Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Mar 2015

Saffron, Prostate, Exercise, and Cognitive Impairment

Saffron, Prostate, Exercise, and Cognitive Impairment

By Life Extension.

Crocetin from saffron: an active component of an ancient spice.

The known properties of saffron (Crocus sativus, L.) and its components have been examined. Recently, hormone like effects in green algae and the anti-cancerogenic and anti-toxic effects, have been observed. In particular, the effects of crocetin, a carotenoids (8,8’-diapo-8,8’-carotenoic acid) present in saffron and characterized by a diterpenic and symmetrical structure with seven double bonds and four methyl groups, have been taken into consideration. It has been found that this compound enhances the oxygen diffusivity through liquids, such as plasma. As a consequence of this property, it has been observed that crocetin increases alveolar oxygen transport and enhances pulmonary oxygenation. It improves cerebral oxygenation in hemorrhaged rats and positively acts in the atherosclerosis and arthritis treatment. It inhibits skin tumor promotion in mice (i.e., with benzo(a)pyrene); it has an inhibitory effect on intracellular nucleic acid and protein synthesis in malignant cells, as well as on protein-kinase-C and prorooncogene in INNIH/3T3 cells. This is most likely due to its anti-oxidant activity. Furthermore, crocetin protects against oxidative damage in rat primary hepatocytes. It also suppresses aflatoxin B1-induced hepatotoxic lesions and has a modulatory effect on aflatoxin, B1 cytotoxicity, and DNA adduct formation on C3H10/T1/2 fibroblast cells. It also has a protective effect on the bladder toxicity, induced by cyclophosphamide. The experiments reported in the scientific literature and the interesting results obtained have been carried out in vitro or on laboratory animals, but not yet on man.

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(3):155-72

Protective effect of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) aqueous extract against genetic damage induced by anti-tumor agents in mice.

The genotoxic potential of anti-tumor drugs limits their efficacy in the treatment of cancers. Since ancient times, saffron (dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L.) has been used as a spice and medicinal herb. Saffron is a rich source of carotenoids and is known for its anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. The present study was designed to ascertain the chemoprotective potential of saffron against the genotoxicity of three well-known anti-tumor drugs-cisplatin (CIS), cyclophosphamide (CPH) and mitomycin-C (MMC)­—using comet assay. Three doses of saffron (20, 40 and 80 mg/kg b.w.) were orally administered to mice for five consecutive days prior to the administration of anti-tumor drugs under investigation. Pre-treatment with saffron significantly inhibited anti-tumor drugs induced cellular DNA damage (strand breaks) as revealed by decreased comet tail length, tail moment and percent DNA in the tail. These findings, together with our previous results, suggest a potential role for saffron as an anti-genotoxic, anti-oxidant and chemopreventive agent and could be used as an adjuvant in chemotherapeutic applications.

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2006 Feb;25(2):79-81

Cardiovascular effects of saffron: an evidence-based review.

Herbal medicine can be a valuable source of assistance for traditional medicine. There are a number of herbs that can be used in conjunction with modern medicine. Herbs can also be taken to aid recovery from serious diseases. Although one should never aim to treat diseases such as cardiovascular disease solely with herbal medicine, the value of herbs used in tandem with modern medicine cannot be ignored. Saffron has been reported to help lower cholesterol and keep cholesterol levels healthy. Animal studies have shown saffron to lower cholesterol by as much as 50%. Saffron has antioxidant properties; it is, therefore, helpful in maintaining healthy arteries and blood vessels. Saffron is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial to cardiovascular health. The people of Mediterranean countries, where saffron use is common, have lower than normal incidence of heart diseases. From saffron’s cholesterol lowering benefits to its anti inflammatory properties, saffron may be one of the best supplements for cardiac health. This paper reviews the studies regarding the beneficial effects of saffron in cardiovascular health.

J Tehran Heart Cent. 2011 Spring;6(2):59-61

Clinical applications of saffron (Crocus sativus) and its constituents: a review.

Commonly known as saffron, Crocus sativus L and its active components have shown several useful pharmacological effects such as anticonvulsant, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, radical scavenger effects, learning and memory improving effects, etc. There has been an increasing body of data on saffron use in medical databases within the last 20 years. In the current review, the strengths and weaknesses of some of the clinical trials about different pharmacological effects of saffron will be discussed C. sativus extract has been studied in 8 anti-depressant clinical trials in comparison to placebo or some antidepressant drugs, in which saffron showed effectiveness as an antidepressant drug. Clinical trials on anti-Alzheimer effect of saffron demonstrated that it was more effective than the placebo, and as effective as donepezil. 2 clinical trials on antipruritic and complexion promoter in skin care effects of saffron both confirmed that saffron was more efficient than the placebo. In another clinical trial, it was proved that in addition to the weight loss treatment, saffron could reduce snacking frequency. Clinical trials conducted on women with premenstrual syndrome showed that saffron could reduce suffering symptoms more than the placebo and similar to standard treatments.Furthermore, additional clinical trials on effects of saffron on erection dysfunction, allergies, cardiovascular and immune system as well as its safety, toxicity and human pharmacokinetics are reviewed herein.

Drug Res (Stuttg). 2014 May 21

Study of cytotoxic and apoptogenic properties of saffron extract in human cancer cell lines.

Saffron (dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L.) has been used as a spice, food colorant and medicinal plant for millennia. In this study cytotoxic effect of saffron extract was evaluated in HepG2 and HeLa cell lines. Meanwhile role of apoptosis and ROS were explored. Malignant and non-malignant cells (L929) were cultured in DMEM medium and incubated with different concentrations of ethanolic saffron extract. Cell viability was quantitated by MTT assay. Apoptotic cells were determined using PI staining of DNA fragmentation by flow cytometry (sub-G1 peak). ROS was measured using DCF-DA by flow cytometry analysis. Saffron could decrease cell viability in malignant cells as a concentration and time-dependent manner. The IC50 values against HeLa and HepG2 were determined 800 and 950 microg/ml after 48 h, respectively. Saffron induced a sub-G1 peak in flow cytometry histogram of treated cells compared to control indicating apoptotic cell death is involved in saffron toxicity. This toxicity was also independent of ROS production. It might be concluded that saffron could cause cell death in HeLa and HepG2 cells, in which apoptosis or programmed cell death plays an important role. Saffron could be also considered as a promising chemotherapeutic agent in cancer treatment in future.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Nov;46(11):3443-7

Anticarcinogenic effect of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and its ingredients.

Conventional and newly emerging treatment procedures such as chemotherapy, catalytic therapy, photodynamic therapy and radiotherapy have not succeeded in reversing the outcome of cancer diseases to any drastic extent, which has led researchers to investigate alternative treatment options. The extensive repertoire of traditional medicinal knowledge systems from various parts of the world are being re-investigated for their healing properties Crocus sativus L., commonly known as saffron, is the raw material for one of the most expensive spice in the world, and it has been used in folk medicine for centuries. Chemical analysis has shown the presence of more than 150 components in saffron stigmas. The more powerful components of saffron are crocin, crocetin and safranal. Studies in animal models and with cultured human malignant cell lines have demonstrated antitumor and cancer preventive activities of saffron and its main ingredients, possible mechanisms for these activities are discussed. More direct evidence of anticancer effectiveness of saffron as chemo-preventive agent may come from trials that use actual reduction of cancer incidence as the primary endpoint. This review discusses recent literature data and our results on the cancer chemopreventive activities of saffron and its main ingredients.

Pharmacognosy Res. 2014 Apr;6(2):99-107

Role of saffron and its constituents on cancer chemoprevention.

CONTEXT: Cancer dramatically impacts human life expectancy and quality of life. Natural substances from vegetables, herbs and spices could be beneficial in the prevention or treatment of a variety of cancers. Crocus sativus (Iridaceae), which has been used as a folk medicine for treating diseases for ages, showed obvious cancer chemoprevention potential. OBJECTIVE: This article focuses on the effects of Crocus sativus and its main ingredients, such as crocin, on cancer therapeutics. METHODS: We reviewed research data from saffron, a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, and its constituents using the major databases, namely, Web of Science, SciFinder and PubMed. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Saffron possesses free radical-scavenging properties and antitumor activities. Significant cancer chemopreventive effects have been shown in both in vitro and in vivo models. Based on current data, saffron and its ingredients could be considered as a promising candidate for clinical anticancer trials.

Pharm Biol. 2013 Jul;51(7):920-4

Saffron reduction of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis.

Our aim was to investigate the chemopreventive potential of saffron in DMBA-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis. Assessment was by monitoring the percentage of tumor bearing hamsters, tumor size as well as the status of detoxification agents, lipid peroxidation and antioxidants. Oral squamous cell carcinomas were induced in the buccal pouch of Syrian golden hamsters by painting them with 0.5% DMBA in liquid paraffin three times a week for 14 weeks. We observed 100% oral tumor formation with severe histopathological abnormalities in all the hamsters treated with DMBA alone, activities of phase I and phase II detoxification enzymes, lipid peroxidation and antioxidants being significantly altered. Though oral administration of saffron completely prevented the formation of tumors, we noticed severe hyperplasia and dysplasia in hamsters treated with DMBA, suggesting that tumors might eventually develop. Oral administration of saffron return detoxification enzymes, lipid peroxidation and antioxidants to normal ranges. The chemopreventive potential of saffron thus is likely due to antioxidant properties and modulating effects on detoxification in favour of the excretion of carcinogenic metabolites during DMBA-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(2):951-7

Saffron and natural carotenoids: Biochemical activities and anti-tumor effects.

Saffron, a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, is rich in carotenoids. Two main natural carotenoids of saffron, crocin and crocetin, are responsible for its color. Preclinical studies have shown that dietary intake of some carotenoids have potent anti-tumor effects both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting their potential preventive and/or therapeutic roles in several tissues. The reports represent that the use of carotenoids without the potential for conversion to vitamin A may provide further protection and avoid toxicity. The mechanisms underlying cancer chemo-preventive activities of carotenoids include modulation of carcinogen metabolism, regulation of cell growth and cell cycle progression, inhibition of cell proliferation, anti-oxidant activity, immune modulation, enhancement of cell differentiation, stimulation of cell-to-cell gap junction communication, apoptosis and retinoid-dependent signaling. Taken together, different hypotheses for the antitumor actions of saffron and its components have been proposed such as a) the inhibitory effect on cellular DNA and RNA synthesis, but not on protein synthesis; b) the inhibitory effect on free radical chain reactions; c) the metabolic conversion of naturally occurring carotenoids to retinoids; d) the interaction of carotenoids with topoisomerase II, an enzyme involved in cellular DNA-protein interaction. Furthermore, the immunomodulatory activity of saffron was studied on driving toward Th1 and Th2 limbs of the immune system. In this mini-review, we briefly describe biochemical and immunological activities and chemo-preventive properties of saffron and natural carotenoids as an anticancer drug.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Jan;1845(1):20-30

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) increases glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity in muscle cells via multipathway mechanisms.

Saffron (Crocus sativus Linn.) has been an important subject of research in the past two decades because of its various biological properties, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-atherosclerotic activities. On the other hand, the molecular bases of its actions have been scarcely understood. Here, we elucidated the mechanism of the hypoglycemic actions of saffron through investigating its signaling pathways associated with glucose metabolism in C(2)C(12) skeletal muscle cells. Saffron strongly enhanced glucose uptake and the phosphorylation of AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase)/ACC (acetyl-CoA carboxylase) and MAPKs (mitogen-activated protein kinases), but not PI 3-kinase (Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase)/Akt. Interestingly, the co-treatment of saffron and insulin further improved the insulin sensitivity via both insulin-independent (AMPK/ACC and MAPKs) and insulin-dependent (PI 3-kinase/Akt and mTOR) pathways. It also suggested that there is a crosstalk between the two signaling pathways of glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle cells. These results could be confirmed from the findings of GLUT4 translocation. Taken together, AMPK plays a major role in the effects of saffron on glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle cells. Our study provides important insights for the possible mechanism of action of saffron and its potential as a therapeutic agent in diabetic patients.

Food Chem. 2012 Dec 15;135(4):2350-8

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) powder as an ingredient of rye bread: an anti-diabetic evaluation.

In this study, a most consumer-acceptable rye bread (RB) containing saffron (S) powder (RB+S) was designed to verify its anti-diabetic properties, and to compare these effects with those of RB and S separately, matched to a similar dose of bioactive components, used in the high-fat (HF) diet in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced Wistar rats. After baking, beneficial antioxidant and sensory properties for RB enriched with 0.12% S were achieved. Twenty-four severely diabetic rats (fasting blood glucose (FBG) ≥350 mg/dL) were randomized to incorporate either 0.08% of pure S, or RB enriched with 0.12% S (the diet provided 0.08% of S), or RB alone into their diet for 5 weeks. As controls, nontreated, HF-feeding STZ-induced rats (positive control-HF/STZ) and rats receiving normal laboratory diet (negative control-C) were used. A significant FBG-lowering effect was observed (47%, 53%, and 54% reduction vs. HF/STZ; P<.05) after S, RB, and RB+S treatment. Improvements in the rats’ glycemia were achieved by b-cell regeneration and increases in insulin secretion. Only in the S and RB+S group of rats, a significant (P<.05) increase in relative pancreas (vs. HF/STZ) was noted. A significant (P<.05) reduction in the concentration of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) was achieved, whereas the ferric-reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) was not changed after S, RB and RB+S treatment (vs. HF/STZ). Triglyceride (TG) concentrations after S, RB, and RB+S treatment were significantly decreased (P<.05) versus HF/STZ. Both S and RB can be used in diabetic therapy, but no additional metabolic effect was achieved after consumption of RB+S.

J Med Food. 2013 Sep;16(9):847-56

Identification, pharmacologic considerations, and management of prostatitis.

BACKGROUND: Prostatitis is a collection of signs and symptoms that occur as a result of inflammation or swelling of the prostate gland. There are many different causes for prostatitis, including infection; occasionally no clear etiology for the inflammation is found. Effective treatment often depends on identification of the cause, but a microbiologic organism is not always detectable, especially in cases of chronic prostatitis. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this article was to review identification and treatment options for prostatitis, including pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions. METHODS: Relevant information was identified through a search of MEDLINE (1966-June 2010), International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970-June 2010), and EMBASE (1947-June 2010). Randomized, controlled trials that examined prostate cancer, benign prostatic hypertrophy, or procedures related to the prostate (ie, biopsies) were excluded. RESULTS: A working classification system for prostatitis was developed in 1999, but there are few randomized controlled trials that distinguish between the various treatment options. Bacterial prostatitis can be acute or chronic but always requires some degree of antimicrobial therapy. Pharmacologic features of fluoroquinolones make them the preferred agents for most patients. These antibiotics can become trapped in a chronically inflamed prostate due to pH differences between prostatic tissue and serum. Many fluoroquinolones have penetration ratios (prostate level:serum level) of up to 4:1. A study in European men (N = 117) who received levofloxacin 500 mg/d with a diagnosis of chronic bacterial prostatitis demonstrated clinical success rates of 92% (95% CI 84.8%-96.5%), 77.4% (95% CI, 68.2-84.9%), 66.0% (95% CI, 56.2%-75.0%), and 61.9% (95% CI, 51.9%-71.2%) at 5-12 days, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months after treatment. Additionally, there have been numerous randomized, placebo-controlled trials in patients with chronic prostatitis that have studied a-blockers, steroid inhibitors, anti-inflammatory agents, and bioflavonoids. Treatment responses to a-blockers appear to be greater with longer durations of therapy in a-blocker-naïve patients (National Institutes of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index [NIH-CPSI] score reduction of at least 3.6 points after 6 weeks of tamsulosin therapy [P = 0.04] and up to 14.3 and 9.9 point NIH-CPSI score reductions with 14 weeks of terazosin and 24 weeks of alfuzosin therapy, respectively [P = 0.01 for both]). Combination therapy with an a-blocker, an anti-inflammatory, and a muscle relaxant does not appear to offer significant advantages over monotherapy (12.7 vs 12.4 point reduction in NIH-CPSI scores) and a stepwise approach to therapy involving antibiotics followed by bioflavonoids and then a-blockers appears to effectively reduce symptoms for up to 1 year in patients with chronic prostatitis (mean NIH-CPSI point reduction of 9.5 points compared with baseline, P < 0.0001). Patients who have had multiple unsuccessful treatment regimens may benefit from direct stimulation of the pelvic muscles through electromagnetic or electroacupuncture therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Prostatitis can resemble various other medical conditions but proper classification and an understanding of the pharmacologic features and expectations of the medications used to treat it can help identify effective treatment strategies. Fluoroquinolones are the preferred agents for treating bacterial causes of prostatitis and have demonstrated efficacy in some cases of chronic prostatitis when an organism has not been identified. However, the use of agents with anti-inflammatory or antiadrenergic properties may be necessary in combination with or after trying antimicrobial agents.

Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2011 Feb;9(1):37-48

Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain in men: aetiology, diagnosis and management.

Patients with chronic prostatitis/pelvic pain syndrome typically report genital or pelvic pain (in or around the penis, perineum, scrotum) lasting > 3 months. Whereas true chronic bacterial prostatitis is an uncommon condition characterised by recurrent prostatic and urinary infection, chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) is a common condition in which no infection is found. Recent surveys suggest a prevalence of 2.5-3% for CPPS. The four-glass test, traditionally used to distinguish inflammatory and inflammatory forms of CPPS, has not been adequately validated; whether the distinction is clinically meaningful is increasingly questioned. The aetiology of CPPS is not known; urodynamic studies imply a neuromuscular origin. More recent work supports a role for proinflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis. In the management of chronic bacterial prostatitis, trials support the use of quinolone antibiotics as first-line treatment. In contrast, the management of CPPS is generally unsatisfactory, as no reliable treatment has been identified. Treatments commonly tried include antibiotics (notably tetracyclines, quinolones and macrolides), anti-inflammatory agents, and alpha blockers. Newer approaches include trials of finasteride, quercetin and rofecoxib. A recent systematic review demonstrated that none of the current diagnostic and treatment methods for CPPS is supported by a robust evidence base.

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2002 May;16(3):253-6

Pathogenic mechanisms linking benign prostatic hyperplasia, lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile dysfunction.

INTRODUCTION: Erectile dysfunction (ED) and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) are clinical entities very prevalent in men aged over 50 years. There is evidence that both may have a common pathophysiology. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to conduct a literature review aiming to show theories and hypotheses that justify a single pathophysiology for ED and LUTS/BPH. METHODS: A search in Medline using the keywords of the Medical Subject Headings (MESH) ‘erectile dysfunction’ and ‘lower urinary tract symptoms’ in all fields of the database up to 15 December 2012. This search found 198 relevant articles that were analyzed. RESULTS: The data and articles were divided according to the type of evidence found. There are strong epidemiological data showing that LUTS/BPH is a risk factor for developing ED. Several experimental models demonstrated partial obstruction of the bladder in animals causes voiding disorders as well as a negative impact on erectile function of the operated animals. The increased adrenergic tonus in animals leads to prostate growth and urodynamic conditions similar to those found in men with LUTS and ED. Arteriosclerosis may lead to loss of vesical complacency, urinary tract obstruction and fibrosis of the cavernous bodies. The use of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5i) and/or alpha-adrenergic blockers to treat ED and LUTS/BPH reinforces the hypothesis that, at least in some patients, both clinical pictures may have the same pathophysiology.

Ther Adv Urol. 2013 Aug;5(4):211-8

A comparative randomized prospective study to evaluate efficacy and safety of combination of tamsulosin and tadalafil vs. tamsulosin or tadalafil alone in patients with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia.

INTRODUCTION: Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and erectile dysfunction are common disorders of advancing age. AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of tamsulosin and tadalafil in patients with LUTS due to BPH. METHODS: In this prospective randomized study, 133 men complaining of LUTS due to BPH were included. Forty-five patients received tamsulosin 0.4 mg/day alone (Group A), 44 patients received tadalafil 10 mg/day (Group B), and combination therapy (tamsulosin and tadalafil both) was instituted in 44 patients (Group C). After a 2-week medication free run-in period, they were evaluated for International Prostatic Symptom Score (IPSS), International Index of Erectile Function score (IIEF5), quality of life (IPSS QoL), maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax), post-void residual urine (PVR) volume, and safety parameters before and at 3 months of treatment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: There were primary (IPSS, IPSS QoL index, Qmax, and PVR) and secondary (erectile function [EF] domain scores from IIEF5) efficacy end points. Safety assessment included laboratory tests and patient’s reporting of adverse event. RESULTS: A significant improvement in IPSS score was observed in all the 3 groups A, B, and C (-50.90%, P < 0.05; -33.50%, P < 0.05; and -53.90%, P < 0.05, respectively). IIEF5 score increased significantly in these three groups (+39.28%, P < 0.05; +45.96%, P < 0.05; and +60.23%, P < 0.05, respectively). A significant increase in Qmax and decrease in PVR were also observed (33.99%, P < 0.05; 29.78%, P < 0.05; and 37.04%, P < 0.05) and (-60.90%, P < 0.05; -49.45%, P < 0.05; and -62.97%, P < 0.05, respectively). The QoL scores improved significantly (-73.35%, P < 0.05; -70.26%, P < 0.05; and -79.65%, P < 0.05, respectively). Side effects were dyspepsia, heartburn, headache, flushing, myalgia, and backache. Adverse effect dropout was 3.7%. No participant experienced any severe or serious adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with LUTS due to BPH, tamsulosin and tadalafil alone or in combination cause a significant improvement in patients with LUTS. Their EF also improves with these medications. The improvement is better with combination therapy compared with single agent alone.

J Sex Med. 2014 Jan;11(1):187-96

Erectile dysfunction with or without coexisting benign prostatic hyperplasia in the general US population: analysis of US National Health and Wellness Survey.

OBJECTIVE: Erectile dysfunction (ED) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) commonly affect older men. There is limited epidemiology information on coexisting ED and BPH. This study assessed self-reported prevalence of ED with or without a diagnosis of BPH (ED/DxBPH versus ED only) in US men. METHODS: Men ≥40 years old, who reported experiencing ED in the past 6 months with or without a diagnosis of BPH, were identified from the nationally representative 2011 US National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS) - a cross-sectional, self-administered online survey. Unpaired t-tests were used to compare characteristics between ED-only and ED/DxBPH populations. RESULTS: The prevalence of ED only and ED/DxBPH was 24.6% and 4.9% (mean ages of 60 and 68 years, respectively). About two-thirds of those with ED only and ED/DxBPH reported speaking to their physician about ED. About 23% of either group reported currently using ED medication and 11.7% of men with ED only were prescribed ED medication by a urologist, compared to 31.1% with ED/DxBPH. Approximately 51.7% of men with ED/DxBPH were taking BPH medication. Overall, 37.3% of men with ED only and 74.6% with ED/DxBPH reported moderate-to-severe urinary symptoms on the American Urological Association-Symptom Index (AUA-SI ≥8). CONCLUSION: While self-reported ED is common, few men with ED in the US population report being diagnosed with BPH. The majority of ED only and ED/DxBPH men reported speaking to a physician about ED; however, few reported currently taking ED medication. A majority of men with ED/DxBPH reported an AUA-SI score ≥8, but only half reported taking BPH medications. Thus, although men are experiencing erectile or urinary symptoms, many remain untreated. A limitation of this study is that symptoms and diagnosis were self-reported and may not reflect how these conditions are diagnosed in a healthcare setting; however, patient self-report provides a unique perspective on the burden associated with these conditions.

Curr Med Res Opin. 2013 Dec;29(12):1709-17

Impact of post-ejaculatory pain in men with category III chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

PURPOSE: Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) is a common debilitating condition in which ejaculation relieves symptoms for some but exacerbates them in others. We studied ejaculatory pain in a cohort with CPPS to investigate associations with symptoms, quality of life and risk factors. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The 486 men in the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Cohort study were stratified into 4 subgroups according to the presence of ejaculatory pain at baseline visit and at each of 3 monthly followup contacts. Subgroups were based on answers and labeled NO (always “no”), Nvar (“no” at baseline but “yes” or missing at least once), Yvar (“yes” at baseline but “no” or missing at least once) and YES (always “yes”). Demographic and quality of life data were obtained at baseline, together with medical and sexual history, symptoms, and cultures and microscopy of urine and seminal fluids. Associations among selected baseline risk factors, symptoms and post-ejaculatory pain were analyzed. RESULTS: Overall 128 men were classified as NO, 106 as Nvar, 137 as Yvar and 115 as YES. There was a progressive increase in baseline National Institutes of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index total score (modified to exclude post-ejaculatory pain) from 18.5 for the NO subgroup to 25.5 for the YES subgroup (p <0.0001). Mental and physical quality of life were also progressively lower from the NO to the YES subgroup (p <0.001). There were no significant differences in white blood cell count or bacterial growth in urine, prostate fluid or semen among subgroups. Men in the YES subgroup were younger, more likely to live alone, had lower income and a greater variety of sexual practices than those without ejaculatory pain (NO subgroup). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with CPPS and persistent ejaculatory pain have more severe symptoms, are less likely to improve with time, and have differences in demographic and sexual history compared to other patients with CPPS.

J Urol. 2004 Aug;172(2):542-7

Down-regulation of prostate specific antigen in LNCaP cells by flavonoids from the pollen of Brassica napus L.

The pollen of Brassica napus L. has been used in China to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) for over decades. In this study, the pollen of Brassica napus L. was extracted successively with chloroform, ethyl acetate and ethanol. The ethyl acetate extract showed strong activity in decreasing the secretion of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in LNCaP cells as compared to two other extracts, measured by ELISA with finasteride as positive control in the assay. Five flavonoids were subsequently isolated from the active extract using bioassay-guided fractionation. They were Naringenin (1); Luteolin (2); Kaempferol (3); Kaempferol 3-(3-E-p-coumaroyl-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside) (4); and Kaempferol 3-(2,3-di-E-p-coumaroyl-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside) (5). All these compounds inhibited PSA secretion significantly, with IC50 values in the range of 5-50 microM. Compounds 2, 4 and 5 showed moderate cytotoxicity to LNCaP cells within the active concentration range, while compounds 1 and 3 showed no cytotoxicity. Further studies on the mechanism action of these compounds were performed by evaluating their activation of estrogen receptor (ER) and antagonistic activities on androgen receptor (AR) in cell-based reporter gene assays. All compounds described here were first isolated from the pollen of Brassica napus L.

Phytomedicine. 2007 May;14(5):338-43

Effect of cernitin pollen-extract on experimental nonbacterial prostatitis in rats.

BACKGROUND: The treatment for chronic nonbacterial prostatitis (NBP) has not been established. Cernitin pollen-extract (CN-009) is reported to have therapeutic effects for NBP. The effects and mechanisms of CN-009 were investigated. METHODS: Ten-month-old rats were used with administration of estradiol after castration, which were similar to human NBP histologically. Since CN-009 consists of T-60 and GBX, these drugs were administered, respectively. The prostate was evaluated histopathologically including glandular damage (epithelial score), stromal ratio and immunohistochemical assays for epithelial function (PAP), stromal evaluation (Vimentin), cell proliferation (PCNA) and apoptosis (deoxyuridine triphosphate biotin nick end-labeling (TUNEL)). RESULTS: Controls revealed severe acinar gland atrophy and stromal proliferation. CN-009 showed diminished these damages. Epithelial score was better (P < 0.01) and PAP positive materials were more abundant in CN-009 and GBX than in Controls. The stromal ratio was lower in CN-009 (P < 0.01) and T-60 (P < 0.05). There was no difference for PCNA positive cells in the epithelium and stroma, and TUNEL positive cells in epithelium. While, the number of TUNEL positive cells in the stroma of CN-009 and T-60 increased (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that CN-009 protects acinar epithelial cells mainly by GBX and also inhibits stromal proliferation in association with enhanced apoptosis mainly by T-60.

Prostate. 2001 Oct 1;49(2):122-31

Clinical evaluation of long-term treatment using cernitin pollen extract in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Seventy-nine patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) were treated with cernitin pollen extract. Patient ages ranged from 62 to 89 years (mean, 68 years). Mean baseline prostatic volume was 33.2 cm3. Cernitin pollen extract was administered in a dosage of 126 mg (2 tablets, 63 mg each), three times a day, for more than 12 weeks. Symptom scores, based on a modified Boyarsky scoring scale, uroflowmetry, prostatic volume, residual urine volume, and urinalysis results were examined before and after administration of cernitin pollen extract. Symptom scores significantly decreased from baseline, and the favorable results continued during the treatment period. Urine maximum flow rate and average flow rate increased significantly from 9.3 mL/s to 11 mL/s and from 5.1 mL/s to 6 mL/s, respectively. Residual urine volume decreased significantly from 54.2 mL to less than 30 mL. There was no change in prostatic volume. However, 28 patients treated for more than 1 year showed a mean decrease of prostatic volume to 26.5 cm3. No adverse reactions were observed. Clinical efficacy at 12 weeks was rated excellent, good, satisfactory, and poor in 11%, 39%, 35%, and 15% of patients, respectively. Overall clinical efficacy was 85%. In conclusion, cernitin pollen extract showed a mild beneficial effect on prostatic volume and urination variables in patients with symptomatic BPH.

Clin Ther. 1995 Jan-Feb;17(1):82-7

Effect of fenghuaqianqingcha on experimentally induced prostatic hyperplasia in mice.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the improvement of fenghuaqianqingcha (FQC) on Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in mice and the related mechanism. METHODS: The BPH model was established by subcutaneous injection of testosterone propionate in mice. At the same time, mice were infused into the stomach with FQC in different dosages for three weeks. The mice were sacrificed later, and the prostate index, prostatic wet weight, testosterone levels in plasma and MDA contents, NO levels, GSH levels, as well as oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values in prostate were measured and the morphological change of prostatic gland was observed by light microscope to observe the effects of FQC on BPH in mice. And the effect of FQC on 5 alpha-reductase was determinated in vitro by HPLC. RESULTS: Compared with the BPH model group, all parameters including prostatic index, prostatic wet weight, T levels, MDA contents, ORAC values et. in different experimental groups showed significantly improvement after treatment with FQC. And FQC could inhibit the activity of 5alpha-reductase in vitro significantly. CONCLUSION: FQC has antagonistic effect on BPH induced by testosterone propionate in mice, which may involve its inhibition of the activity of 5 alpha-reductase and accommodate the peroxidation condition.

Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Sep;31(9):1381-5

Dose response between physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: No reviews have quantified the specific amounts of physical activity required for lower risks of coronary heart disease when assessing the dose-response relation. Instead, previous reviews have used qualitative estimates such as low, moderate, and high physical activity. METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed an aggregate data meta-analysis of epidemiological studies investigating physical activity and primary prevention of CHD. We included prospective cohort studies published in English since 1995. After reviewing 3194 abstracts, we included 33 studies. We used random-effects generalized least squares spline models for trend estimation to derive pooled dose-response estimates. Among the 33 studies, 9 allowed quantitative estimates of leisure-time physical activity. Individuals who engaged in the equivalent of 150 min/wk of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity (minimum amount, 2008 U.S. federal guidelines) had a 14% lower
coronary heart disease risk (relative risk, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 0.96) compared with those reporting no leisure-time physical activity. Those engaging in the equivalent of 300 min/wk of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity (2008 U.S. federal guidelines for additional benefits) had a 20% (relative risk, 0.80; 95% confidence interval, 0.74 to 0.88) lower risk. At higher levels of physical activity, relative risks were modestly lower. People who were physically active at levels lower than the minimum recommended amount also had significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease. There was a significant interaction by sex (P=0.03); the association was stronger among women than men. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide quantitative data supporting US physical activity guidelines that stipulate that “some physical activity is better than none” and “additional benefits occur with more physical activity.”

Circulation. 2011 Aug 16;124(7):789-95

Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: metaepidemiological study.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the comparative effectiveness of exercise versus drug interventions on mortality outcomes. DESIGN: Metaepidemiological study. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials with mortality outcomes comparing the effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions with each other or with control (placebo or usual care). DATA SOURCES: Medline and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, May 2013.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Mortality. DATA SYNTHESIS: We combined study level death outcomes from exercise and drug trials using random effects network meta-analysis. RESULTS: We included 16 (four exercise and 12 drug) meta-analyses. Incorporating an additional three recent exercise trials, our review collectively included 305 randomised controlled trials with 339,274 participants. Across all four conditions with evidence on the effectiveness of exercise on mortality outcomes (secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, treatment of heart failure, prevention of diabetes), 14,716 participants were randomised to physical activity interventions in 57 trials. No statistically detectable differences were evident between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and prediabetes. Physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment among patients with stroke (odds ratios, exercise v anticoagulants 0.09, 95% credible intervals 0.01 to 0.70 and exercise v antiplatelets 0.10, 0.01 to 0.62). Diuretics were more effective than exercise in heart failure (exercise v diuretics 4.11, 1.17 to 24.76). Inconsistency between direct and indirect comparisons was not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Although limited in quantity, existing randomised trial evidence on exercise interventions suggests that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes.

BMJ. 2013 Oct 1;347:f5577

Physical activity and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies.

We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the evidence from prospective studies regarding the association between physical activity and breast cancer risk. A comprehensive search was conducted to identify eligible studies. The fixed or random effect model was used based on heterogeneity test. The dose-response relationship was assessed by restricted cubic spline model and multivariate random-effect meta-regression. Overall, 31 studies with 63,786 cases were included, and the combined relative risk (RR) with 95% CI of breast cancer was 0.88 (0.85-0.91). In subgroup analysis by activity type, data from 27 studies including 37,568 cases for non-occupational activity (including recreational activity and household activity) and seven studies including 28,268 cases for occupational activity were used, and the RR (95% CI) of breast cancer was 0.87 (0.83-0.91) and 0.90 (0.83-0.97), respectively. The inverse association was consistent among all subgroups analyses. Stronger association was found for subjects with BMI <25 kg/m(2) [0.72 (0.65-0.81)], premenopausal women [0.77 (0.72-0.84)], and estrogen and progesterone receptor-negative breast cancer [0.80 (0.73-0.87)]. Dose-response analysis suggested that the risk of breast cancer decreased by 2% (P < 0.00) for every 25 metabolic equivalent (MET)-h/week increment in non-occupational physical activity, 3% (P < 0.00) for every 10 MET-h/week (roughly equivalent to 4 h/week of walking in 2 miles/h or 1 h/week of running in 6 miles/h) increment in recreational activity, and 5% (P < 0.00) for every 2h/week increment in moderate plus vigorous recreational activity, respectively. Physical activity could significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Feb;137(3):869-82

Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy.

BACKGROUND: Strong evidence shows that physical inactivity increases the risk of many adverse health conditions, including major non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, and shortens life expectancy. Because much of the world’s population is inactive, this link presents a major public health issue. We aimed to quantify the eff ect of physical inactivity on these major non-communicable diseases by estimating how much disease could be averted if inactive people were to become active and to estimate gain in life expectancy at the population level. METHODS: For our analysis of burden of disease, we calculated population attributable fractions (PAFs) associated with physical inactivity using conservative assumptions for each of the major non-communicable diseases, by country, to estimate how much disease could be averted if physical inactivity were eliminated. We used life-table analysis to estimate gains in life expectancy of the population. FINDINGS: Worldwide, we estimate that physical inactivity causes 6% (ranging from 3·2% in southeast Asia to 7·8% in the eastern Mediterranean region) of the burden of disease from coronary heart disease, 7% (3·9-9·6) of type 2 diabetes, 10% (5·6-14·1) of breast cancer, and 10% (5·7-13·8) of colon cancer. Inactivity causes 9% (range 5·1-12·5) of premature mortality, or more than 5·3 million of the 57 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2008. If inactivity were not eliminated, but decreased instead by 10% or 25%, more than 533 000 and more than 1·3 million deaths, respectively, could be averted every year. We estimated that elimination of physical inactivity would increase the life expectancy of the world’s population by 0·68 (range 0·41-0·95) years. INTERPRETATION: Physical inactivity has a major health eff ect worldwide. Decrease in or removal of this unhealthy behaviour could improve health substantially. FUNDING: None.

Lancet. 2012 Jul 21;380(9838):219-29

Physical activity status, but not age, influences inflammatory biomarkers and toll-like receptor 4.

BACKGROUND: Chronic inflammation has been implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, cachexia, and osteoporosis. Regular physical activity has been purported to possess “anti-inflammatory” properties which may limit chronic inflammation. Recently, we hypothesized that toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) may play a role in activity-induced modulation of inflammation. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the association between age, physical activity status, biomarkers of inflammation, and TLR4. METHODS: Male and female participants (n = 84) were recruited to fill one of the following groups: young (18-30 years), active; young, inactive; old (60-80 years), active; or old, inactive. To assess physical activity status, participants completed a Paffenbarger Physical Activity Questionnaire and a modified Balke submaximal treadmill test. After grouping and screening, participants were given a standard mixed diet to consume 24 hours prior to arriving at the laboratory. Participants were instructed to consume all food by 10 pm the night prior to blood sampling (8-hour fast). Following 30 minutes of seated rest in a quiet room, venous blood samples were collected. Lipopolysaccharide-stimulated inflammatory cytokine production and plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and TLR4 expression was determined by flow cytometry. RESULTS: Lipopolysaccharide-stimulated interleukin-6, interleukin-1beta, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha production, TLR4 expression, and hsCRP were significantly lower in active compared to inactive participants (p <.05). Also, older participants had significantly higher hsCRP than young participants had (p <.05). CONCLUSIONS: The findings of the present study support previous reports which infer that acute exercise or a physically active lifestyle may possess anti-inflammatory properties. Also this study, along with previous work from our laboratory, suggests that TLR4 may play a role in regulating the link between inflammatory cytokine production and a physically active lifestyle.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006 Apr;61(4):388-93

Exercise training inhibits inflammation in adipose tissue via both suppression of macrophage infiltration and acceleration of phenotypic switching from M1 to M2 macrophages in high-fat-diet-induced obese mice.

PURPOSE: Recent studies suggest that exchange of macrophage phenotype (M1/M2) in adipose tissue is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation in obesity. M1 macrophages enhance a chronic inflammatory state in adipose tissues, whereas M2 macrophages inhibit it. Although exercise training might inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in adipose tissue, it remains unclear whether exercise training affects the phenotypic switch of macrophage polarization in adipose tissue. Therefore, we inveStigated the effect of exercise training on the macrophage phenotypic switch in adipose tissue in high-fat-induced obese mice. METHODS: Male C57BL/6 mice were divided into four groups; normal diet (ND) control (n=7), ND exercise (n=7), high-fat-diet (HFD) control (n=12), and HFD exercise (n=12) groups. All exercised mice ran on a treadmill at 12-20 m/min for 60 min/day for 16 weeks. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, F4/80, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, CXCL14, inter-cellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, vascular-cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, CD11c, CD163 and toll-like receptor (TLR)4 mRNA expressions in adipose tissue were evaluated by real time-RT-PCR. RESULTS: In HFD mice, exercise training did not induce loss of body or adipose tissue mass, exercise training nevertheless markedly inhibited TNF-alpha and F4/80 mRNA expression in adipose tissue. The exercise training attenuated HFD-induced increase in ICAM-1 mRNA expression, but not MCP-1, CXCL14 and VCAM-1 mRNA expressions. In addition, increased CD11c mRNA expression, which is a M1 macrophage specific marker, with HFD treatment was attenuated by exercise training. In contrast, although the mRNA expression of CD163, a M2 macrophage specific marker, in adipose tissue was significantly decreased by HFD, the exercise training significantly increased its expression. Also, the higher mRNA expression of TLR4, which induces pro-inflammatory cytokine production after fatty acid recognition, was strongly inhibited by the exercise training in HFD mice. CONCLUSION: Exercise training might induce the phenotypic switching from M1 macrophage to M2 macrophage in obese adipose tissue besides inhibiting M1 macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue. Therefore, chronic exercise might contribute to inhibit inflammation in adipose tissue via down regulation of TLR4.

Exerc Immunol Rev. 2010;16:105-18

Physical exercise reduces circulating lipopolysaccharide and TLR4

OBJECTIVE: Insulin resistance in diet-induced obesity (DIO) is associated with a chronic systemic low-grade inflammation, and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) plays an important role in the link among insulin resistance, inflammation, and obesity. The current study aimed to analyze the effect of exercise on TLR4 expression and activation in obese rats and its consequences on insulin sensitivity and signaling. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: The effect of chronic and acute exercise was investigated on insulin sensitivity, insulin signaling, TLR4 activation, c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) and IkB kinase (IKKb) activity, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) serum levels in tissues of DIO rats. RESULTS: The results showed that chronic exercise reduced TLR4 mRNA and protein expression in liver, muscle, and adipose tissue. However, both acute and chronic exercise blunted TLR4 signaling in these tissues, including a reduction in JNK and IKKb phosphorylation and IRS-1 serine 307 phosphorylation, and, in parallel, improved insulin-induced IR, IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation, and Akt serine phosphorylation, and reduced LPS serum levels. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that physical exercise in DIO rats, both acute and chronic, induces an important suppression in the TLR4 signaling pathway in the liver, muscle, and adipose tissue, reduces LPS serum levels, and improves insulin signaling and sensitivity. These data provide considerable progress in our understanding of the molecular events that link physical exercise to an improvement in inflammation and insulin resistance.

Diabetes. 2011 Mar;60(3):784-96

Acute exercise induces a phenotypic switch in adipose tissue macrophage polarization in diet-induced obese rats.

OBJECTIVE: It has become clear that exercise may be a useful therapy in the insulin resistance treatment, as it has anti-inflammatory effects and improves insulin sensitivity. However, it remains uncertain whether exercise affects the adipocytes or infiltrated macrophages. Thus, the aim was to investigate the effects of acute exercise on the inflammatory status and insulin signaling of the white adipose tissue (WAT) fractions (stromal-vascular fraction [SVF] and adipocytes). DESIGN AND METHODS: The effect of acute swimming exercise was investigated on insulin sensitivity, insulin signaling, inflammatory pathways in the WAT fractions of high-fat fed Wistar rats. Additionally, macrophage infiltration and polarization were analyzed in the WAT. RESULTS: Acute exercise can improve insulin signaling in WAT fractions, along with a phenotypic switch from M1- to M2-macrophages in obese rats, as indicated by a marked increase in macrophage galactose-type C-type lectin 1-positive cells in WAT was observed. Additionally, exercise promoted a reduction in circulating levels of lipopolysaccharide, and toll-like receptor 4 activity along with TNF-alpha, IL-1-beta and MCP-1 mRNA levels in WAT fractions. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that acute exercise improves insulin signaling in the WAT, at least in part by inducing macrophage polarization toward the M2-state.

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Dec;21(12):2545-56

Effects of diet and exercise on metabolic disturbances in high-fat diet-fed mice.

Consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) is associated with white adipose tissue (WAT) inflammation, which contributes to key components of the metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance (IR) and hepatic steatosis (HS). To determine the differential effects of exercise training (EX), low-fat diet (LFD), and their combination on WAT inflammation, Balb/cByJ male mice (n=34) were fed an HFD for 12 wks before they were randomized into one of four intervention groups: HFD-EX, LFD-EX, HFD-sedentary (SED), or LFD-SED. EX mice performed 12 wks of exercise training on a motorized treadmill (1h/d, 5d/wk, 12 m/min, 5% grade, approximately 65% VO(2) max), while SED mice remained sedentary in their home cages. WAT gene expression of adipokines was assessed using rt-PCR. IR was measured using HOMA-IR, and HS via hepatic triglyceride content. EX significantly reduced (53%) WAT gene expression of MCP-1, and LFD significantly reduced (50%) WAT gene expression of the macrophage specific marker, F4/80 as well as the adipocytokine IL-1 ra (25%). EX independently improved IR, while both EX and LFD improved HS. These findings suggest that both diet and exercise have unique beneficial effects on WAT inflammatory markers and the mechanism by which each treatment improves metabolic complications associated with chronic consumption of an HFD may be different.

Cytokine. 2009 Jun;46(3):339-45

Can nutrition limit exercise-induced immunodepression?

Prolonged exercise and heavy training are associated with depressed immune cell function. To maintain immune function, athletes should eat a well-balanced diet sufficient to meet their energy, carbohydrate, protein, and micronutrient requirements. Consuming carbohydrate during prolonged strenuous exercise attenuates rises in stress hormones and appears to limit the degree of exercise-induced immune depression. Recent evidence suggests that antioxidant vitamin supplementation may also reduce exercise stress and impairment of leukocyte functions. Further research is needed to evaluate the effects of other antioxidants and dietary immunostimulants such as probiotics and echinacea on exercise-induced immune impairment.

Nutr Rev. 2006 Mar;64(3):119-31

Antioxidant supplementation and immunoendocrine responses to prolonged exercise.

PURPOSE: Antioxidant supplementation may modulate systemic cortisol and interleukin-6 (IL-6) responses to prolonged exercise, but it is unclear whether such effects are also associated with a reduction in the magnitude of immunodepression. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of daily vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid, 1,000 mg x d(-1)) and vitamin E (RRR-alpha-tocopherol, 400 IU x d(-1)) supplementation on immunoendocrine responses to prolonged exercise. METHODS: Twenty healthy, recreationally active males cycled for 2.5 h at approximately 60% of maximal oxygen uptake after 4 wk of placebo (PLA, N=10) or antioxidant (AO, N=10) supplementation. RESULTS: A significant group x time interaction was observed for plasma cortisol concentration (P=0.008), and the postexercise increase was greater (P<0.05) in the PLA compared with AO group (approximately 170% compared with an approximately 120% increase above baseline). Plasma IL-6 concentration was significantly increased after exercise to a similar extent in both groups. Plasma free F2-isoprostane concentration was significantly increased after exercise and was unaffected by AO supplementation, whereas plasma TBARS was unaffected by exercise in the PLA group but was lower after exercise in the AO group than in the PLA group. Circulating neutrophil count was significantly increased after exercise, and in vitro bacteria-stimulated elastase release per neutrophil was significantly decreased to a similar extent in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that 4 wk of AO supplementation may blunt the cortisol response to a single 2.5-h bout of prolonged exercise independently of changes in oxidative stress or plasma IL-6 concentration, but it is not effective at modulating the exercise-induced neutrophilia or depression of neutrophil function.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Apr;39(4):645-52

Influence of training load on upper respiratory tract infection incidence and antigen-stimulated cytokine production.

This study examined the effect of training load on upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) incidence in men and women engaged in endurance-based physical activity during winter and sought to establish if there are training-associated differences in immune function related to patterns of illness. Seventy-five individuals provided resting blood and saliva samples for determination of markers of systemic immunity. Weekly training and illness logs were kept for the following 4 months. Comparisons were made between subjects (n = 25) who reported that they exercised 3-6 h/week (LOW), 7-10 h/week (MED) or ≥ 11 h/week (HIGH). The HIGH and MED groups had more URTI episodes than the LOW group (2.4 ± 2.8 and 2.6 ± 2.2 vs 1.0 ± 1.6, respectively: P < 0.05). The HIGH group had approximately threefold higher interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4 and IL-10 production (all P < 0.05) by antigen-stimulated whole blood culture than the LOW group and the MED group had twofold higher IL-10 production than the LOW group (P < 0.05). Other immune variables were not influenced by training load. It is concluded that high levels of physical activity are associated with increased risk of URTI and this may be related to an elevated anti-inflammatory cytokine response to antigen challenge.

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Aug;23(4):451-7

Respiratory infection risk in athletes: association with antigen-stimulated IL-10 production and salivary IgA secretion.

The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) in 18-35-year-old men and women engaged in endurance-based physical activity during the winter months. Eighty individuals (46 males, 34 females) provided resting blood and saliva samples for determination of markers of systemic immunity. Weekly training and illness logs were kept for the following 4 months. Thirty subjects did not experience an URTI episode and 24 subjects experienced 3 or more weeks of URTI symptoms. These illness-prone subjects had higher training loads and had ~2.5-fold higher interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10 production by antigen-stimulated whole blood culture than the illness-free subjects. Illness-prone subjects also had significantly lower saliva S-IgA secretion rate and higher plasma IgM (but not IgA or IgG) concentration than the illness-free subjects. There were no differences in circulating numbers of leukocyte subtypes or lymphocyte subsets between the illness-prone and illness-free subjects. The production of IL-10 was positively correlated and the S-IgA secretion rate was negatively correlated with the number of weeks with infection symptoms. It is concluded that high IL-10 production in response to antigen challenge and low S-IgA secretion are risk factors for development of URTI in physically active individuals.

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Jun;22(3):410-7

Mild cognitive impairment represents early-stage Alzheimer disease.

BACKGROUND: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered to be a transitional stage between aging and Alzheimer disease (AD). OBJECTIVE: To determine whether MCI represents early-stage AD by examining its natural history and neuropathologic basis. DESIGN: A prospective clinical and psychometric study of community-living elderly volunteers, both nondemented and minimally cognitively impaired, followed up for up to 9.5 years. Neuropathologic examinations were performed on participants who had undergone autopsy. SETTING: An AD research center. PARTICIPANTS: All participants enrolled between July 1990 and June 1997 with Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scores of 0 (cognitively healthy; n = 177; mean age, 78.9 years) or 0.5 (equivalent to MCI; n = 277; mean age, 76.9 years). Based on the degree of clinical confidence that MCI represented dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), 3 subgroups of individuals with CDR scores of 0.5 were identified: CDR 0.5/DAT, CDR 0.5/incipient DAT, and CDR 0.5/uncertain dementia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Progression to the stage of CDR 1, which characterizes mild definite DAT. RESULTS: Survival analysis showed that 100% of CDR 0.5/DAT participants progressed to greater dementia severity over a 9.5-year period. At 5 years, rates of progression to a score of CDR 1 (or greater) for DAT were 60.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 50.2%-70.8%) for the CDR 0.5/DAT group, 35.7% (95% CI, 21.0%-50.3%) for the CDR 0.5/incipient DAT group, 19.9% (95% CI, 8.0%-31.8%) for the CDR 0.5/uncertain dementia group, and 6.8% (95% CI, 2.2%-11.3%) for CDR 0/controls. Progression to greater dementia severity correlated with degree of cognitive impairment at baseline. Twenty-four of the 25 participants with scores of CDR 0.5 had a neuropathologic dementing disorder, which was AD in 21 (84%). CONCLUSIONS: Individuals currently characterized as having MCI progress steadily to greater stages of dementia severity at rates dependent on the level of cognitive impairment at entry and they almost always have the neuropathologic features of AD. We conclude that MCI generally represents early-stage AD.

Arch Neurol. 2001 Mar;58(3):397-405

Prevalence of cognitive impairment without dementia in the United States.

BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairment without dementia is associated with increased risk for disability, increased health care costs, and progression to dementia. There are no population-based prevalence estimates of this condition in the United States. OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of cognitive impairment without dementia in the United States and determine longitudinal cognitive and mortality outcomes. DESIGN: Longitudinal study from July 2001 to March 2005. SETTING: In-home assessment for cognitive impairment. PARTICIPANTS: Participants in ADAMS (Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study) who were age 71 years or older drawn from the nationally representative HRS (Health and Retirement Study). Of 1770 selected individuals, 856 completed initial assessment, and of 241 selected individuals, 180 completed 16- to 18-month follow-up assessment. MEASUREMENTS: Assessments, including neuropsychological testing, neurologic examination, and clinical and medical history, were used to assign a diagnosis of normal cognition, cognitive impairment without dementia, or dementia. National prevalence rates were estimated by using a population-weighted sample. RESULTS: In 2002, an estimated 5.4 million people (22.2%) in the United States age 71 years or older had cognitive impairment without dementia. Prominent subtypes included prodromal Alzheimer disease (8.2%) and cerebrovascular disease (5.7%). Among participants who completed follow-up assessments, 11.7% with cognitive impairment without dementia progressed to dementia annually, whereas those with subtypes of prodromal Alzheimer disease and stroke progressed at annual rates of 17% to 20%. The annual death rate was 8% among those with cognitive impairment without dementia and almost 15% among those with cognitive impairment due to medical conditions. LIMITATIONS: Only 56% of the nondeceased target sample completed the initial assessment. Population sampling weights were derived to adjust for at least some of the potential bias due to nonresponse and attrition. CONCLUSION: Cognitive impairment without dementia is more prevalent in the United States than dementia, and its subtypes vary in prevalence and outcomes.

Ann Intern Med. 2008 Mar 18;148(6):427-34

(11)C-PIB-PET for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease dementia and other dementias in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

BACKGROUND: According to the latest revised National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association (now known as the Alzheimer’s Association) (NINCDS-ADRDA) diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease dementia, the confidence in diagnosing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease dementia is raised with the application of imaging biomarkers. These tests, added to core clinical criteria, might increase the sensitivity or specificity of a testing strategy. However, the accuracy of biomarkers in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease dementia and other dementias has not yet been systematically evaluated. A formal systematic evaluation of the sensitivity, specificity, and other properties of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with the (11)C-labelled Pittsburgh Compound-B ((11)C-PIB) ligand was performed. OBJECTIVES: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of the (11)C- PIB-PET scan for detecting participants with MCI at baseline who will clinically convert to Alzheimer’s disease dementia or other forms of dementia over a period of time. SEARCH METHODS: The most recent search for this review was performed on 12 January 2013. We searched MEDLINE (OvidSP), EMBASE (OvidSP), BIOSIS Previews (ISI Web of Knowledge), Web of Science and Conference Proceedings (ISI Web of Knowledge), PsycINFO (OvidSP), and LILACS (BIREME). We also requested a search of the Cochrane Register of Diagnostic Test Accuracy Studies (managed by the Cochrane Renal Group).No language or date restrictions were applied to the electronic searches and methodological filters were not used so as to maximise sensitivity. SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected studies that had prospectively defined cohorts with any accepted definition of MCI with baseline (11)C-PIB-PET scan. In addition, we only selected studies that applied a reference standard for Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis for example NINCDS-ADRDA or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) criteria. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We screened all titles generated by electronic database searches. Two review authors independently assessed the abstracts of all potentially relevant studies. The identified full papers were assessed for eligibility and data were extracted to create two by two tables. Two independent assessors performed quality assessment using the QUADAS 2 tool. We used the hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (ROC) model to produce a summary ROC curve. MAIN RESULTS: Conversion from MCI to Alzheimer’s disease dementia was evaluated in nine studies. The quality of the evidence was limited. Of the 274 participants included in the meta-analysis, 112 developed Alzheimer’s dementia. Based on the nine included studies, the median proportion converting was 34%. The studies varied markedly in how the PIB scans were done and interpreted.The sensitivities were between 83% and 100% while the specificities were between 46% and 88%. Because of the variation in thresholds and measures of (11)C-PIB amyloid retention, we did not calculate summary sensitivity and specificity. Although subject to considerable uncertainty, to illustrate the potential strengths and weaknesses of (11)C-PIB-PET scans we estimated from the fitted summary ROC curve that the sensitivity was 96% (95% confidence interval (CI) 87 to 99) at the included study median specificity of 58%. This equated to a positive likelihood ratio of 2.3 and a negative likelihood ratio of 0.07. Assuming a typical conversion rate of MCI to Alzheimer’s dementia of 34%, for every 100 PIB scans one person with a negative scan would progress and 28 with a positive scan would not actually progress to Alzheimer’s dementia.There were limited data for formal investigation of heterogeneity. We performed two sensitivity analyses to assess the influence of type of reference standard and the use of a pre-specified threshold. There was no effect on our findings. AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: Although the good sensitivity achieved in some included studies is promising for the value of (11)C-PIB-PET, given the heterogeneity in the conduct and interpretation of the test and the lack of defined thresholds for determination of test positivity, we cannot recommend its routine use in clinical practice.(11)C-PIB-PET biomarker is a high cost investigation, therefore it is important to clearly demonstrate its accuracy and standardise the process of the (11)C-PIB diagnostic modality prior to it being widely used.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Jul 23;7:CD010386

P300 development across the life span: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: The P300 component of the event-related potential is a large positive waveform that can be extracted from the ongoing electroencephalogram using a two-stimuli oddball paradigm, and has been associated with cognitive information processing (e.g. memory, attention, executive function). This paper reviews the development of the auditory P300 across the lifespan. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A systematic review and meta-analysis on the P300 was performed including 75 studies (n = 2,811). Scopus was searched for studies using healthy subjects and that reported means of P300 latency and amplitude measured at Pz and mean age. These findings were validated in an independent, existing cross-sectional dataset including 1,572 participants from ages 6-87. Curve-fitting procedures were applied to obtain a model of P300 development across the lifespan. In both studies logarithmic Gaussian models fitted the latency and amplitude data best. The P300 latency and amplitude follow a maturational path from childhood to adolescence, resulting in a period that marks a plateau, after which degenerative effects begin. We were able to determine ages that mark a maximum (in P300 amplitude) or trough (in P300 latency) segregating maturational from degenerative stages. We found these points of deflection occurred at different ages. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: It is hypothesized that latency and amplitude index different aspects of brain maturation. The P300 latency possibly indexes neural speed or brain efficiency. The P300 amplitude might index neural power or cognitive resources, which increase with maturation.

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 13;9(2):e87347

Mild cognitive impairment: incidence and vascular risk factors in a population-based cohort.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and its potential vascular risk factors in a prospective population-based study. METHODS: An age-stratified random population-based cohort (baseline n = 1,982), followed for up to 4 years, was annually assessed for cognitive and everyday functioning. Incidence rates were calculated for both cognitive (neuropsychological [NP]-MCI) and functional (Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR] = 0.5) definitions of MCI. Several measures of vascular, metabolic, and inflammatory risk were assessed at baseline. Risk factor analyses used interval censoring survival models, followed by joint modeling of both MCI and attrition due to mortality and illness. RESULTS: Incidence rates for NP-MCI and CDR = 0.5 were 95 and 55 per 1,000 person-years. In individual joint models, risk factors for NP-MCI were diabetes and adiposity (waist: hip ratio), while APOE e4 genotype and heart failure increased risk of attrition. Adiposity, stroke, heart failure, and diabetes were risk factors for nonamnestic MCI. For CDR = 0.5, risk factors were stroke and heart failure; heart failure and adiposity increased risk of attrition. In multivariable joint models combining all risk factors, adiposity increased risk of NP-MCI, while stroke and heart failure increased risk for CDR = 0.5. Current alcohol use appeared protective against all subtypes. CONCLUSION: Incidence of MCI increased with age regardless of definition and did not vary by sex or education. Several vascular risk factors elevated the risk of incident MCI, whether defined cognitively or functionally, but most were associated with nonamnestic MCI and CDR = 0.5. Controlling vascular risk may potentially reduce risk of MCI.

Neurology. 2013 Jun 4;80(23):2112-20

Probable rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder increases risk for mild cognitive impairment and Parkinson disease: a population-based study.

OBJECTIVE: Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is associated with neurodegenerative disease and particularly with the synucleinopathies. Convenience samples involving subjects with idiopathic RBD have suggested an increased risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia (usually dementia with Lewy bodies), and Parkinson disease (PD). There are no data on such risks in a population-based sample. METHODS: Cognitively normal subjects aged 70 to 89 years in a population-based study of aging who screened positive for probable RBD using the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire were followed at 15-month intervals. In a Cox proportional hazards model, we measured the risk of developing MCI, dementia, and PD among the exposed (probable RBD [pRBD](+)) and unexposed (pRBD(-)) cohorts. RESULTS: Forty-four subjects with pRBD(+) status at enrollment (median duration of pRBD features was 7.5 years) and 607 pRBD(-) subjects were followed prospectively for a median of 3.8 years. Fourteen of the pRBD(+) subjects developed MCI, and 1 developed PD (15/44 = 34% developed MCI/PD); none developed dementia. After adjustment for age, sex, education, and medical comorbidity, pRBD(+) subjects were at increased risk of MCI/PD (hazard ratio [HR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-3.9; p = 0.005). Inclusion of subjects who withdrew from the study produced similar results, as did exclusion of subjects with medication-associated RBD. Duration of pRBD symptoms did not predict the development of MCI/PD (HR, 1.05 per 10 years; 95% CI, 0.84-1.3; p = 0.68). INTERPRETATION: In this population-based cohort study, we observed that pRBD confers a 2.2-fold increased risk of developing MCI/PD over 4 years.

Ann Neurol. 2012 Jan;71(1):49-56

Late-life depression as a risk factor for mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease in 30 US Alzheimer’s disease centers.

Identification of potentially modifiable risk factors for cognitive deterioration is important. We conducted a prospective study of 5,607 subjects with normal cognition and 2,500 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at 30 Alzheimer’s Disease Centers in the Unites States between 2005 and 2011. Cox regression was used to determine whether depression predicted transition from normal to MCI, or MCI to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Over an average of 3.3 visits, 15% of normal subjects transitioned to MCI (62/1000 per year), while 38% of MCI subjects transitioned to AD (146/1000 per year). At baseline, 22% of participants had recent (within the last two years) depression defined by clinician judgment; 9% and 17% were depressed using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS score ≥5) and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q), respectively. At baseline, depressed subjects performed significantly worse on cognitive tests. Those always depressed throughout follow-up had an increased risk for progression from normal to MCI (RR = 2.35; 95% CI 1.93-3.08) versus never depressed. Normal subjects, identified as depressed at first visit but subsequently improved, were found to have lower risk of progression (RR 1.40 (1.01-1.95)). The ‘always depressed’ had only a modest increased risk of progression from MCI to AD (RR = 1.21 (1.00-1.46). Results were similar using time-dependent variables for depression or when defining depression via the GDS or NPI-Q. We found no effect of earlier depression (>2 years past). The effect of recent depression did not differ by antidepressant treatment, APOE4 allele status, or type of MCI. In conclusion, late-life depression is a strong risk factor for normal subjects progressing to MCI.

J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;31(2):265-75