increased the release of superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide from HUVECs. Pycnogenol dose-dependently inhibited their release. The ability of pycnogenol to inhibit NF-kappa B activation and VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 expression suggests that this phytochemical may play an important role in halting or preventing the atherogenic process.

Cell Mol Life Sci . 2000 May;57(5):834-41

Protective effect of Pycnogenol in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells following acrolein-induced cytotoxicity.

Oxidative stress is one of the hypotheses involved in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Considerable attention has been focused on increasing the intracellular glutathione (GSH) levels in many neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. Pycnogenol (PYC) has antioxidant properties and stabilizes intracellular antioxidant defense systems including glutathione levels. The present study investigated the protective effects of PYC on acrolein-induced oxidative cell toxicity in cultured SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Decreased cell survival in SH-SY5Y cultures treated with acrolein correlated with oxidative stress, increased NADPH oxidase activity, free radical production, protein oxidation/nitration (protein carbonyl, 3-nitrotyrosine), and lipid peroxidation (4-hydroxy-2-nonenal). Pretreatment with PYC significantly attenuated acrolein-induced cytotoxicity, protein damage, lipid peroxidation, and cell death. A dose-response study suggested that PYC showed protective effects against acrolein toxicity by modulating oxidative stress and increasing GSH. These findings provide support that PYC may provide a promising approach for the treatment of oxidative stress-related neurodegenerative diseases such as AD.

Free Radic Biol Med . 2008 Dec 1;45(11):1510-9

Antidepressant activity of curcumin: involvement of serotonin and dopamine system.

RATIONALE: Curcumin is a major active principle of Curcuma longa, one of the widely used preparations in the Indian system of medicine. It is known for its diverse biological actions. OBJECTIVE: The present study was designed to investigate the involvement of monoaminergic system(s) in the antidepressant activity of curcumin and the effect of piperine, a bioavailability enhancer, on the bioavailability and biological effects of curcumin. METHODS AND OBSERVATIONS: Behavioral (forced swim test), biochemical (monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzyme inhibitory activity), and neurochemical (neurotransmitter levels estimation) tests were carried out. Curcumin (10-80 mg/kg, i.p.) dose dependently inhibited the immobility period, increased serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) as well as dopamine levels (at higher doses), and inhibited the monoamine oxidase enzymes (both MAO-A and MAO-B, higher doses) in mice. Curcumin (20 mg/kg, i.p.) enhanced the anti-immobility effect of subthreshold doses of various antidepressant drugs like fluoxetine, venlafaxine, or bupropion. However, no significant change in the anti-immobility effect of imipramine and desipramine was observed. Furthermore, combination of subthreshold dose of curcumin and various antidepressant drugs resulted in synergistic increase in serotonin (5-HT) levels as compared to their effect per se. There was no change in the norepinephrine levels. The coadministration of piperine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.), a bioavailability enhancing agent, with curcumin (20 and 40 mg/kg, i.p.) resulted in potentiation of pharmacological, biochemical, and neurochemical activities. CONCLUSION: The study provides evidences for mechanism-based antidepressant actions of curcumin. The coadministration of curcumin along with piperine may prove to be a useful and potent natural antidepressant approach in the management of depression.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) . 2008 Dec;201(3):435-42

Antidepressant activity of aqueous extracts of Curcuma longa in mice.

Curcuma longa (turmeric) is a well-known indigenous herbal medicine. The aqueous extracts, when administered orally to the mice from 140 to 560 mg/kg for 14 days, were able to elicit dose-dependent relation of immobility reduction in the tail suspension test and the forced swimming test in mice. The effects of the extracts at the dose of 560 mg/kg were more potent than that of reference antidepressant fluoxetine. The extracts, at the dose of 140 mg/kg or above for 14 days, significantly inhibited the monoamine oxidize A (MAO) activity in mouse whole brain at a dose-dependent manner, however, oral administration of the extract only at a dose of 560 mg/kg produced observable MAO B inhibitory activity in animal brain. Fluoxetine showed only a tendency to inhibit MAO A and B activity in animal brain in the study. Neither the extracts of C. longa nor fluoxetine, at the doses tested, produced significant effects on locomotor activity. These results demonstrated that C. longa had specifically antidepressant effects invivo. The activity of C. longa in antidepression may mediated in part through MAO. A inhibition in mouse brain.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Nov;83(1-2):161-5

The effects of curcumin on depressive-like behaviors in mice.

Curcuma longa is a major constituent of Xiaoyao-san, the traditional Chinese medicinal formula, which has been used effectively to treat depression-related diseases in China. There is no information available about the antidepressant activity of curcumin, the active component of curcuma longa. In the present study, we analyzed the effects of curcumin on depressive-like behaviors in mice, using two animal models of depression. Our results showed that curcumin treatment at 5 and 10 mg/kg (p.o.) significantly reduced the duration of immobility in both the tail suspension and forced swimming tests. These doses that affected the immobile response did not affect locomotor activity. In addition, the neurochemical assays showed that curcumin produced a marked increase of serotonin and noradrenaline levels at 10 mg/kg in both the frontal cortex and hippocampus. Dopamine levels were also increased in the frontal cortex and the striatum. Moreover, curcumin was found to inhibit monoamine oxidase activity in the mouse brain. These findings suggest that the antidepressant-like effects of curcumin may involve the central monoaminergic neurotransmitter systems.

Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 Jul 25;518(1):40-6

Curcumin reverses impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and increases serotonin receptor 1A mRNA and brain-derived
neurotrophic factor expression in chronically stressed rats.

Curcuma longa is a major constituent of Xiaoyao-san, the traditional Chinese medicine, which has been used to effectively manage stress and depression-related disorders in China. As the active component of curcuma longa, curcumin possesses many therapeutic properties; we have previously described its antidepressant activity in our earlier studies using the chronic unpredictable stress model of depression in rats. Recent studies show that stress-induced damage to hippocampal neurons may contribute to the phathophysiology of depression. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of curcumin on hippocampal neurogenesis in chronically stressed rats. We used an unpredictable chronic stress paradigm (20 days) to determine whether chronic curcumin treatment with the effective doses for behavioral responses (5, 10 and 20 mg/kg, p.o.), could alleviate or reverse the effects of stress on adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Our results suggested that curcumin administration (10 and 20 mg/kg, p.o.) increased hippocampal neurogenesis in chronically stressed rats, similar to classic antidepressant imipramine treatment (10 mg/kg, i.p.). Our results further demonstrated that these new cells mature and become neurons, as determined by triple labeling for BrdU and neuronal- or glial-specific markers. In addition, curcumin significantly prevented the stress-induced decrease in 5-HT(1A) mRNA and BDNF protein levels in the hippocampal subfields, two molecules involved in hippocampal neurogenesis. These results raise the possibility that increased cell proliferation and neuronal populations may be a mechanism by which curcumin treatment overcomes the stress-induced behavioral abnormalities and hippocampal neuronal damage. Moreover, curcumin treatment, via up-regulation of 5-HT(1A) receptors and BDNF, may reverse or protect hippocampal neurons from further damage in response to chronic stress, which may underlie the therapeutic actions of curcumin.

Brain Res . 2007 Aug 8;1162:9-18

Consumption of the putative chemopreventive agent curcumin by cancer patients: assessment of curcumin levels in the colorectum and their pharmacodynamic consequences.

Curcumin, a constituent of the spice turmeric, has been shown to reduce the adenoma burden in rodent models of colorectal cancer accompanied by a reduction of levels of the oxidative DNA adduct 3-(2-deoxy-beta-di-erythro-pentafuranosyl)-pyr[1,2-alpha]-purin-10(3H)one (M(1)G) and of expression of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). We tested the hypothesis that pharmacologically active levels of curcumin can be achieved in the colorectum of humans as measured by effects on levels of M(1)G and COX-2 protein. Patients with colorectal cancer ingested curcumin capsules (3,600, 1,800, or 450 mg daily) for 7 days. Biopsy samples of normal and malignant colorectal tissue, respectively, were obtained at diagnosis and at 6 to 7 hours after the last dose of curcumin. Blood was taken 1 hour after the last dose of curcumin. Curcumin and its metabolites were detected and quantitated by high-performance liquid chromatography with detection by UV spectrophotometry or mass spectrometry. M(1)G levels and COX-2 protein expression were measured by immunoslot blot and Western blotting, respectively. The concentrations of curcumin in normal and malignant colorectal tissue of patients receiving 3,600 mg of curcumin were 12.7 +/- 5.7 and 7.7 +/- 1.8 nmol/g, respectively. Curcumin sulfate and curcumin glucuronide were identified in the tissue of these patients. Trace levels of curcumin were found in the peripheral circulation. M(1)G levels were 2.5-fold higher in malignant tissue as compared with normal tissue (P < 0.05 by ANOVA). Administration of curcumin (3,600 mg) decreased M(1)G levels from 4.8 +/- 2.9 adducts per 107 nucleotides in malignant colorectal tissue to 2.0 +/- 1.8 adducts per 107 nucleotides (P < 0.05 by ANOVA). COX-2 protein levels in malignant colorectal tissue were not affected by curcumin. The results suggest that a daily dose of 3.6 g curcumin achieves pharmacologically efficacious levels in the colorectum with negligible distribution of curcumin outside the gut.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev . 2005 Jan;14(1):120-5

Astrocytes: biology and pathology.

Astrocytes are specialized glial cells that outnumber neurons by over fivefold. They contiguously tile the entire central nervous system (CNS) and exert many essential complex functions in the healthy CNS. Astrocytes respond to all forms of CNS insults through a process referred to as reactive astrogliosis, which has become a pathological hallmark of CNS structural lesions. Substantial progress has been made recently in determining functions and mechanisms of reactive astrogliosis and in identifying roles of astrocytes in CNS disorders and pathologies. A vast molecular arsenal at the disposal of reactive astrocytes is being defined. Transgenic mouse models are dissecting specific aspects of reactive astrocytosis and glial scar formation in vivo. Astrocyte involvement in specific clinicopathological entities is being defined. It is now clear that reactive astrogliosis is not a simple all-or-none phenomenon but is a finely gradated continuum of changes that occur in context-dependent manners regulated by specific signaling events. These changes range from reversible alterations in gene expression and cell hypertrophy with preservation of cellular domains and tissue structure, to long-lasting scar formation with rearrangement of tissue structure. Increasing evidence points towards the potential of reactive astrogliosis to play either primary or contributing roles in CNS disorders via loss of normal astrocyte functions or gain of abnormal effects. This article reviews (1) astrocyte functions in healthy CNS, (2) mechanisms and functions of reactive astrogliosis and glial scar formation, and (3) ways in which reactive astrocytes may cause or contribute to specific CNS disorders and lesions.

Acta Neuropathol. 2010 Jan;119(1):7-35

An overview of curcumin in neurological disorders.

Curcumin, the principal curcuminoid found in spice turmeric, has recently been studied for its active role in the treatment of various central nervous system disorders. Curcumin demonstrates neuroprotective action in Alzheimer’s disease, tardive dyskinesia, major depression, epilepsy, and other related neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. The mechanism of its

neuroprotective action is not completely understood. However, it has been hypothesized to act majorly through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Also, it is a potent inhibitor of reactive astrocyte expression and thus prevents cell death. Curcumin also modulates various neurotransmitter levels in the brain. The present review attempts to discuss some of the potential protective role of curcumin in animal models of major depression, tardive dyskinesia and diabetic neuropathy. These studies call for well planned clinical studies on curcumin for its potential use in neurological disorders.

Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010 Mar;72(2):149-54

Pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic study of oral Curcuma extract in patients with colorectal cancer.

Curcuma spp. extracts, particularly the dietary polyphenol curcumin, prevent colon cancer in rodents. In view of the sparse information on the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of curcumin in humans, a
dose-escalation pilot study of a novel standardized Curcuma extract in proprietary capsule form was performed at doses between 440 and 2200 mg/day, containing 36-180 mg of curcumin. Fifteen patients with advanced colorectal cancer refractory to standard chemotherapies received Curcuma extract daily for up to 4 months. Activity of glutathione S-transferase and levels of a DNA adduct (M(1)G) formed by malondialdehyde, a product of lipid peroxidation and prostaglandin biosynthesis, were measured in patients’ blood cells. Oral Curcuma extract was well tolerated, and dose-limiting toxicity was not observed. Neither curcumin nor its metabolites were detected in blood or urine, but curcumin was recovered from feces. Curcumin sulfate was identified in the feces of one patient. Ingestion of 440 mg of Curcuma extract for 29 days was accompanied by a 59% decrease in lymphocytic glutathione S-transferase activity. At higher dose levels, this effect was not observed. Leukocytic M(1)G levels were constant within each patient and unaffected by treatment. Radiologically stable disease was demonstrated in five patients for 2-4 months of treatment. The results suggest that (a) Curcuma extract can be administered safely to patients at doses of up to 2.2 g daily, equivalent to 180 mg of curcumin; (b) curcumin has low oral bioavailability in humans and may undergo intestinal metabolism; and (c) larger clinical trials of Curcuma extract are merited.

Clin Cancer Res. 2001 Jul;7(7):1894-900

Inflammation and its discontents: the role of cytokines in the pathophysiology of major depression.

Recognition that inflammation may represent a common mechanism of disease has been extended to include neuropsychiatric disorders including major depression. Patients with major depression have been found to exhibit increased peripheral blood inflammatory biomarkers, including inflammatory cytokines, which have been shown to access the brain and interact with virtually every pathophysiologic domain known to be involved in depression, including neurotransmitter metabolism, neuroendocrine function, and neural plasticity. Indeed, activation of inflammatory pathways within the brain is believed to contribute to a confluence of decreased neurotrophic support and altered glutamate release/reuptake, as well as oxidative stress, leading to excitotoxicity and loss of glial elements, consistent with neuropathologic findings that characterize depressive disorders. Further instantiating the link between inflammation and depression are data demonstrating that psychosocial stress, a well-known precipitant of mood disorders, is capable of stimulating inflammatory signaling molecules, including nuclear factor kappa B, in part, through activation of sympathetic nervous system outflow pathways. Interestingly, depressed patients with increased inflammatory biomarkers have been found to be more likely to exhibit treatment resistance, and in several studies, antidepressant therapy has been associated with decreased inflammatory responses. Finally, preliminary data from patients with inflammatory disorders, as well as medically healthy depressed patients, suggest that inhibiting proinflammatory cytokines or their signaling pathways may improve depressed mood and increase treatment response to conventional antidepressant medication. Translational implications of these findings include the unique opportunity to identify relevant patient populations, apply immune-targeted therapies, and monitor therapeutic efficacy at the level of the immune system in addition to behavior.

Biol Psychiatry . 2009 May 1;65(9):732-41.

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale: has the gold standard become a lead weight?

OBJECTIVE: The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale has been the gold standard for the assessment of depression for more than 40 years. Criticism of the instrument has been increasing. The authors review studies published since the last major review of this instrument in 1979 that explicitly examine the psychometric properties of the Hamilton depression scale. The authors’ goal is to determine whether continued use of the Hamilton depression scale as a measure of treatment outcome is justified. METHOD: MEDLINE was searched for studies published since 1979 that examine psychometric properties of the Hamilton depression scale. Seventy studies were identified and selected, and then grouped into three categories on the basis of the major psychometric properties examined-reliability, item-response characteristics, and validity. RESULTS: The Hamilton depression scale’s internal reliability is adequate, but many scale items are poor contributors to the measurement of depression severity; others have poor interrater and retest reliability. For many items, the format for response options is not optimal. Content validity is poor; convergent validity and discriminant validity are adequate. The factor structure of the Hamilton depression scale is multidimensional but with poor replication across samples. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence suggests that the Hamilton depression scale is psychometrically and conceptually flawed. The breadth and severity of the problems militate against efforts to revise the current instrument. After more than 40 years, it is time to embrace a new gold standard for assessment of depression.

Am J Psychiatry . 2004 Dec;161(12):2163-77

Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids.

The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are orthomolecular, conditionally essential nutrients that enhance quality of life and lower the risk of premature death. They function exclusively via cell membranes, in which they are anchored by phospholipid molecules. DHA is proven essential to pre- and postnatal brain development, whereas EPA seems more influential on behavior and mood. Both DHA and EPA generate neuroprotective metabolites. In double-blind, randomized, controlled trials, DHA and EPA combinations have been shown to benefit attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, and aggression. For the affective disorders, meta-analyses confirm benefits in major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder, with promising results in schizophrenia and initial benefit for borderline personality disorder. Accelerated cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) correlate with lowered tissue levels of DHA/EPA, and supplementation has improved cognitive function. Huntington disease has responded to EPA. Omega-3 phospholipid supplements that combine DHA/EPA and phospholipids into the same molecule have shown marked promise in early clinical trials. Phosphatidylserine with DHA/EPA attached (Omega-3 PS) has been shown to alleviate AD/HD symptoms. Krill omega-3 phospholipids, containing mostly phosphatidylcholine (PC) with DHA/EPA attached, markedly outperformed conventional fish oil DHA/EPA triglycerides in double-blind trials for premenstrual syndrome/dysmenorrhea and for normalizing blood lipid profiles. Krill omega-3 phospholipids demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity, lowering C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in a double-blind trial. Utilizing DHA and EPA together with phospholipids and membrane antioxidants to achieve a triple cell membrane synergy may further diversify their currently wide range of clinical applications.

Altern Med Rev . 2007 Sep;12(3):207-27

Dietary intake of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids is linked to gray matter volume and cognitive function in elderly.

In the present study, we tested whether elderly with a high dietary intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) would have higher cognitive test scores and greater brain volume than those with low dietary intake of these fatty acids. Data were obtained from the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) cohort. The dietary intake of EPA and DHA was determined by a 7-day food protocol in 252 cognitively healthy elderly (122 females) at the age of 70 years. At age 75, participants’ global cognitive function was examined, and their brain volumes were measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Three different multivariate linear regression models were applied to test our hypothesis: model A (adjusted for gender and age), model B (additionally controlled for lifestyle factors, e.g., education), and model C (further controlled for cardiometabolic factors, e.g., systolic blood pressure). We found that the self-reported 7-day dietary intake of EPA and DHA at the age of 70 years was positively associated with global gray matter volume (P < 0.05, except for model C) and increased global cognitive performance score (P < 0.05). However, no significant associations were observed between the dietary intake of EPA and DHA and global white matter, total brain volume, and regional gray matter, respectively. Further, no effects were observed when examining cognitively impaired (n = 27) elderly as separate analyses. These cross-sectional findings suggest that dietary intake of EPA and DHA may be linked to improved cognitive health in late life but must be confirmed in patient studies.

Age (Dordr) . 2013 Aug;35(4):1495-505

Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the cross-sectional relationship between nutrient status and psychometric and imaging indices of brain health in dementia-free elders.METHODS: Thirty plasma biomarkers of diet were assayed in the Oregon Brain Aging Study cohort (n = 104). Principal component analysis constructed nutrient biomarker patterns (NBPs) and regression models assessed the relationship of these with cognitive and MRI outcomes. RESULTS: Mean age was 87 ± 10 years and 62% of subjects were female. Two NBPs associated with more favorable cognitive and MRI measures: one high in plasma vitamins B (B1, B2, B6, folate, and B12), C, D, and E, and another high in plasma marine w-3 fatty acids. A third pattern characterized by high trans fat was associated with less favorable cognitive function and less total cerebral brain volume. Depression attenuated the relationship between the marine w-3 pattern and white matter hyperintensity volume. CONCLUSION: Distinct nutrient biomarker patterns detected in plasma are interpretable and account for a significant degree of variance in both cognitive function and brain volume. Objective and multivariate approaches to the study of nutrition in brain health warrant further study. These findings should be confirmed in a separate population.

Neurology . 2012 Jan 24;78(4):241-9

Blood markers of fatty acids and vitamin D, cardiovascular measures, body mass index, and physical activity relate to longitudinal cortical thinning in normalaging.

We hypothesized that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and physical activity relate to cortical sparing, whereas higher levels of cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI) relate to increased atrophy in the adult lifespan. Longitudinal measures of cortical thickness were derived from magnetic resonance imaging scans acquired (mean interval 3.6 years) from 203 healthy persons aged 23-87 years. At follow-up, measures of BMI, blood pressure, and physical activity were obtained. Blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, vitamin D, and cholesterol were measured in a subsample (n = 92). Effects were tested in cortical surface-based analyses, with sex, age, follow-up interval, and the interactions between each included as covariates. Higher levels of docosahexaenoic acid, vitamin D, and physical activity related to cortical sparing. Higher cholesterol and BMI related to increased cortical thinning. Effects were independent, did not interact with age, and the cholesterol effect was restricted to males. Eicosapentaenoic acid and blood pressure showed no effects. The observed effects show promise for potential factors to reduce cortical atrophy in normal aging.

Neurobiol Aging . 2014 May;35(5):1055-64

Association of plasma w-3 to w-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio with complexity of coronary artery lesion.

OBJECTIVE: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (w-3 PUFA) family plays important roles in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), while, arachidonic acid (AA) of the w-6 PUFA family promotes inflammatory and prothrombotic influences. The complexity of coronary lesions represents the vulnerability of patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the plasma EPA/AA ratio and the prevalence of complex coronary lesion morphology. METHODS: This study consisted of 206 consecutive patients with stable angina pectoris (sAP). Each coronary lesion was determined either as complex or simple based on angiographic findings. To examine the plasma fatty acid level, blood samples were obtained. Patients were divided into three groups according to the obtained plasma EPA/AA ratio: the highest tertile, n=67, the 2nd tertile, n=70, or the lowest tertile, n=69. RESULTS: A higher incidence of complex coronary lesion was obtained from patients with a lower plasma EPA/AA ratio [43 (62%) vs. 31 (44%) vs. 25 (37%), p=0.011]. High-sensitivity CRP levels and a low plasma EPA/AA ratio could independently predict the prevalence of complex coronary lesions on multivariate logistic regression analysis [odds ratio 1.83 (95%CI 1.03-3.25), p=0.038 and odds ratio 2.10 (95%CI 1.11-3.94), p=0.02)]. CONCLUSION: In patients with sAP, a low plasma EPA/AA ratio was significantly associated with a high prevalence of complex coronary lesions.

Intern Med. 2012;51(9):1009-14

Associations of plasma n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with blood pressure andcardiovascular risk factors among Chinese.

The relationship between plasma fatty acid (FA) levels and hypertension in Chinese is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to examine relationships between plasma phospholipid (PL) FAs and hypertension in Chinese subjects. One thousand one hundred and fifty-four subjects in Hangzhou, China, were recruited in this cross-sectional study. Two hundred and fourteen (160 males, 54 females) subjects with hypertension and 940 (664 males, 276 females) healthy subjects were identified. The prevalence of hypertension in females (19.6%) was significantly higher than that in males (16.4%). Compared with healthy subjects, hypertensive subjects showed significantly lower plasma PL 22:5n-3
(p = 0.017), 22:6n-3 (p = 0.008), PL polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs; p < 0.001), n-3 PUFA (p = 0.015), n-6 PUFA (p < 0.001) and 20:4n-6 (p < 0.010). PL n-3 PUFA [odds ratio (OR) = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.29-1.19] and n-3:n-6 (OR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.12-1.86) were inversely associated with hypertension. However, plasma saturated fatty acid (SFA; OR = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.05-2.98) was significantly positively associated with hypertension. PL SFA was significantly positively associated with systolic blood pressure (p = 0.048), whereas plasma PL monounsaturated FA was significantly positively associated with diastolic blood pressure (DBP; p = 0.009) in hypertensive subjects. PL PUFA (p = 0.022) and n-3 PUFA (p = 0.047) were significantly negatively associated with DBP in hypertensive subjects. Our results suggest that plasma PL n-3 PUFA was significantly inversely associated with hypertension in Chinese. It would seem appropriate for hypertensive subjects to increase their dietary n-3 PUFA which may help reduce BP.

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Sep;63(6):667-73

Association of plasma phospholipid long-chain w-3 fatty acids with incident atrial fibrillation in older adults: the cardiovascular health study.

BACKGROUND: Experimental studies suggest that long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF). Prior studies evaluating fish or n-3 PUFA consumption from dietary questionnaires and incident AF have been conflicting. Circulating levels of n-3 PUFAs provide an objective measurement of exposure. METHODS AND RESULTS: Among 3,326 US men and women ≥65 years of age and free of AF or heart failure at baseline, plasma phospholipid levels of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid were measured at baseline by use of standardized methods. Incident AF (789 cases) was identified prospectively from hospital discharge records and study visit ECGs during 31 169 person-years of follow-up (1992-2006). In multivariable Cox models adjusted for other risk factors, the relative risk in the top versus lowest quartile of total n-3 PUFAs (eicosapentaenoic acid+docosapentaenoic acid+docosahexaenoic acid) levels was 0.71 (95% confidence interval, 0.57-0.89; P for trend=0.004) and of DHA levels was 0.77 (95% confidence interval, 0.62-0.96; P for trend=0.01). Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid levels were not significantly associated with incident AF. Evaluated nonparametrically, both total n-3 PUFAs and docosahexaenoic acid showed graded and linear inverse associations with incidence of AF. Adjustment for intervening events such as heart failure or myocardial infarction during follow-up did not appreciably alter results. CONCLUSIONS: In older adults, higher circulating total long-chain n-3 PUFA and docosahexaenoic acid levels were associated with lower risk of incident AF. These results highlight the need to evaluate whether increased dietary intake of these fatty acids could be effective for the primary prevention of AF.

Circulation. 2012 Mar 6;125(9):1084-93

Fish oil-enriched diet protects against ischemia by improving angiogenesis, endothelial progenitor cell function and postnatal neovascularization.

BACKGROUND: Fish oil consumption has been associated with a reduced incidence of cardiovascular diseases. However, the precise mechanisms involved are not completely understood. Here we tested the hypothesis that a fish oil-enriched diet improves neovascularization in response to ischemia. METHODS AND RESULTS: C57Bl/6 mice were fed a diet containing either 20% fish oil, rich in long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), or 20% corn oil, rich in n-6 PUFAs. After 4 weeks, hindlimb ischemia was surgically induced by femoral artery removal. We found that blood flow recovery was significantly improved in mice fed a fish oil diet compared to those fed a corn oil diet (Doppler flow ratio (DFR) at day 21 after surgery 78 ± 5 vs. 56 ± 4; p < 0.01). Clinically, this was associated with a significant reduction of ambulatory impairment and ischemic damage in the fish oil group. At the microvascular level, capillary density was significantly improved in ischemic muscles of mice fed a fish oil diet. This correlated with increased expression of VEGF and eNOS in ischemic muscles, and higher NO concentration in the plasma. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been shown to have an important role for postnatal neovascularization. We found that the number of EPCs was significantly increased in mice fed a fish oil diet. In addition, oxidative stress levels (DCF-DA, DHE) were reduced in EPCs isolated from mice exposed to fish oil, and this was associated with improved EPC functional activities (migration and integration into tubules). In vitro, treatment of EPCs with fish oil resulted in a significant increase of cellular migration. In addition, the secretion of angiogenic growth factors including IL6 and leptin was significantly increased in EPCs exposed to fish oil. CONCLUSION: Fish oil-enriched diet is associated with improved neovascularization in response to ischemia. Potential mechanisms involved include activation of VEGF/NO pathway in ischemic tissues together with an increase in the number and the functional activities of EPCs.

Atherosclerosis. 2013 Aug;229(2):295-303

Cardioprotective modulation of cardiac adiponectin and adiponectin receptors byomega-3 in the high-fat fed rats.

Obesity is an important risk factor for heart disease. This study investigated the effects of omega-3 (omega-3) on reversal of high fat (HF) diet-induced changes in the expression of the cardiac adiponectin and adiponectin receptors R1 and R2. Male rats were fed low-fat (LF; 10% energy from fat) or HF (45% energy from fat) for 16 weeks, LF-omega-3 or a HF-omega-3 (LF or HF for 16 weeks supplemented by omega-3 as 36 g/kg diet for the last 6 weeks, respectively) and a HF diet for 10 weeks to demonstrate HF effect before omega-3 administration. HF diet induced obesity, glucose intolerance, increased heart end systolic and diastolic volumes, decreased serum adiponectin, reduced expression of cardiac and adipose tissue adiponectin and adipo R1 & R2 with elevated serum tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) compared to the LF diet. On the other hand, the HF-omega-3 group compared with the HF group had improved glucose tolerance (area under the glucose curve 837.14 +/- 45.7 versus 1158.5 +/- 69.8) and insulin resistance with a significant increase in serum adiponectin (4.22 +/- 0.39 versus 2.82 +/- 0.69 ng/ml) and a significant decrease in serum TNF-alpha (129.84 +/-13.63 versus 209.8 +/- 16.42 pg/ml) and triglycerides independent of obesity. Also the data showed significant increases in the expression of cardiac and adipose tissue adiponectin and adiponectin R1 and adipose tissue adipo R2 as well as cardiac pAMP kinase with improvement in end-systolic and -diastolic volumes. These parameters were also improved compared to initial values in HF-10-week group. In conclusion, dietary omega-3 supplementation has a beneficial effect on fat-induced cardiac dysfunction and insulin resistance partly through increasing adiponectin and adiponectin receptors expression in heart and adipose tissue.

Chin J Physiol. 2013 Apr 30;56(2):65-76

A new pure Omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester (AMR101) for the management of hypertriglyceridemia: the MARINE trial.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce triglyceride (TG) levels, but corresponding increases in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels may compromise achievement of lipid goals in patients with elevated cardiovascular risk. AMR101 is an investigational agent containing ≥96% of pure icosapent ethyl (the ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid). The Phase III Multi-Center, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Double-Blind, 12-Week Study with an Open-Label Extension (MARINE) investigated the efficacy and safety of AMR101 in 229 patients with very high TG levels (≥500 mg/dl). AMR101 4 g/day significantly reduced median placebo-adjusted TG levels from baseline by 33.1% (p < 0.0001), and AMR101 2 g/day reduced TG levels by 19.7% (p = 0.0051). Changes in LDL-C were minimal and nonsignificant. AMR101 may offer substantial TG lowering without increases in LDL-C levels.

Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2012 Jun;10(6):687-95

SKPs derive from hair follicle precursors and exhibit properties of adult dermal stem cells.

Despite the remarkable regenerative capacity of mammalian skin, an adult dermal stem cell has not yet been identified. Here, we investigated whether skin-derived precursors (SKPs) might fulfill such a role. We show that SKPs derive from Sox2(+) hair follicle dermal cells and that these two cell populations are similar with regard to their transcriptome and functional properties. Both clonal SKPs and endogenous Sox2(+) cells induce hair morphogenesis, differentiate into dermal cell types, and home to a hair follicle niche upon transplantation. Moreover, hair follicle-derived SKPs self-renew, maintain their multipotency, and serially reconstitute hair follicles. Finally, grafting experiments show that follicle-associated dermal cells move out of their niche to contribute cells for dermal maintenance and wound-healing. Thus, SKPs derive from Sox2(+) follicle-associated dermal precursors and display functional properties predicted of a dermal stem cell, contributing to dermal maintenance, wound-healing, and hair follicle morphogenesis.

Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Dec 4;5(6):610-23

Physicochemical characteristics, nutritional properties, and health benefits of argan oil: a review.

The argan tree (Argania spinosa L. Skeels), an endemic tree in Morocco, is the most remarkable species in North Africa, due to its botanical and bioecologic interest as well as its social value. Argan oil is traditionally well known for its cardioprotective properties and it is also used in the treatment of skin infections. This paper gives an overview of scientific literature available on nutritional and pharmacologic properties of argan oil. Owing to its unique organoleptic properties associated with its cardioprotective properties, argan oil has found, recently, its place in the highly competitive international edible oil market. This success is a very positive sign for the preservation of the argan tree, the argan forests and, therefore, in general, the biodiversity.

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr . 2014;54(11):1401-14

Age-related changes in proliferation, the numbers of mast cells, eosinophils, and cd45-positive cells in human dermis.

Skin aging is an extremely important medical and social problem in the modern world. Therefore, a goal of the present work was to estimate changes in the numbers of fibroblast-like cells, proliferating cells nuclear antigen-positive cells, CD45-positive cells, mast cells, and eosinophils in human dermis at different ages. Skin specimens from human fetuses that died antenatally from 20 to 40 weeks of pregnancy and humans who died from different causes from 1 day to 85 years of life were used for the study. Results showed a decrease in a total number and the number of proliferating cells nuclear antigen-positive fibroblast-like cells in dermis with progression of age. The numbers of CD45-positive cells and mast cells are gradually increased with aging. Eosinophils are almost absent in dermis independently on age. Mast cells are probably a main factor that potentially can be involved in tissue damage and aging changes in skin. Mast cells should be regarded as an important target for anti-aging therapy.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011 Apr;66(4):385-92

Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation.

Reduced synthesis of collagen types I and III is characteristic of chronologically aged skin. The present report provides evidence that both cellular fibroblast aging and defective mechanical stimulation in the aged tissue contribute to reduced collagen synthesis. The reduction in collagen synthesis due to fibroblast aging was demonstrated by a lower in vitro production of type I procollagen by dermal fibroblasts isolated from skin of young (18 to 29 years) versus old (80+ years) individuals (82 +/- 16 versus 56 +/- 8 ng/ml; P < 0.05). A reduction in mechanical stimulation in chronologically aged skin was inferred from morphological, ultrastructural, and fluorescence microscopic studies. These studies, comparing dermal sections from young and old individuals, demonstrated a greater percentage of the cell surface attached to collagen fibers (78 +/- 6 versus 58 +/- 8%; P < 0.01) and more extensive cell spreading (1.0 +/- 0.3 vs. 0.5 +/- 0.3; P < 0.05) in young skin compared with old skin. These features are consistent with a lower level of mechanical stimulation on the cells in old versus young skin. Based on the findings presented here, we conclude that reduced collagen synthesis in chronologically aged skin reflects at least two different underlying mechanisms: cellular fibroblast aging and a lower level of mechanical stimulation.

Am J Pathol. 2006 Jun;168(6):1861-8

Procyanidin content and variation in some commonly consumed foods.

Procyanidins are a subclass of flavonoids found in commonly consumed foods that have attracted increasing attention due to their potential health benefits. However, little is known regarding their dietary intake levels because detailed quantitative information on the procyanidin profiles present in many food products is lacking. Therefore, the procyanidin content of red wine, chocolate, cranberry juice and four varieties of apples has been determined. On average,chocolate and apples contained the largest procyanidin content per serving (164.7 and 147.1 mg, respectively) compared with red wine and cranberry juice (22.0 and 31.9 mg, respectively). However, the procyanidin content varied greatly between apple samples (12.3-252.4 mg/serving) with the highest amounts on average observed for the Red Delicious (207.7 mg/serving) and Granny Smith (183.3 mg/serving) varieties and the lowest amounts in the Golden Delicious (92.5 mg/serving) and McIntosh (105.0 mg/serving) varieties. The compositional data reported herein are important for the initial understanding of which foods contribute most to the dietary intake of procyanidins and may be used to compile a database necessary to infer epidemiological relationships to health and disease.

J Nutr. 2000 Aug;130(8S Suppl):2086S-92S

Procyanidin oligomers selectively and intensively promote proliferation of mouse hair epithelial cells in vitro and activate hair follicle growth in vivo.

We have previously reported that proanthocyanidins extracted from grape seeds possess growth-promoting activity toward murine hair epithelial cells in vitro and stimulate anagen induction in hair cycle progression in vivo. This report constitutes a comparison of the growth-promoting activity of procyanidin oligomers and the target cells of procyanidins in the skin. Results show that procyanidin dimer and trimer exhibit higher growth-promoting activity than the monomer. The maximum growth-promoting activity for hair epithelial cells with procyanidin B-2, an epicatechin dimer, reached about 300% (30 microM) relative to controls (= 100%) in a 5 d culture. Optimum concentration of procyanidin C-1, an epicatechin trimer, was lower than that of procyanidin B-2; the maximum growth-promoting activity of procyanidin C-1 was about 220% (3 microM). No other flavonoid compounds examined exhibit higher proliferative activities than the procyanidins. In skin constituent cells, only epithelial cells such as hair keratinocytes or epidermal keratinocytes respond to procyanidin oligomers. Topical application of 1% procyanidin oligomers on shaven C3H mice in the telogen phase led to significant hair regeneration [procyanidin B-2, 69.6% +/- 21.8% (mean +/- SD); procyanidin B-3, 80.9% +/- 13.0%; procyanidin C-1, 78.3% +/- 7.6%] on the basis of the shaven area; application of vehicle only led to regeneration of 41.7% (SD = 16.3%). In this paper, we demonstrate the hair-growing activity of procyanidin oligomers both in vitro and in vivo, and their potential for use as agents to induce hair growth.

J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Mar;112(3):310-6

Investigation of the topical application of procyanidin oligomers from apples to identify their potential use as a hair-growing agent.

BACKGROUND: Procyanidins are a family of condensed tannins, which have been shown to possess hair-growing activity in both the in vitro and in vivo murine models. AIMS: We report a 12-month clinical study aimed at treating male pattern baldness by external application of 0.7% apple procyanidin oligomers. PATIENTS/METHODS: A double-blind clinical test involving a total of 43 subjects was performed. Twenty-one men in the procyanidin group and 22 men in the placebo control group were subjected to analysis. In the first 6 months, we compared the procyanidin and the placebo groups to assess the medicinal effects of procyanidin oligomers. The application time of the procyanidin group was subsequently extended to 12 months, and the time course of its remedial value was examined. RESULTS: The increase in total number of hairs in a designated scalp area of the procyanidin group subjects after the 6-month trial was significantly greater than that of the placebo control group subjects (procyanidin, 3.3 +/- 13.0 (mean +/-SD)/0.50 cm(2); placebo, -3.6 +/- 8.1/0.50 cm(2); P < 0.001, two-sample t-test). Time course-dependent improvement in hair density was observed in the procyanidin subjects. No adverse side effects were observed in any of the subjects. Procyanidin therapy thus shows potential hair-growing activity.

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2005 Dec;4(4):245-9

Oxidative stress in ageing of hair.

Experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that oxidative stress plays a major role in the ageing process. Reactive oxygen species are generated by a multitude of endogenous and environmental challenges. Reactive oxygen species or free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can directly damage cellular structural membranes, lipids, proteins, and DNA. The body possesses endogenous defence mechanisms, such as antioxidative enzymes and non-enzymatic antioxidative molecules, protecting it from free radicals by reducing and neutralizing them. With age, the production of free radicals increases, while the endogenous defence mechanisms decrease. This imbalance leads to the progressive damage of cellular structures, presumably resulting in the ageing phenotype. Ageing of hair manifests as decrease of melanocyte function or graying, and decrease in hair production or alopecia. There is circumstantial evidence that oxidative stress may be a pivotal mechanism contributing to hair graying and hair loss. New insights into the role and prevention of oxidative stress could open new strategies for intervention and reversal of the hair graying process and age-dependent alopecia.

Int J Trichology . 2009 Jan;1(1):6-14