Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Nov 2015

Vitamin C, Selenium, Boron, and AMPK

Vitamin C, Selenium, Boron, and AMPK

By Life Extension.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention.

Vitamin C in humans must be ingested for survival. Vitamin C is an electron donor, and this property accounts for all its known functions. As an electron donor, vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant in humans. Antioxidant effects of vitamin C have been demonstrated in many experiments in vitro. Human diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer might occur in part from oxidant damage to tissues. Oxidation of lipids, proteins and DNA results in specific oxidation products that can be measured in the laboratory. While these biomarkers of oxidation have been measured in humans, such assays have not yet been validated or standardized, and the relationship of oxidant markers to human disease conditions is not clear. Epidemiological studies show that diets high in fruits and vegetables are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer, and with increased longevity. Whether these protective effects are directly attributable to vitamin C is not known. Intervention studies with vitamin C have shown no change in markers of oxidation or clinical benefit. Dose concentration studies of vitamin C in healthy people showed a sigmoidal relationship between oral dose and plasma and tissue vitamin C concentrations. Hence, optimal dosing is critical to intervention studies using vitamin C. Ideally, future studies of antioxidant actions of vitamin C should target selected patient groups. These groups should be known to have increased oxidative damage as assessed by a reliable biomarker or should have high morbidity and mortality due to diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by oxidant damage.

J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Feb;22(1):18-35

Decreased plasma and tissue levels of vitamin C in a rat model of aging: implications for antioxidative defense.

Aging is an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular and many other diseases. The aging process is known to be associated with increased oxidative stress, possibly related to an age-inherent loss of antioxidant capacity. Vitamin C is a major naturally occurring antioxidant. Thus, we investigated its role in a rat model of aging. Vitamin C in plasma and tissues as well as malondialdehyde in the heart were measured in young (6 months old) and old (27-30 months old) F1 (F344 x BN) healthy male rats fed a normal diet. In old rats, vitamin C plasma levels were found to be decreased (p<0.02) as compared with young animals. Furthermore, there was a tissue-specific distribution: in the heart, liver, kidney, lungs, and skeletal muscle, vitamin C decreased with age (p<0.005 to p<0.05), while no significant differences could be observed in the aortic wall and in the brain. Organs of the digestive tract rather showed an increase of vitamin C levels with age. Oxidative stress, determined representatively in the heart by measuring malondialdehyde tissue levels, exhibited an age-dependent increase (p<0.05). A distinct pattern of specific tissue distribution of vitamin C suggests a differential age-associated regulation. As vitamin C decreased concomitantly to an increase in cardiac lipid peroxidation, its supplementation may be useful to prevent age-related oxidative stress and tissue aging.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Apr 4;303(2):483-7

Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions.

Vitamin C concentrations in the plasma and leukocytes rapidly decline during infections and stress. Supplementation of vitamin C was found to improve components of the human immune system such as antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities, lymphocyte proliferation, chemotaxis, and delayed-type hypersensitivity. Vitamin C contributes to maintaining the redox integrity of cells and thereby protects them against reactive oxygen species generated during the respiratory burst and in the inflammatory response. Likewise, zinc undernutrition or deficiency was shown to impair cellular mediators of innate immunity such as phagocytosis, natural killer cell activity, and the generation of oxidative burst. Therefore, both nutrients play important roles in immune function and the modulation of host resistance to infectious agents, reducing the risk, severity, and duration of infectious diseases. This is of special importance in populations in which insufficient intake of these nutrients is prevalent. In the developing world, this is the case in low- and middle-income countries, but also in subpopulations in industrialized countries, e.g. in the elderly. A large number of randomized controlled intervention trials with intakes of up to 1 g of vitamin C and up to 30 mg of zinc are available. These trials document that adequate intakes of vitamin C and zinc ameliorate symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections including the common cold. Furthermore, vitamin C and zinc reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea infections, especially in children in developing countries.

Ann Nutr Metab . 2006;50(2):85-94

Vitamin C supplementation slightly improves physical activity levels and reduces cold incidence in men with marginal vitamin C status: a randomized controlled trial.

The early indications of vitamin C deficiency are unremarkable (fatigue, malaise, depression) and may manifest as a reduced desire to be physically active; moreover, hypovitaminosis C may be associated with increased cold duration and severity. This study examined the impact of vitamin C on physical activity and respiratory tract infections during the peak of the cold season. Healthy non-smoking adult men (18-35 years; BMI < 34 kg/m2; plasma vitamin C < 45 µmol/L) received either 1000 mg of vitamin C daily (n = 15) or placebo (n = 13) in a randomized, double-blind, eight-week trial. All participants completed the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey-21 daily and the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire weekly. In the final two weeks of the trial, the physical activity score rose modestly for the vitamin C group vs. placebo after adjusting for baseline values: +39.6% (95% CI [-4.5,83.7]; p = 0.10). The number of participants reporting cold episodes was 7 and 11 for the vitamin C and placebo groups respectively during the eight-week trial (RR = 0.55; 95% CI [0.33,0.94]; p = 0.04) and cold duration was reduced 59% in the vitamin C versus placebo groups (-3.2 days; 95% CI [-7.0,0.6]; p = 0.06). These data suggest measurable health advantages associated with vitamin C supplementation in a population with adequate-to-low vitamin C status.

Nutrients. 2014 Jul 9;6(7):2572-83

Immunologic modulation by vitamin C in the elderly.

Aging is associated with a decline in both humoral-mediated and cellular-mediated immunity. These aberrations may contribute to morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Since we have previously shown that vitamin C enhances in vitro and in vivo immune functions in young healthy volunteers, we studied the effects of vitamin C on certain immunologic parameters in an elderly population. In vitro lymphocyte proliferation to the mitogen concanavalin-A was significantly less when compared to a young control group. When lymphocytes from the elderly were pre-incubated overnight and cultured in the presence of 10 micrograms/ml of vitamin C, mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation was similar to that from controls without vitamin C in culture. Having demonstrated significant in vitro immunoenhancement with vitamin C, we next studied the effects of oral ingestion of 2 g of vitamin C daily on certain in vitro and in vivo immunologic parameters in the elderly. When compared with a placebo-treated group, 3 weeks of vitamin C treatment did not effect in vitro mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation or in vivo reactivity to common skin test antigens. The augmenting effects of in vitro vitamin C suggest that this essential vitamin may be an effective agent in modulating aberrant immunologic functions in the elderly. The clinical significance of these findings requires further study.

Int J Immunopharmacol . 1986;8(2):205-11

Antioxidant activity of vitamin C in iron-overloaded human plasma.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, AA) can act as an antioxidant or a pro-oxidant in vitro, depending on the absence or the presence, respectively, of redox-active metal ions. Some adults with iron-overload and some premature infants have potentially redox-active, bleomycin-detectable iron (BDI) in their plasma. Thus, it has been hypothesized that the combination of AA and BDI causes oxidative damage in vivo. We found that plasma of preterm infants contains high levels of AA and F2-isoprostanes, stable lipid peroxidation end products. However, F2-isoprostane levels were not different between those infants with BDI (138 +/- 51 pg/ml, n = 19) and those without (126 +/- 41 pg/ml, n = 10), and the same was true for protein carbonyls, a marker of protein oxidation (0.77 +/- 0.31 and 0.68 +/- 0.13 nmol/mg protein, respectively). Incubation of BDI-containing plasma from preterm infants did not result in detectable lipid hydroperoxide formation (</=10 nM cholesteryl ester hydroperoxides) as long as AA concentrations remained high. Furthermore, when excess iron was added to adult plasma, BDI became detectable, and endogenous AA was rapidly oxidized. Despite this apparent interaction between excess iron and endogenous AA, there was no detectable lipid peroxidation as long as AA was present at >10% of its initial concentration. Finally, when iron was added to plasma devoid of AA, lipid hydroperoxides were formed immediately, whereas endogenous and exogenous AA delayed the onset of iron-induced lipid peroxidation in a dose-dependent manner. These findings demonstrate that in iron-overloaded plasma, AA acts an antioxidant toward lipids. Furthermore, our data do not support the hypothesis that the combination of high plasma concentrations of AA and BDI, or BDI alone, causes oxidative damage to lipids and proteins in vivo.

J Biol Chem. 1997 Jun 20;272(25):15656-60

Rationale and impact of vitamin C in clinical nutrition.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The impact of vitamin C on oxidative stress-related diseases is moderate because of its limited oral bioavailability and rapid clearance. Parenteral administration can increase the benefit of vitamin C supplementation as is evident in critically ill patients. The aim here is to assess recent evidence of the clinical benefit and underlying effects of parenteral vitamin C in conditions of oxidative stress. RECENT FINDINGS: In critically ill patients and after severe burns, the rapid restoration of depleted ascorbate levels with high-dose parenteral vitamin C may reduce circulatory shock, fluid requirements and oedema. SUMMARY: Oxidative stress is associated with reduced ascorbate levels. Ascorbate is particularly effective in protecting the vascular endothelium, which is especially vulnerable to oxidative stress. The restoration of ascorbate levels may have therapeutic effects in diseases involving oxidative stress. The rapid replenishment of ascorbate is of special clinical significance in critically ill patients who experience drastic reductions in ascorbate levels, which may be a causal factor in the development of circulatory shock. Supraphysiological levels of ascorbate, which can only be achieved by the parenteral and not by the oral administration of vitamin C, may facilitate the restoration of vascular function in the critically ill patient.

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006 Nov;9(6):697-703

Micronutrients at the interface between inflammation and infection—ascorbic acid and calciferol: part 1, general overview with a focus on ascorbic acid.

As elements of the antioxidant system, cofactors of enzymes, components of transcription factors, and epigenetic modulators, micronutrients, such as vitamins and trace elements, influence various metabolic processes that are directly associated with immune functions. Specifically, the vitamins C and D have been shown to have significance immune function. Therefore, the objective of this review is to elucidate interactions between micronutrients and the immune system. In the initial section of this review, we present a general overview of interactions between the immune system and micronutrients, with a focus on the immunobiologically relevant functions of vitamin C. Immune competent cells accumulate vitamin C against a concentration gradient, with a close relationship between vitamin C supply and immune cell activity, especially phagocytosis activity and T-cell function. Accordingly, one of the consequences of vitamin C deficiency is impaired resistance to various pathogens, while an enhanced supply increases antibody activity and infection resistance.

Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2011 Feb;10(1):54-63

Effect of high-dose vitamin C on Epstein-Barr viral infection.

Background Many natural compounds were tested for the ability to suppress viral replication. The present manuscript details an analysis of high dose vitamin C therapy on patients with EBV infection. Material and Methods The data were obtained from the patient history database at the Riordan Clinic. Among people in our database who were treated with intravenous vitamin C (7.5 g to 50 g infusions) between 1997 and 2006, 178 patients showed elevated levels of EBV EA IgG (range 25 to 211 AU) and 40 showed elevated levels of EBV VCA IgM (range 25 to 140 AU). Most of these patients had a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, with the rest being diagnosed as having mononucleosis, fatigue, or EBV infection. Results Our data provide evidence that high dose intravenous vitamin C therapy has a positive effect on disease duration and reduction of viral antibody levels. Plasma levels of ascorbic acid and vitamin D were correlated with levels of antibodies to EBV. We found an inverse correlation between EBV VCA IgM and vitamin C in plasma in patients with mononucleosis and CFS meaning that patients with high levels of vitamin C tended to have lower levels of antigens in the acute state of disease. In addition, a relation was found between vitamin D levels and EBV EA IgG with lower levels of EBV early antigen IgG for higher levels of vitamin D. Conclusions The clinical study of ascorbic acid and EBV infection showed the reduction in EBV EA IgG and EBV VCA IgM antibody levels over time during IVC therapy that is consistent with observations from the literature that millimolar levels of ascorbate hinder viral infection and replication in vitro.

Med Sci Monit. 2014 May 3;20:725-32


Selenium, glutathione peroxidase, peroxides, and platelet functions.

In the last five years, there has been a renewal of interest in the protective role of selenium in vascular disorders, inspired by experimental evidence that this trace element could modulate leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis in both endothelial cells and platelets. In people living in low-selenium areas, a relationship has been established between a decrease in plasma selenium and an increase in the risk of coronary disease, atherosclerosis, platelet hyperaggregability and synthesis of proaggregant and proinflammatory compounds like thromboxane A2 and leukotrienes. Selenium, as an essential part of glutathione peroxidase, takes part in the reduction of hydrogen peroxides and lipid peroxides. The concentration of these peroxides, in turn, regulates the activities of cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase pathways, ultimately influencing the production of eicosanoids and modulating the balance between a proaggregatory and antiaggregatory state. Recent evidence shows that selenium, via its action on glutathione peroxidase activity, may be primarily responsible for the regulation of the endogenous hydroperoxide level. In human platelets, the activity of glutathione peroxidase is particularly high and is very sensitive to the requirement of selenium. This sensitivity could explain why platelets of selenium-deficient subjects show increased aggregation, thromboxane B2 production and synthesis of the lipoxygenase-derived compounds. In these deficient subjects, selenium administration increases platelet glutathione peroxidase activity and inhibits platelet hyperaggregation and leukotriene synthesis. These results support the hypothesis that selenium supplementation has a positive effect on platelet aggregation in selenium-deficient subjects. In France, more than 10% of the population is selenium-deficient and long-term supplementation with low doses of selenium could have a beneficial effect on the prevention of both thrombosis and coronary heart disease in these subjects.

Ann Biol Clin (Paris). 1996;54(5):181-7

Glutathione peroxidase protein. Absence in selenium deficiency states and correlation with enzymatic activity.

Glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) activity is an indicator of selenium status in selenium-deficient individuals. Utilizing polyclonal monospecific antibodies to purified erythrocyte GSHPx, we were able to determine the relationship between enzymatic activity and protein content. In erythrocytes from a selenium-deficient individual who was treated with selenium, and in HL-60 cells grown in the absence of selenium and then returned to selenium-containing medium, there was a direct relationship between enzymatic activity and protein content. Thus, selenium deficiency results not only in a decrease of GSHPx activity, but also in a decrease of GSHPx protein.

J Clin Invest. 1986 Apr;77(4):1402-4

Selenium supplementation improves antioxidant capacity in vitro and in vivo in patients with coronary artery disease The SElenium Therapy in Coronary Artery disease Patients (SETCAP) Study.

BACKGROUND: Selenium is a central determinant of antioxidative glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx-1) expression and activity. The relevance of selenium supplementation on GPx-1 in coronary artery disease (CAD) needs to be established. We assessed the effect of selenium supplementation on GPx-1 in cell culture and on endothelial function in a prospective clinical trial. METHODS: Human coronary artery endothelial cells were incubated with 5.78 to 578 nmol/L sodium selenite, Se-methyl-selenocysteine hydrochloride, or seleno-l-methionine. Glutathione peroxidase 1 mRNA and protein expression and activity were measured. Coronary artery disease patients (n = 465) with impaired endothelial function (flow-mediated dilation [FMD] <8%) were randomly assigned to receive 200 or 500 microg sodium selenite daily or matching placebo during a 12-week period. We tested the effect on red blood cell GPx-1 activity and brachial artery FMD. Furthermore, differences in biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation were measured. RESULTS: Sodium selenite and Se-methyl-selenocysteine hydrochloride increased GPx-1 protein and activity in a dose-dependent manner (P < .0001). The intention-to-treat groups comprised 433 CAD patients. Glutathione peroxidase 1 activity increased from 37.0 U/gHb (31.3-41.7) to 41.1 U/gHb (35.2-48.4) (P < .0001) in the 200 microg and from 38.1 U/gHb (33.2-43.8) to 42.6 U/gHb (35.0-49.1) (P < .0001) in the 500 microg sodium selenite group treated for 12-weeks. No relevant changes were observed for FMD or biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation. CONCLUSIONS: Sodium selenite supplementation increases GPx-1 activity in endothelial cells and in CAD patients. Future studies have to demonstrate whether long-term CAD outcome can be improved.

Am Heart J. 2008 Dec;156(6):1201.e1-11

Effect of selenium supplementation after acute myocardial infarction.

The effect of selenium supplementation was evaluated in 81 patients with acute myocardial infarction in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Patients were randomised into two treatment groups receiving either selenium-rich yeast (100 micrograms/day) or placebo in addition to conventional drug therapy for a 6-month period. During treatment the mean serum selenium concentration increased from 82 micrograms/l to 122 micrograms/l (p less than 0.001) in the selenium supplemented group and remained unaltered in the placebo group (83 micrograms/l). During the 6-month follow-up period there were 4 cardiac deaths in the placebo group whereas no patients in the selenium group died during the follow-up period. Furthermore, there were 2 nonfatal reinfarctions in the placebo group and one nonfatal reinfarction in the selenium group. The results encourage further studies to evaluate the efficacy of antioxidants in the prevention and therapy of acute myocardial infarction.

Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1989 Aug;65(2):249-52

Prescription cholesterol-lowering medication use in adults aged 40 and over: United States, 2003-2012.

During 2003–2012, there was a significant increase in the percentage of adults aged 40 and over who used a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication. In 2003–2004, one in five adults reported using a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication in the past 30 days. By 2011–2012, that number had risen to one in four adults. In 2011–2012, the majority of adults using a cholesterol-lowering medication reported using a statin alone (83%). Ten percent used both a statin and a nonstatin and another 7% used only a nonstatin. Simvastatin was the most commonly used medication, with 42% of all cholesterol-lowering medication users reporting its use, followed by atorvastatin (20.2%). Use of a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication increased with age but was similar between men and women and race and Hispanic origin groups. Adults aged 40–64 who reported having health insurance or prescription medication coverage were more likely to take prescription cholesterol-lowering medications. Hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol is one of the most common preventable risk factors for atherosclerotic CVD. In 2011–2012, more than 30 million Americans aged 20 and over (13%) had measured high total cholesterol (5). There is extensive and consistent evidence supporting the use of cholesterol-lowering medication, especially statins, in addition to lifestyle changes, to treat lipid disorders and reduce atherosclerotic CVD events. The 2013 cholesterol treatment guidelines updated recommendations for statin therapy on the basis of low-density lipid cholesterol levels and atherosclerotic CVD risks (6). Approximately 71% of adults with diagnosed CVD, 63% of those with diagnosed diabetes, and 54% of those with diagnosed hypercholesterolemia reported taking prescription cholesterol-lowering medications.

NCHS Data Brief. 2014 Dec;(177):1-8

Nutritional status of selenium in Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Studies have shown that various antioxidants are decreased in different age-related degenerative diseases and thus, oxidative stress would have a central role in the pathogenesis of many disorders that involve neuronal degeneration, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present study aimed to assess the nutritional status of Se in AD patients and to compare with control subjects with normal cognitive function. The case-control study was carried out on a group of elderly with AD (n 28) and compared with a control group (n 29), both aged between 60 and 89 years. Se intake was evaluated by using a 3-d dietary food record. Se was evaluated in plasma, erythrocytes and nails by using the method of hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy. Deficient Se intake was largely observed in the AD group. AD patients showed significantly lower Se levels in plasma, erythrocytes and nails (32.59 microg/l, 43.74 microg/l and 0.302 microg/g) when compared with the control group (50.99 microg/l, 79.16 microg/l and 0.400 microg/g). The results allowed us to suggest that AD has an important relation with Se deficiency.

Br J Nutr. 2010 Mar;103(6):803-6

Glutathione peroxidase I Pro198Leu polymorphism in Brazilian Alzheimer’s disease patients: relations to the enzyme activity and to selenium status.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Oxidative stress plays a central role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Pro198Leu cytosolic glutathione peroxidase (GPx1) polymorphism seems to be associated with a lower activity of this enzyme, but there are no studies with AD patients. Thus, the aim was to determine the frequency of the GPx1 Pro198Leu polymorphism in AD patients and to verify its relation to glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity and selenium (Se) status. METHODS: The study was carried out in a group of AD elderly (n = 28) compared to a control group (n = 29). Blood Se concentrations were measured through hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy. GPx activity was determined using a commercial kit, and the polymorphism using amplified DNA sequencing. RESULTS: The distribution of genotypes was not different between groups. The variant allele frequency was 0.179 (AD group) and 0.207 (control group). Although no differences regarding GPx activity were found between individuals with different genotypes, lower blood Se levels were found in Pro/Pro AD patients compared to Pro/Pro control subjects, which was not found in the Pro/Leu groups. Moreover, the association between the erythrocyte Se concentration and GPx activity was affected by the Pro198Leu genotype. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that this polymorphism had apparently affected Se status in AD patients and that more studies in this field are necessary.

J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2012;5(2):72-80

Plasma selenium is positively related to performance in neurological tasks assessing coordination and motor speed.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative process affecting the striato nigral system (SN). Its etiology, although obscure, may involve oxidative damage. Selenium, an antioxidant, was shown to protect the SN in animal models. In the current study, we investigate the association between plasma selenium concentrations and the presence of “soft” neurological signs related to the SN. Plasma selenium concentration was assessed in participants of age ≥65 years in the InCHIANTI study, a population-based cohort study in Tuscany, Italy. PD was defined based on standard criteria. “Soft” neurological signs were ascertained by physical examination. A total of 1,012 participants were included. No association was found between the presence of PD and plasma selenium. There was, however, a strong association between plasma selenium and timed performance-based assessments. Lower levels of selenium were significantly associated withdecreased performance in neurological tests of coordination among older adults. Prospective studies are needed to further investigate the effects of selenium on SN dysfunction.

Mov Disord. 2010 Sep 15;25(12):1909-15


Delay of natural bone loss by higher intakes of specific minerals and vitamins.

For early prevention or inhibition of postmenopausal and age-related bone loss, nutritional interventions might be a first choice. For some vitamins and minerals an important role in bone metabolism is known or suggested. Calcium and vitamin D support bone mineral density and are basic components in most preventive strategies. Magnesium is involved in a number of activities supporting bone strength, preservation, and remodeling. Fluorine and strontium have bone-forming effects. However, high amounts of both elements may reduce bone strength. Boron is especially effective in case of vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium deficiency. Vitamin K is essential for the activation of osteocalcin. Vitamin C is an important stimulus for osteoblast-derived proteins. Increasing the recommended amounts (US RDA 1989), adequate intakes (US DRI 1997), or assumed normal intakes of mentioned food components may lead to a considerable reduction or even prevention of bone loss, especially in late postmenopausal women and the elderly.

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2001 May;41(4):225-49

Boron supplementation inhibits the growth and local expression of IGF-1 in human prostate adenocarcinoma (LNCaP) tumors in nude mice.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a serine protease and one of the most abundant proteins secreted by the human prostate epithelium. PSA is used as a well-established marker of prostate cancer. The involvement of PSA in several early events leading to the development of malignant prostate tumors has made it a target for prevention and intervention. It is thought that PSA cleaves insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), providing increased local levels of IGF-1, leading to tumor growth. Separately, there are data that suggest an enzymatic regulatory role for dietary boron, which is a serine protease inhibitor. In this study we have addressed the use of boric acid as a PSA inhibitor in an animal study. We have previously reported that low concentrations (6 ug/mL) of boric acid can partially inhibit the proteolytic activity of purified PSA towards a synthetic fluorogenic substrate. Also, by Western blot we have followed the degradation of fibronectin by enzymatically active PSA and have found significant inhibition in the presence of boric acid. We proposed that dietary supplementation with boric acid would inhibit PSA and reduce the development and proliferation of prostate carcinomas in an animal model. We tested this hypothesis using nude mice implanted subcutaneously with LNCaP cells in Matrigel. Two groups (10 animals/group) were dosed with boric acid solutions (1.7, 9.0 mgB/kg/day) by gavage. Control group received only water. Tumor sizes were measured weekly for 8 weeks. Serum PSA and IGF-1 levels were determined at terminal sacrifice. The size of tumors was decreased in mice exposed to the low and high dose of boric acid by 38% and 25%, respectively. Serum PSA levels decreased by 88.6% and 86.4%, respectively, as compared to the control group. There were morphological differences between the tumors in control and boron-dosed animals, including a significantly lower incidence of mitotic figures in the boron-supplemented groups. Circulating IGF-1 levels were not different among groups, though expression of IGF-1 in the tumors was markedly reduced by boron treatment, which we have shown by immunohistochemistry. These data indicate that low-level dietary boron supplementation reduced tumor size and content of a tumor trophic factor, IGF-1. This promising model is being evaluated in further studies.

Toxicol Pathol. 2004 Jan-Feb;32(1):73-8

Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women.

A study was done to examine the effects of aluminum, magnesium, and boron on major mineral metabolism in postmenopausal women. This communication describes some of the effects of dietary boron on 12 women between the ages of 48 and 82 housed in a metabolic unit. A boron supplement of 3 mg/day markedly affected several indices of mineral metabolism of seven women consuming a low-magnesium diet and five women consuming a diet adequate in magnesium; the women had consumed a conventional diet supplying about 0.25 mg boron/day for 119 days. Boron supplementation markedly reduced the urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium; the depression seemed more marked when dietary magnesium was low. Boron supplementation depressed the urinary excretion of phosphorus by the low-magnesium, but not by the adequate-magnesium, women. Boron supplementation markedly elevated the serum concentrations of 17 beta-estradiol and testosterone; the elevation seemed more marked when dietary magnesium was low. Neither high dietary aluminum (1,000 mg/day) nor an interaction between boron and aluminum affected the variables presented. The findings suggest that supplementation of a low-boron diet with an amount of boron commonly found in diets high in fruits and vegetables induces changes in postmenopausal women consistent with the prevention of calcium loss and bone demineralization.

FASEB J. 1987 Nov;1(5):394-7

Effect of boron on vitamin D deficient rats.

The effects of different levels of dietary boron were determined in vitamin D deficient rats. Vitamin D deficient diets containing either 0.158 ppm or 2.72 ppm of boron were fed to rats for 11 w, and calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus apparent absorption and balance were measured in the twelfth week. Higher apparent absorption and balance values for calcium and phosphorus were observed in the rats with higher dietary boron, but very few differences were seen in body wt, organ wt, and bone parameters. Balance measurements represented the present status of the rats after 12 w on the diets, but other measurements represented an accumulation over the lifetime of the rat, including a suckling period with ample vitamin D and boron. The data demonstrated that when rats are vitamin D deficient, as indicated by hypocalcemia, the level of boron in the diet affects mineral balance.

Biol Trace Elem Res. 1991 Mar;28(3):243-55

Elemental analysis of femoral bone from patients with fractured neck of femur or osteoarthrosis.

The elemental composition of bone has been determined by inductively coupled atomic emission and mass spectrometry to test the hypothesis that changes in major or minor elemental concentrations may contribute to the risk of fracture. Femoral bone was obtained from patients at operation for the treatment of fracture and compared with that of patients with osteoarthrosis and a necropsy control group. The data suggest that there are no major differences in bone elemental composition in patients with fractures compared with the control group. Bone adjacent to joints with osteoarthrosis tends to be less mineralized (per unit trabecular bone volume) than control bone and bone from fracture patients, and has significantly lower concentrations of boron, lead and, zinc. These observations may reflect the more rapid turnover of bone close to the arthritic joint.

Bone. 1996 Feb;18(2):151-7


Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase inhibits oxidized LDL-triggered endoplasmic reticulum stress in vivo.

OBJECTIVE: The oxidation of LDLs is considered a key step in the development of atherosclerosis. How LDL oxidation contributes to atherosclerosis remains poorly defined. Here we report that oxidized and glycated LDL (HOG-LDL) causes aberrant endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and that the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) suppressed HOG-LDL-triggered ER stress in vivo. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: ER stress markers, sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) ATPase (SERCA) activity and oxidation, and AMPK activity were monitored in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) exposed to HOG-LDL or in isolated aortae from mice fed an atherogenic diet. RESULTS: Exposure of BAECs to clinically relevant concentrations of HOG-LDL induced prolonged ER stress and reduced SERCA activity but increased SERCA oxidation. Chronic administration of Tempol (a potent antioxidant) attenuated both SERCA oxidation and aberrant ER stress in mice fed a high-fat diet in vivo. Likewise, AMPK activation by pharmacological (5’-aminoimidazole-4-carboxymide-1-beta-d-ribofuranoside, metformin, and statin) or genetic means (adenoviral overexpression of constitutively active AMPK mutants) significantly mitigated ER stress and SERCA oxidation and improved the endothelium-dependent relaxation in isolated mouse aortae. Finally, Tempol administration markedly attenuated impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation, SERCA oxidation, ER stress, and atherosclerosis in ApoE(-/-) and ApoE(-/-)/AMPKalpha2(-/-) fed a high-fat diet. CONCLUSION: We conclude that HOG-LDL, via enhanced SERCA oxidation, causes aberrant ER stress, endothelial dysfunction, and atherosclerosis in vivo, all of which are inhibited by AMPK activation.

Diabetes . 2010 Jun;59(6):1386-96

The role of AMP-activated protein kinase in the cardiovascular system.

It has recently been recognized that adiponectin protects the vasculature and prevents atherosclerotic change through AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation, and some of its molecular mechanisms have been clarified. AMPK, which might be a therapeutic target of metabolic abnormality, is a serine-threonine kinase, heterotrimer protein composed of three subunits of alpha, beta and gamma. It is activated by an upper kinase LKB1 and an increase in the AMP/ATP ratio. Some anabolic enzymes are directly phosphorylated and inhibited, suggesting that AMPK suppresses ATP consumption by negatively regulating the synthetic pathway. The LKB1-AMPK pathway is pivotal for controlling cellular polarity and mitosis. Furthermore, AMPK has been associated with cellular autophagy. AMPK activation could induce autophagy and prolong a period leading to cell apoptosis. Apoptosis under anoxic conditions was decreased when newly constructed, constitutively active mutants of AMPK-alpha were overexpressed in vascular endothelial cells. AMPK could inhibit the growth of vascular smooth muscle through MEK-ERK pathway inhibition. After ischemia reperfusion, dominant-negative AMPK overexpression inhibits cardiac function through the suppression of glucose uptake and fatty acid beta-oxidation in cardiac myocytes. Cardiac hypertrophy with accumulation of glycogen granules because of gene mutation of gamma2 associated with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome has been considered an activated type in most cases. It is necessary to clarify the tissue-specific and stress-specific activation mechanism of AMPK.

Hypertens Res . 2010 Jan;33(1):22-8

AMPK promotes macrophage fatty acid oxidative metabolism to mitigate inflammation: implications for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Metabolic inflammation, a low-grade chronic pro-inflammatory environment in metabolic or vascular tissues during nutrient excess, has emerged as an important factor underpinning the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Macrophages are a primary source of inflammatory effectors that contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, the precursors of T2D and CVD, respectively. Oxidative metabolism dictates the inflammatory status of macrophages, effects that may be upstream of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the NLRP3 inflammasome. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) lies at the crossroads of metabolically driven macrophage inflammation and exerts control over mitochondrial metabolism, and therefore is vital for dictating the inflammatory status of macrophages. Understanding how AMPK regulates oxidative metabolism and substrate selection to control both ER stress and NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammation holds promise for identifying new therapies and the tailoring of current therapies for the treatment of T2D and CVD.

Immunol Cell Biol. 2014 Apr;92(4):340-5

Hematopoietic AMPK b1 reduces mouse adipose tissue macrophage inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity.

Individuals who are obese are frequently insulin resistant, putting them at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its associated adverse health conditions. The accumulation in adipose tissue of macrophages in an inflammatory state is a hallmark of obesity-induced insulin resistance. Here, we reveal a role for AMPK b1 in protecting macrophages from inflammation under high lipid exposure. Genetic deletion of the AMPK b1 subunit in mice (referred to herein as b1(-/-) mice) reduced macrophage AMPK activity, acetyl-CoA carboxylase phosphorylation, and mitochondrial content, resulting in reduced rates of fatty acid oxidation. b1(-/-) macrophages displayed increased levels of diacylglycerol and markers of inflammation, effects that were reproduced in WT macrophages by inhibiting fatty acid oxidation and, conversely, prevented by pharmacological activation of AMPK b1-containing complexes. The effect of AMPK b1 loss in macrophages was tested in vivo by transplantation of bone marrow from WT or b1(-/-) mice into WT recipients. When challenged with a high-fat diet, mice that received b1(-/-) bone marrow displayed enhanced adipose tissue macrophage inflammation and liver insulin resistance compared with animals that received WT bone marrow. Thus, activation of AMPK b1 and increasing fatty acid oxidation in macrophages may represent a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of insulin resistance.

J Clin Invest . 2011 Dec;121(12):4903-15

Role of angiotensin II-mediated AMPK inactivation on obesity-related salt-sensitive hypertension.

Salt-sensitive hypertension is a characteristic of the metabolic syndrome. Given the links to cardiovascular events, the mechanisms underlying sodium metabolism may represent an important therapeutic target for this disorder. Angiotensin II (AII) is a key peptide underlying sodium retention. However, 5’AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has also been reported to participate in the regulation of ion transport. In this study we examined the relationship between AII and AMPK on the development of hypertension in two salt-sensitive mouse models. In the first model, the mice were maintained on a high-fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks, in order to develop features similar to the metabolic syndrome, including salt-sensitive hypertension. HFD-induced obese mice showed elevated systolic blood pressure and lower sodium excretion in response to salt loading, along with an increase in AII contents and inactivation of AMPK in the kidney, which were significantly improved by the treatment of an angiotensin II antagonist, losartan, for 2 weeks. To clarify the effects of AII, a second group of mice was infused with AII via an osmotic pump, which led to higher systolic blood pressure, and decreases in urinary sodium excretion and the expression of AMPK, in a manner similar to those observed in the HFD mice. However, treatment with an AMPK activator, metformin, improved the changes induced by the AII, suggesting that AII induced sodium retention works by acting on AMPK activity. Finally, we evaluated the changes in salt-sensitivity by performing 2-week salt loading experiments with or without metformin. AII infusion elevated blood pressure by salt loading but metformin prevented it. These findings indicate that AII suppresses AMPK activity in the kidney, leading to sodium retention and enhanced salt-sensitivity, and that AMPK activation may represent a new therapeutic target for obesity-related salt-sensitive hypertension.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Feb 17;418(3):559-64

Dietary folic acid activates AMPK and improves insulin resistance and hepatic inflammation in dietary rodent models of the metabolic syndrome.

The AMP activated kinase plays an important role in metabolic control, and pharmacologic enhancement of AMPK activity is used to improve insulin resistance. We hypothesized that high dose of folic acid supplementation might improve insulin sensitivity and hepatic inflammation and examined this by a dietary intervention in (a) the high fat fed rat model of the metabolic syndrome, which shows sole hepatic steatosis as well as (b) in rats fed with a high cholesterol, high cholate diet inducing nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Male Wistar rats were fed with folic acid supplemented (40 mg/kg) high fat diet [based on lard, fat content 25% (wt/wt)] or NASH inducing diet (containing 15% fat, 1.25% cholesterol, 0.5% sodium cholate). Metabolic profiling was performed by measuring the animals’ visceral fat pads, fasting plasma glucose, insulin, and adipokines as well as in vivo insulin tolerance tests. Hepatic steatosis and inflammation were analyzed semiquantitatively by histological analysis. Folic acid supplementation reduced visceral obesity and improved plasma adiponectin levels. In vivo insulin sensitivity was improved, and in HF-FA rats folic acid increased activation of hepatic AMPK. Further, folic acid supplementation improved hepatic inflammation in animals fed with NASH-inducing diet. Dietary folic acid improved parameters of insulin resistance and hepatic inflammation in rodent models. This might be due to an increased AMK activation.

Horm Metab Res. 2010 Oct;42(11):769-74

Chlorogenic acid stimulates glucose transport in skeletal muscle via AMPK activation: a contributor to the beneficial effects of coffee on diabetes.

Chlorogenic acid (CGA) has been shown to delay intestinal glucose absorption and inhibit gluconeogenesis. Our aim was to investigate the role of CGA in the regulation of glucose transport in skeletal muscle isolated from db/db mice and L6 skeletal muscle cells. Oral glucose tolerance test was performed on db/db mice treated with CGA and soleus muscle was isolated for 2-deoxyglucose transport study. 2DG transport was also examined in L6 myotubes with or without inhibitors such as wortmannin or compound c. AMPK was knocked down with AMPKa1/2 siRNA to study its effect on CGA-stimulated glucose transport. GLUT 4 translocation, phosphorylation of AMPK and Akt, AMPK activity, and association of IRS-1 and PI3K were investigated in the presence of CGA. In db/db mice, a significant decrease in fasting blood sugar was observed 10 minutes after the intraperitoneal administration of 250 mg/kg CGA and the effect persisted for another 30 minutes after the glucose challenge. Besides, CGA stimulated and enhanced both basal and insulin-mediated 2DG transports in soleus muscle. In L6 myotubes, CGA caused a dose- and time-dependent increase in glucose transport. Compound c and AMPKa1/2 siRNA abrogated the CGA-stimulated glucose transport. Consistent with these results, CGA was found to phosphorylate AMPK and ACC, consistent with the result of increased AMPK activities. CGA did not appear to enhance association of IRS-1 with p85. However, we observed activation of Akt by CGA. These parallel activations in turn increased translocation of GLUT 4 to plasma membrane. At 2 mmol/l, CGA did not cause any significant changes in viability or proliferation of L6 myotubes. Our data demonstrated for the first time that CGA stimulates glucose transport in skeletal muscle via the activation of AMPK. It appears that CGA may contribute to the beneficial effects of coffee on type 2 diabetes mellitus.

PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32718

Effect of acute exercise on AMPK signaling in skeletal muscle of subjects with type 2 diabetes: a time-course and dose-response study.

Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by exercise induces several cellular processes in muscle. Exercise activation of AMPK is unaffected in lean (BMI approximately 25 kg/m(2)) subjects with type 2 diabetes. However, most type 2 diabetic subjects are obese (BMI >30 kg/m(2)), and exercise stimulation of AMPK is blunted in obese rodents. We examined whether obese type 2 diabetic subjects have impaired exercise stimulation of AMPK, at different signaling levels, spanning from the upstream kinase, LKB1, to the putative AMPK targets, AS160 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator (PGC)-1alpha, involved in glucose transport regulation and mitochondrial biogenesis, respectively. Twelve type 2 diabetic, eight obese, and eight lean subjects exercised on a cycle ergometer for 40 min. Muscle biopsies were done before, during, and after exercise. Subjects underwent this protocol on two occasions, at low (50% Vo(2max)) and moderate (70% Vo(2max)) intensities, with a 4-6 week interval. Exercise had no effect on LKB1 activity. Exercise had a time- and intensity-dependent effect to increase AMPK activity and AS160 phosphorylation. Obese and type 2 diabetic subjects had attenuated exercise-stimulated AMPK activity and AS160 phosphorylation. Type 2 diabetic subjects had reduced basal PGC-1 gene expression but normal exercise-induced increases in PGC-1 expression. Our findings suggest that obese type 2 diabetic subjects may need to exercise at higher intensity to stimulate the AMPK-AS160 axis to the same level as lean subjects.

Diabetes. 2007 Mar;56(3):836-48