Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Sep 2016

Curcumin and Cancer, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Rhodiola, Vitamin D and MS

Curcumin and Cancer, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Rhodiola, Vitamin D and MS

Curcumin and Cancer

Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia.

Curcumin is derived from the spice turmeric and has anti-inflammatory and antineoplastic effects in vitro and in animal models, including preventing aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and adenomas in murine models of colorectal carcinogenesis. Inhibiting the production of the procarcinogenic eicosanoids prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE) can suppress carcinogenesis in rodents. Curcumin reduces mucosal concentrations of PGE(2) (via inhibition of cyclooxygenases 1 and 2) and 5-HETE (via inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase) in rats. Although preclinical data support curcumin activity in many sites, the poor bioavailability reported for this agent supports its use in the colorectum. We assessed the effects of oral curcumin (2 g or 4 g per day for 30 days) on PGE(2) within ACF (primary endpoint), 5-HETE, ACF number, and proliferation in a nonrandomized, open-label clinical trial in 44 eligible smokers with eight or more ACF on screening colonoscopy. We assessed pre- and post-treatment concentrations of PGE(2) and 5-HETE by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy in ACF and normal-tissue biopsies; ACF number via rectal endoscopy; proliferation by Ki-67 immunohistochemistry; and curcumin concentrations by high-performance liquid chromatography in serum and rectal mucosal samples. Forty-one subjects completed the study. Neither dose of curcumin reduced PGE(2) or 5-HETE within ACF or normal mucosa or reduced Ki-67 in normal mucosa. A significant 40% reduction in ACF number occurred with the 4-g dose (P < 0.005), whereas ACF were not reduced in the 2-g group. The ACF reduction in the 4-g group was associated with a significant, five-fold increase in posttreatment plasma curcumin/conjugate levels (versus pretreatment; P = 0.009). Curcumin was well tolerated at both 2 g and 4 g. Our data suggest that curcumin can decrease ACF number, and this is potentially mediated by curcumin conjugates delivered systemically.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) . 2011 Mar; 4(3): 354-364.

Curcumin and cancer: barriers to obtaining a health claim.

Curcumin is a highly pleiotropic molecule found in the rhizomes of Curcuma longa (turmeric). It is responsible for the yellow color of turmeric and has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and to be of use in preventing or treating a number of diseases. Curcumin has been shown to modulate multiple cell-signaling pathways simultaneously, thereby mitigating or preventing many different types of cancers, including multiple myeloma and colorectal, pancreatic, breast, prostate, lung, head, and neck cancers, in both animal models and humans. Current therapeutic approaches using a single cancer drug for a single target can be expensive, have serious side effects, or both. Consequently, new approaches to the treatment and prevention of cancer, including the integration of curcumin as a viable treatment strategy where dysregulation of many pathways is involved, are warranted. A methodical review of the evidence was performed to evaluate the effects of curcumin in support of a health claim, as established through the regulatory framework of Health Canada, for a relationship between the consumption of curcumin and the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Nutr Rev . 2015 Mar; 73(3): 155-165.

Effect of imatinib therapy with and without turmeric powder on nitric oxide levels in chronic myeloid leukemia.

Nitric oxide (NO) is involved in different stages of malignancies. Increased levels of NO have been reported in different leukemias. Imatinib is the preferred drug for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Turmeric powder contains curcumin which has anti-leukemic property and also decreases NO synthesis. This study was conducted on fifty patients of CML divided into two groups, group A receiving imatinib alone and group B receiving turmeric powder along with imatinib for six weeks. Nitric oxide levels were estimated in these patients before and after receiving therapy and were analyzed statistically. Nitric oxide levels were found to be significantly decreased in both the groups, but more significantly in group B after receiving the respective treatments. Thus, curcumin acts as an adjuvant to imatinib in decreasing the NO levels and may help in the treatment of CML patients.

J Oncol Pharm Pract . 2012 Jun; 18(2): 186-190.

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, smoldering multiple myeloma, and curcumin: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over 4g study and an open-label 8g extension study.

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) represent useful models for studying multiple myeloma precursor disease, and for developing early intervention strategies. Administering a 4g dose of curcumin, we performed a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over study, followed by an open-label extension study using an 8g dose to assess the effect of curcumin on FLC response and bone turnover in patients with MGUS and SMM. 36 patients (19 MGUS and 17 SMM) were randomised into two groups: one received 4g curcumin and the other 4g placebo, crossing over at 3 months. At completion of the 4g arm, all patients were given the option of entering an open-label, 8g dose extension study. Blood and urine samples were collected at specified intervals for specific marker analyses. Group values are expressed as mean +/- 1 SD. Data from different time intervals within groups were compared using Student’s paired t-test. 25 patients completed the 4g cross-over study and 18 the 8g extension study. Curcumin therapy decreased the free light-chain ratio (rFLC), reduced the difference between clonal and nonclonal light-chain (dFLC) and involved free light-chain (iFLC). uDPYD, a marker of bone resorption, decreased in the curcumin arm and increased on the placebo arm. Serum creatinine levels tended to diminish on curcumin therapy. These findings suggest that curcumin might have the potential to slow the disease process in patients with MGUS and SMM.

Am J Hematol . 2012 May; 87(5): 455-460.

Upregulation of p53 expression in patients with colorectal cancer by administration of curcumin.

Biological therapies can be beneficial in cancer patients. The present study aims to examine the inhibitory mechanism of curcumin on cancer cells in patients with colorectal cancer. The results showed that curcumin administration increased body weight, decreased serum TNF-alpha levels, increased apoptotic tumor cells, enhanced expression of p53 molecule in tumor tissue, and modulated tumor cell apoptotic pathway. We conclude that the curcumin treatment improves the general health of patients with colorectal cancer via the mechanism of increased p53 molecule expression in tumor cells and consequently speeds up tumor cell apoptosis.

Cancer Invest . 2011 Mar; 29(3): 208-213.

Curcumin treatment suppresses IKKbeta kinase activity of salivary cells of patients with head and neck cancer: a pilot study.

PURPOSE: To determine whether curcumin would inhibit IkappaB kinase beta (IKKbeta) kinase activity and suppress expression of proinflammatory cytokines in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cancer (HNSCC) patients. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Saliva was collected before and after subjects chewed curcumin tablets. Protein was extracted and IKKbeta kinase activity measured. Interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 levels in the salivary supernatants were measured by ELISA. IL-6, IL-8, and other interleukin were also measured independently with ELISA to confirm the inhibitory effect of curcumin on expression and secretion of salivary cytokines. RESULTS: Curcumin treatment led to a reduction in IKKbeta kinase activity in the salivary cells of HNSCC patients (P < 0.05). Treatment of UM-SCC1 cells with curcumin as well as with post-curcumin salivary supernatant showed a reduction of IKKbeta kinase activity. Significant reduction of IL-8 levels (P < 0.05) was seen in post-curcumin samples from patients with dental caries. Although there was reduced IL-8 expression in 8 of 21 post-curcumin samples of HNSCC patients, the data did not reach statistical significance. Saliva samples from HNSCC patients were also analyzed in a blinded fashion for expression of cytokines. IL-10, IFN-gamma, IL-12p70, and IL-2 clustered together, and granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor and TNF-alpha clustered together. Log(1)(0) ratio analysis showed decrease in expression of all nine cytokines in both the salivary supernatant and salivary cells of curcumin-treated samples. CONCLUSIONS: Curcumin inhibited IKKbeta kinase activity in the saliva of HNSCC patients, and this inhibition correlated with reduced expression of a number of cytokines. IKKbeta kinase could be a useful biomarker for detecting the effect of curcumin in head and neck cancer.

Clin Cancer Res . 2011 Sep 15; 17(18): 5953-5961.

New perspectives of curcumin in cancer prevention.

Numerous natural compounds have been extensively investigated for their potential for cancer prevention over the decades. Curcumin, from Curcuma longa, is a highly promising natural compound that can be potentially used for chemoprevention of multiple cancers. Curcumin modulates multiple molecular pathways involved in the lengthy carcinogenesis process to exert its chemopreventive effects through several mechanisms: promoting apoptosis, inhibiting survival signals, scavenging reactive oxidative species (ROS), and reducing the inflammatory cancer microenvironment. Curcumin fulfills the characteristics for an ideal chemopreventive agent with its low toxicity, affordability, and easy accessibility. Nonetheless, the clinical application of curcumin is currently compromised by its poor bioavailability. Here, we review the potential of curcumin in cancer prevention, its molecular targets, and mechanisms of action. Finally, we suggest specific recommendations to improve its efficacy and bioavailability for clinical applications.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) . 2013 May; 6(5): 387-400.

Curcumin for radiation dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of thirty breast cancer patients.

Radiation dermatitis occurs in approximately 95% of patients receiving radiotherapy (RT) for breast cancer. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the ability of curcumin to reduce radiation dermatitis severity in 30 breast cancer patients. Eligible patients were adult females with noninflammatory breast cancer or carcinoma in situ prescribed RT without concurrent chemotherapy. Randomized patients took 2.0 grams of curcumin or placebo orally three times per day (i.e., 6.0 grams daily) throughout their course of RT. Weekly assessments included Radiation Dermatitis Severity (RDS) score, presence of moist desquamation, redness measurement, McGill Pain Questionnaire-Short Form and Symptom Inventory questionnaire. The 30 evaluable patients were primarily white (90%) and had a mean age of 58.1 years. Standard pooled variances t test showed that curcumin reduced RDS at end of treatment compared to placebo (mean RDS = 2.6 vs. 3.4; P = 0.008). Fisher’s exact test revealed that fewer curcumin-treated patients had moist desquamation (28.6% vs. 87.5%; P = 0.002). No significant differences were observed between arms for demographics, compliance, radiation skin dose, redness, pain or symptoms. In conclusion, oral curcumin, 6.0 g daily during radiotherapy, reduced the severity of radiation dermatitis in breast cancer patients.

Radiat Res . 2013 Jul; 180(1): 34-43.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mediterranean diet reduces 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipids: one-year randomized, clinical trial.

The PREvencion con DIeta MEDiterranea (PREDIMED) trial showed that Mediterranean diets (MedDiets) supplemented with either extravirgin olive oil or nuts reduced cardiovascular events, particularly stroke, compared with a control, lower fat diet. The mechanisms of cardiovascular protection remain unclear. We evaluated the 1-year effects of supplemented MedDiets on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (BP), blood glucose, and lipids. Randomized, parallel-design, controlled trial was conducted in 2 PREDIMED sites. Diets were ad libitum, and no advice on increasing physical activity or reducing sodium intake was given. Participants were 235 subjects (56.5% women; mean age, 66.5 years) at high cardiovascular risk (85.4% with hypertension). Adjusted changes from baseline in mean systolic BP were -2.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], -4.0 to -0.5) mm Hg and -2.6 (95% CI, -4.3 to -0.9) mm Hg in the MedDiets with olive oil and the MedDiets with nuts, respectively, and 1.7 (95% CI, -0.1 to 3.5) mm Hg in the control group (P<0.001). Respective changes in mean diastolic BP were -1.2 (95% CI, -2.2 to -0.2), -1.2 (95% CI, -2.2 to -0.2), and 0.7 (95% CI, -0.4 to 1.7) mm Hg (P=0.017). Daytime and nighttime BP followed similar patterns. Mean changes from baseline in fasting blood glucose were -6.1, -4.6, and 3.5 mg/dL (P=0.016) in the MedDiets with olive oil, MedDiets with nuts, and control diet, respectively; those of total cholesterol were -11.3, -13.6, and -4.4 mg/dL (P=0.043), respectively. In high-risk individuals, most with treated hypertension, MedDiets supplemented with extravirgin olive oil or nuts reduced 24-hour ambulatory BP, total cholesterol, and fasting glucose. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: ISRCTN35739639.

Hypertension . 2014 Jul; 64(1): 69-76.

Effect of a high-fat Mediterranean diet on bodyweight and waist circumference: a prespecified secondary outcomes analysis of the PREDIMED randomised controlled trial.

Background: Because of the high density of fat, high-fat diets are perceived as likely to lead to increased bodyweight, hence health-care providers are reluctant to recommend them to overweight or obese individuals. We assessed the long-term effects of ad libitum, high-fat, high-vegetable-fat Mediterranean diets on bodyweight and waist circumference in older people at risk of cardiovascular disease, most of whom were overweight or obese. Methods: PREDIMED was a 5 year parallel-group, multicentre, randomised, controlled clinical trial done in primary care centres affiliated to 11 hospitals in Spain. 7447 asymptomatic men (aged 55–80 years) and women (aged 60–80 years) who had type 2 diabetes or three or more cardiovascular risk factors were randomly assigned (1:1:1) with a computer-generated number sequence to one of three interventions: Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (n=2543); Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (n=2454); or a control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat; n=2450). Energy restriction was not advised, nor was physical activity promoted. In this analysis of the trial, we measured bodyweight and waist circumference at baseline and yearly for 5 years in the intention-to-treat population. The PREDIMED trial is registered with ISRCTN.com, number ISRCTN35739639. Findings: After a median 4·8 years (IQR 2·8–5·8) of follow-up, participants in all three groups had marginally reduced bodyweight and increased waist circumference. The adjusted difference in 5 year changes in bodyweight in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group was −0·43 kg (95% CI −0·86 to −0·01; p=0·044) and in the nut group was −0·08 kg (–0·50 to 0·35; p=0·730), compared with the control group. The adjusted difference in 5 year changes in waist circumference was −0·55 cm (–1·16 to −0·06; p=0·048) in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group and −0·94 cm (–1·60 to −0·27; p=0·006) in the nut group, compared with the control group. Interpretation: A long-term intervention with an unrestricted-calorie, high-vegetable-fat Mediterranean diet was associated with decreases in bodyweight and less gain in central adiposity compared with a control diet. These results lend support to advice not restricting intake of healthy fats for bodyweight maintenance. Funding Spanish Government, CIBERobn, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Hojiblanca, Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero, California Walnut Commission, Borges SA, and Morella Nuts.

The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology . 2016.

Olive oil polyphenols enhance high-density lipoprotein function in humans: a randomized controlled trial.

OBJECTIVE: Olive oil polyphenols have shown beneficial properties against cardiovascular risk factors. Their consumption has been associated with higher cholesterol content in high-density lipoproteins (HDL). However, data on polyphenol effects on HDL quality are scarce. We, therefore, assessed whether polyphenol-rich olive oil consumption could enhance the HDL main function, its cholesterol efflux capacity, and some of its quality-related properties, such HDL polyphenol content, size, and composition. APPROACH AND RESULTS: A randomized, crossover, controlled trial with 47 healthy European male volunteers was performed. Participants ingested 25 mL/d of polyphenol-poor (2.7 mg/kg) or polyphenol-rich (366 mg/kg) raw olive oil in 3-week intervention periods, preceded by 2-week washout periods. HDL cholesterol efflux capacity significantly improved after polyphenol-rich intervention versus the polyphenol-poor one (+3.05% and -2.34%, respectively; P=0.042). Incorporation of olive oil polyphenol biological metabolites to HDL, as well as large HDL (HDL2) levels, was higher after the polyphenol-rich olive oil intervention, compared with the polyphenol-poor one. Small HDL (HDL3) levels decreased, the HDL core became triglyceride-poor, and HDL fluidity increased after the polyphenol-rich intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Olive oil polyphenols promote the main HDL antiatherogenic function, its cholesterol efflux capacity. These polyphenols increased HDL size, promoted a greater HDL stability reflected as a triglyceride-poor core, and enhanced the HDL oxidative status, through an increase in the olive oil polyphenol metabolites content in the lipoprotein. Our results provide for the first time a first-level evidence of an enhancement in HDL function by polyphenol-rich olive oil.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol . 2014 Sep; 34(9): 2115-2119.

Olive Oil Polyphenols Decrease LDL Concentrations and LDL Atherogenicity in Men in a Randomized Controlled Trial.

BACKGROUND: Olive oil polyphenols have shown protective effects on cardiovascular risk factors. Their consumption decreased oxidative stress biomarkers and improved some features of the lipid profile. However, their effects on LDL concentrations in plasma and LDL atherogenicity have not yet been elucidated. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to assess whether the consumption of olive oil polyphenols could decrease LDL concentrations [measured as apolipoprotein B-100 (apo B-100) concentrations and the total number of LDL particles] and atherogenicity (the number of small LDL particles and LDL oxidizability) in humans. METHODS: The study was a randomized, cross-over controlled trial in 25 healthy European men, aged 20-59 y, in the context of the EUROLIVE (Effect of Olive Oil Consumption on Oxidative Damage in European Populations) study. Volunteers ingested 25 mL/d raw low-polyphenol-content olive oil (LPCOO; 366 mg/kg) or high-polyphenol-content olive oil (HPCOO; 2.7 mg/kg) for 3 wk. Interventions were preceded by 2-wk washout periods. Effects of olive oil polyphenols on plasma LDL concentrations and atherogenicity were determined in the sample of 25 men. Effects on lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene expression were assessed in another sample of 18 men from the EUROLIVE study. RESULTS: Plasma apo B-100 concentrations and the number of total and small LDL particles decreased (mean +/- SD: by 5.94% +/- 16.6%, 11.9% +/- 12.0%, and 15.3% +/- 35.1%, respectively) from baseline after the HPCOO intervention. These changes differed significantly from those after the LPCOO intervention, which resulted in significant increases of 6.39% +/- 16.6%, 4.73% +/- 22.0%, and 13.6% +/- 36.4% from baseline (P < 0.03). LDL oxidation lag time increased by 5.0% +/- 10.3% from baseline after the HPCOO intervention, which was significantly different only relative to preintervention values (P = 0.038). LPL gene expression tended to increase by 26% from baseline after the HPCOO intervention (P = 0.08) and did not change after the LPCOO intervention. CONCLUSION: The consumption of olive oil polyphenols decreased plasma LDL concentrations and LDL atherogenicity in healthy young men. This trial was registered at www.controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN09220811.

J Nutr . 2015 Aug; 145(8): 1692-1697.

Effects of total dietary polyphenols on plasma nitric oxide and blood pressure in a high cardiovascular risk cohort. The PREDIMED randomized trial.

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Hyper-tension is one of the main cardiovascular risk factors in the elderly. The aims of this work were to evaluate if a one-year intervention with two Mediterranean diets (Med-diet) could decrease blood pressure (BP) due to a high polyphenol consumption, and if the decrease in BP was mediated by plasma nitric oxide (NO) production. METHODS AND RESULTS: An intervention substudy of 200 participants at high cardiovascular risk was carried out within the PREDIMED trial. They were randomly assigned to a low-fat control diet or to two Med-diets, one supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (Med-EVOO) and the other with nuts (Med-nuts). Anthropometrics and clinical parameters were measured at baseline and after one year of intervention, as well as BP, plasma NO and total polyphenol excretion (TPE) in urine samples. Systolic and diastolic BP decreased significantly after a one-year dietary intervention with Med-EVOO and Med-nuts. These changes were associated with a significant increase in TPE and plasma NO. Additionally, a significant positive correlation was observed between changes in urinary TPE, a biomarker of TP intake, and in plasma NO (Beta = 4.84; 95% CI: 0.57-9.10). CONCLUSIONS: TPE in spot urine sample was positively correlated with plasma NO in Med-diets supplemented with either EVOO or nuts. The statistically significant increases in plasma NO were associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic BP levels, adding to the growing evidence that polyphenols might protect the cardiovascular system by improving the endothelial function and enhancing endothelial synthesis of NO.

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis . 2015 Jan; 25(1): 60-67.

Phenols and the antioxidant capacity of Mediterranean vegetables prepared with extra virgin olive oil using different domestic cooking techniques.

Potato, tomato, eggplant and pumpkin were deep fried, sauteed and boiled in Mediterranean extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), water, and a water/oil mixture (W/O). We determined the contents of fat, moisture, total phenols (TPC) and eighteen phenolic compounds, as well as antioxidant capacity in the raw vegetables and compared these with contents measured after cooking. Deep frying and sauteing led to increased fat contents and TPC, whereas both types of boiling (in water and W/O) reduced the same. The presence of EVOO in cooking increased the phenolics identified in the raw foods as oleuropein, pinoresinol, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol, and the contents of vegetable phenolics such as chlorogenic acid and rutin. All the cooking methods conserved or increased the antioxidant capacity measured by DPPH, FRAP and ABTS. Multivariate analyses showed that each cooked vegetable developed specific phenolic and antioxidant activity profiles resulting from the characteristics of the raw vegetables and the cooking techniques.

Food Chem . 2015 Dec 1; 188: 430-438.

Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73).

Objective: To examine the traditional diet-heart hypothesis through recovery and analysis of previously unpublished data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE) and to put findings in the context of existing diet-heart randomized controlled trials through a systematic review and meta-analysis. Design: The MCE (1968-73) is a double blind randomized controlled trial designed to test whether replacement of saturated fat with vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid reduces coronary heart disease and death by lowering serum cholesterol. Recovered MCE unpublished documents and raw data were analyzed according to hypotheses prespecified by original investigators. Further, a systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials that lowered serum cholesterol by providing vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid in place of saturated fat without confounding by concomitant interventions was conducted. Setting: One nursing home and six state mental hospitals in Minnesota, United States. Participants: Unpublished documents with completed analyses for the randomized cohort of 9423 women and men aged 20-97; longitudinal data on serum cholesterol for the 2355 participants exposed to the study diets for a year or more; 149 completed autopsy files. Interventions: Serum cholesterol lowering diet that replaced saturated fat with linoleic acid (from corn oil and corn oil polyunsaturated margarine). Control diet was high in saturated fat from animal fats, common margarines, and shortenings. Main outcome measures: Death from all causes; association between changes in serum cholesterol and death; and coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial infarcts detected at autopsy.Results: The intervention group had significant reduction in serum cholesterol compared with controls (mean change from baseline −13.8% v −1.0%; P&lt;0.001). Kaplan Meier graphs showed no mortality benefit for the intervention group in the full randomized cohort or for any prespecified subgroup. There was a 22% higher risk of death for each 30 mg/dL (0.78 mmol/L) reduction in serum cholesterol in covariate adjusted Cox regression models (hazard ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval 1.14 to 1.32; P&lt;0.001). There was no evidence of benefit in the intervention group for coronary atherosclerosis or myocardial infarcts. Systematic review identified five randomized controlled trials for inclusion (n=10 808). In meta-analyses, these cholesterol lowering interventions showed no evidence of benefit on mortality from coronary heart disease (1.13, 0.83 to 1.54) or all cause mortality (1.07, 0.90 to 1.27).Conclusions: Available evidence from randomized controlled trials shows that replacement of saturated fat in the diet with linoleic acid effectively lowers serum cholesterol but does not support the hypothesis that this translates to a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease or all causes. Findings from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid.

BMJ . 2016 2016-04-12 22:34:54; 353.

Rhodiola

Salidroside attenuates concanavalin A-induced hepatitis via modulating cytokines secretion and lymphocyte migration in mice.

Salidroside, isolated from the medicinal plant Rhodiola, was reported to serve as an “adaptogen.” This study was designed to explore the protective effect of salidroside on concanavalin A- (Con A-) induced hepatitis in mice and investigate potential mechanisms. C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into control group, Con A group, and salidroside group. Salidroside (50 mg/kg) was injected intravenously followed by Con A administration. The levels of ALT, AST, inflammatory cytokines and CXCL-10 were examined. The pathological damage of livers was assessed, the amounts of phosphorylated IkappaBalpha and p65 were measured, and the numbers of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes in the blood, spleen and infiltrated in the liver were calculated. Our results showed that salidroside pretreatment reduced the levels of ALT, AST dramatically and suppressed the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines through downregulating the activity of NF-kappaB partly. Salidroside altered the distribution of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocyte in the liver and spleen through regulating CXCL-10 and decreased the severity of liver injuries. In conclusion, these results confirm the efficacy of salidroside in the prevention of immune mediated hepatitis in mice.

Mediators Inflamm . 2014 2014: 314081.

Salidroside attenuates chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension via adenosine A2a receptor related mitochondria-dependent apoptosis pathway.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by pulmonary arterial remodeling mainly due to excess cellular proliferation and apoptosis resistance of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Salidroside, an active ingredient isolated from Rhodiola rosea is proposed to exert protective effects against PAH. However, the function of salidroside in PAH has not been investigated systematically and the underlying mechanisms are not clear. To investigate the effects of salidroside on PAH, the mice in chronic hypoxia model of PAH were given by an increasing concentration of salidroside (0, 16 mg/kg, 32 mg/kg, and 64 mg/kg). After salidroside treatment, the chronic hypoxia-induced right ventricular hypertrophy and pulmonary arterial remodeling were attenuated, suggesting a protective role played by salidroside in PAH. To explore the potential mechanisms, the apoptosis of PASMCs after salidroside treatment under hypoxia conditions were determined in vivo and in vitro, and also the mitochondria-dependent apoptosis factors, Bax, Bcl-2, cytochrome C, and
caspase 9 were examined. The results revealed that salidroside reversed hypoxia-induced cell apoptosis resistance at least partially via a mitochondria-dependent pathway. In addition, salidroside upregulated the expression of adenosine A2a receptor (A2aR) in lung tissues of mice and in PASMCs in vitro after hypoxia exposure. Combined the evidence above, we conclude that salidroside can attenuate chronic hypoxia-induced PAH by promoting PASMCs apoptosis via an A2aR related mitochondria dependent pathway.

J Mol Cell Cardiol . 2015 May; 82: 153-166.

Aging impairs peritoneal but not bone marrow-derived macrophage phagocytosis.

Aging results in deterioration of the immune system, which is associated with increased susceptibility to infection and impaired wound healing in the elderly. Phagocytosis is an essential process in both wound healing and immune defence. As such, age-related impairments in phagocytosis impact on the health of the elderly population. Phagocytic efficiency in peritoneal macrophages, bone marrow-derived macrophages and bone marrow monocytes from young and old mice was investigated. Aging significantly impaired phagocytosis by peritoneal macrophages, both in vitro and in vivo. However, bone marrow-derived macrophages and bone marrow monocytes did not exhibit age-related impairments in phagocytosis, suggesting no intrinsic defect in these cells. We sought to investigate underlying mechanisms in age-related impairments in phagocytosis by peritoneal macrophages. We hypothesized that microenvironmental factors in the peritoneum of old mice impaired macrophage phagocytosis. Indeed, macrophages from young mice injected into the peritoneum of old mice exhibited impaired phagocytosis. Proportions of peritoneal immune cells were characterized, and striking increases in numbers of T cells, B1 and B2 cells were observed in the peritoneum of old mice compared with young mice. In addition, B cell-derived IL-10 was increased in resting and LPS-activated peritoneal cell cultures from old mice. These data demonstrate that aging impairs phagocytosis by tissue-resident peritoneal macrophages, but not by bone marrow-derived macrophages/monocytes, and suggest that age-related defects in macrophage phagocytosis may be due to extrinsic factors in the tissue microenvironment. As such, defects may be reversible and macrophages could be targeted therapeutically in order to boost immune function in the elderly.

Aging Cell . 2014 Aug; 13(4): 699-708.

Rhodiola rosea suppresses thymus T-lymphocyte apoptosis by downregulating tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced protein 8-like-2 in septic rats.

In recent years, several studies have shown that Rhodiola rosea can enhance cellular immunity and humoral immune function in mice, and thus, it has become a research hotspot. However, its underlying mechanism of action has remained elusive. The present study investigated whether Rhodiola rosea was able to downregulate the expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha-inducible protein 8-like 2 (TIPE2), thereby inhibiting the expression of apoptotic genes, attenuating T-lymphocyte apoptosis and improving immunity in septic mice. A mouse model of caecal ligation and puncture (CLP)-induced sepsis was established, and animals in the treatment group were pre-treated with an intraperitoneal injection of Rhodiola rosea extract, while animals in the control group and sham-operated group were injected with an equivalent amount of normal saline. TIPE2, B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), Fas and Fas ligand (FasL) mRNA and protein levels in thymic T cells were determined using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis, respectively. Furthermore, the thymus T-lymphocyte apoptosis rate, thymus T-lymphocyte count and thymus T-lymphocyte sub-sets were assessed using flow cytometry. Levels of T-helper cell type 1 (Th1) cytokines [Interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12 and interferon (IFN)-gamma] and Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) were determined using ELISA. The results showed that, compared to that in the CLP group, the expression of TIPE2, Fas and FasL in the treatment group was significantly decreased, while the expression of Bcl-2 was increased (P<0.05). The thymus lymphocyte count in the CLP group was significantly higher compared with that in the treatment group (P<0.05). Furthermore, the apoptotic rate of thymus T-lymphocytes in the treatment group was significantly lower than that in the CLP group (P<0.05). In addition, treatment with Rhodiola rosea rescued decreased in the counts of the CD3(+) T and CD4(+) T sub-sets of thymus T lymphocytes in the CLP group (P<0.05), while not affecting the increased levels of Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) in the CLP group compared with those in the control groups. In addition, the Th1 cytokines (IL-12, IL-2 and IFN-gamma) were significantly increased (P<0.05) in the CLP group, and treatment with Rhodiola rosea led to further increases. The thymus index of septic mice treated with Rhodiola rosea as well as their survival rate were improved as compared with those in the CLP group. These findings suggested that Rhodiola rosea has protective effects against sepsis by decreasing apoptosis, increasing Th1 cytokines and enhancing the host’s immunity via the regulation of TIPE2 expression.

Int J Mol Med . 2015 Aug; 36(2): 386-398.

The Protective Effects of Salidroside from Exhaustive Exercise-Induced Heart Injury by Enhancing the PGC-1 alpha -NRF1/NRF2 Pathway and Mitochondrial Respiratory Function in Rats.

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that salidroside (SAL) can protect heart from exhaustive exercise-induced injury by enhancing mitochondrial respiratory function and mitochondrial biogenesis key signaling pathway PGC-1alpha-NRF1/NRF2 in rats. METHODS: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 4 groups: sedentary (C), exhaustive exercise (EE), low-dose SAL (LS), and high-dose SAL (HS). After one-time exhaustive swimming exercise, we measured the changes in cardiomyocyte ultrastructure and cardiac marker enzymes and mitochondrial electron transport system (ETS) complexes activities in situ. We also measured mitochondrial biogenesis master regulator PGC-1alpha and its downstream transcription factors, NRF1 and NRF2, expression at gene and protein levels. RESULTS: Compared to C group, the EE group showed marked myocardium ultrastructure injury and decrease of mitochondrial respiratory function (P < 0.05) and protein levels of PGC-1alpha, NRF1, and NRF2 (P < 0.05) but a significant increase of PGC-1alpha, NRF1, and NRF2 genes levels (P < 0.05); compared to EE group, SAL ameliorated myocardium injury, increased mitochondrial respiratory function (P < 0.05), and elevated both gene and protein levels of PGC-1alpha, NRF-1, and NRF-2. CONCLUSION: Salidroside can protect the heart from exhaustive exercise-induced injury. It might act by improving myocardial mitochondrial respiratory function by stimulating the expression of PGC-1alpha-NRF1/NRF2 pathway.

Oxid Med Cell Longev . 2015 2015: 876825.

Endothelial dysfunction: the link between homocysteine and hydrogen sulfide.

High level of homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemia, HHcy) is associated with increased risk for vascular disease. Evidence for this emerges from epidemiological studies which show that HHcy is associated with premature peripheral, coronary artery and cerebrovascular disease independent of other risk factors. Possible mechanisms by which homocysteine causes vascular injury include endothelial injury, DNA dysfunction, proliferation of smooth muscle cells, increased oxidative stress, reduced activity of glutathione peroxidase and promoting inflammation. HHcy has been shown to cause direct damage to endothelial cells both in vitro and in vivo. Clinically, this manifests as impaired flow-mediated vasodilation and is mainly due to a reduction in nitric oxide synthesis and bioavailability. The effect of impaired nitric oxide release can in turn trigger and potentiate atherothrombogenesis and oxidative stress. Endothelial damage is a crucial aspect of atherosclerosis and precedes overt manifestation of disease. In addition, endothelial dysfunction is also associated with hypertension, diabetes, ischemia reperfusion injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Homocysteine is a precursor of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) which is formed by transulfuration process catalyzed by the enzymes, cystathionine beta-synthase and cystathionine gamma-lyase. H2S is a gasotransmitter that has emerged recently as a novel mediator in cardiovascular homeostasis. As a potent vasodilator, it plays several roles which include regulation of vessel diameter, protection of endothelium from redox stress, ischemia reperfusion injury and chronic inflammation. However, the precise mechanism by which it mediates these beneficial effects is complex and still remains unclear. Current evidence indicates H2S modulates cellular functions by a variety of intracellular signaling processes. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms of HHcy-induced endothelial dysfunction and the metabolism and physiological functions of H2S as a protective agent.

Curr Med Chem . 2014 21(32): 3662-3672.

Extension of Drosophila Lifespan by Rhodiola rosea Depends on Dietary Carbohydrate and Caloric Content in a Simplified Diet.

The root and rhizome extract of Rhodiola rosea has been extensively used in traditional medicine to improve physical and mental performance and to protect against stress. We, and others, have reported that R. rosea can extend lifespan in flies, worms, and yeast. We also previously found that the extract can act independently of dietary restriction (DR), a treatment that can extend lifespan in a range of model organisms. In flies, DR is implemented through a reduction in dietary yeast content. Here, we report that the ability of R. rosea extract to extend lifespan in flies is dependent on the carbohydrate and caloric content when supplemented with a simplified diet composed of yeast and sucrose. R. rosea extract elevated the sugar content in flies and down-regulated hexokinase expression, suggesting that it perturbs carbohydrate metabolism in flies. In our previous studies, bananas, barley malt, and corn syrup provided dietary carbohydrates, and R. rosea extract could extend lifespan with a range of caloric levels. We conclude that the lifespan-extending effect of R. rosea extract in flies is dependent on dietary carbohydrate and caloric contents coupled with an interaction with complex dietary components present in bananas, barley, or corn.

J Med Food . 2016 Mar; 19(3): 318-323.

Cellular senescence impact on immune cell fate and function.

Cellular senescence occurs not only in cultured fibroblasts, but also in undifferentiated and specialized cells from various tissues of all ages, in vitro and in vivo. Here, we review recent findings on the role of cellular senescence in immune cell fate decisions in macrophage polarization, natural killer cell phenotype, and following T-lymphocyte activation. We also introduce the involvement of the onset of cellular senescence in some immune responses including T-helper lymphocyte-dependent tissue homeostatic functions and T-regulatory cell-dependent suppressive mechanisms. Altogether, these data propose that cellular senescence plays a wide-reaching role as a homeostatic orchestrator.

Aging Cell . 2016 Jun; 15(3): 400-406.

Vitamin D and MS

Vitamin D and Alzheimer’s Disease: Neurocognition to Therapeutics.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the major cause of dementia worldwide, is characterized by progressive loss of memory and cognition. The sporadic form of AD accounts for nearly 90% of the patients developing this disease. The last century has witnessed significant research to identify various mechanisms and risk factors contributing to the complex etiopathogenesis of AD by analyzing postmortem AD brains and experimenting with animal and cell culture based models. However, the treatment strategies, as of now, are only symptomatic. Accumulating evidences suggested a significant association between vitamin D deficiency, dementia, and AD. This review encompasses the beneficial role of vitamin D in neurocognition and optimal brain health along with epidemiological evidence of the high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among aged and AD population. Moreover, disrupted signaling, altered utilization of vitamin D, and polymorphisms of several related genes including vitamin D receptor (VDR) also predispose to AD or AD-like neurodegeneration. This review explores the relationship between this gene-environmental influence and long term vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for development of sporadic AD along with the role and rationale of therapeutic trials with vitamin D. It is, therefore, urgently warranted to further establish the role of this potentially neuroprotective vitamin in preventing and halting progressive neurodegeneration in AD patients.

Int J Alzheimers Dis . 2015 2015: 192747.

Association of Vitamin D Levels With Multiple Sclerosis Activity and Progression in Patients Receiving Interferon Beta-1b.

IMPORTANCE: Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels are associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as with increased disease activity and rate of progression in clinically isolated syndromes and early MS. OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between 25(OH)D and disease course and prognosis in patients with relapsing-remitting MS treated with interferon beta-1b. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We conducted a prospective cohort study assessing 25(OH)D levels and subsequent MS disease course and progression characterized by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and clinical end points. The study took place between November 2003 and June 2005; data analysis was performed between June 2013 and December 2014. The study was conducted among participants in the Betaferon Efficacy Yielding Outcomes of a New Dose (BEYOND) study, a large, phase 3, prospective, multicenter, blinded, randomized clinical trial. Patients were monitored for at least 2 years. Clinic visits were scheduled every 3 months, and MRI was performed at baseline and annually thereafter. Eligible patients included 1482 participants randomized to receive 250 mug or 500 mug of interferon-1b with at least 2 measurements of 25(OH)D obtained 6 months apart. EXPOSURES: Serum 25(OH)D measurements were performed at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Main outcomes included cumulative number of new active lesions (T2 lesions and gadolinium acetate-enhancing lesions), change in normalized brain volume, relapse rate, and progression determined by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Statistical analyses were adjusted for age, sex, randomized treatment, region, disease duration, and baseline EDSS score. RESULTS: Overall, average 25(OH)D levels in 1482 patients were significantly inversely correlated with the cumulative number of new active lesions between baseline and the last MRI, with a 50.0-nmol/L increase in serum 25(OH)D levels associated with a 31% lower rate of new lesions (relative rate [RR], 0.69; 95% CI, 0.55-0.86; P = .001). The lowest rate of new lesions was observed among patients with 25(OH)D levels greater than 100.0 nmol/L (RR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.37-0.78; P = .002). No significant associations were found between 25(OH)D levels and change in brain volume, relapse rates, or EDSS scores. Results were consistent following adjustment for HLA-DRB1*15 or vitamin D-binding protein status. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among patients with MS treated with interferon beta-1b, higher 25(OH)D levels were associated with lower rates of MS activity observed on MRI. Results for brain atrophy and clinical progression were more equivocal.

JAMA Neurol . 2015 Dec; 72(12): 1458-1465.

Multiple Sclerosis: Progress, but No Cure.

Agents are approved to treat exacerbations and symptoms and as disease-modifying therapy. Most therapies in the works would address relapsing forms of the disease.

P t . 2015 Sep; 40(9): 604-605.

The cost of multiple sclerosis drugs in the US and the pharmaceutical industry: Too big to fail?

OBJECTIVE: To examine the pricing trajectories in the United States of disease-modifying therapies (DMT) for multiple sclerosis (MS) over the last 20 years and assess the influences on rising prices. METHODS: We estimated the trend in annual drug costs for 9 DMTs using published drug pricing data from 1993 to 2013. We compared changes in DMT costs to general and prescription drug inflation during the same period. We also compared the cost trajectories for first-generation MS DMTs interferon (IFN)-beta-1b, IFN-beta-1a IM, and glatiramer acetate with contemporaneously approved biologic tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. RESULTS: First-generation DMTs, originally costing $8,000 to $11,000, now cost about $60,000 per year. Costs for these agents have increased annually at rates 5 to 7 times higher than prescription drug inflation. Newer DMTs commonly entered the market with a cost 25%-60% higher than existing DMTs. Significant increases in the cost trajectory of the first-generation DMTs occurred following the Food and Drug Administration approvals of IFN-beta-1a SC (2002) and natalizumab (reintroduced 2006) and remained high following introduction of fingolimod (2010). Similar changes did not occur with TNF inhibitor biologics during these time intervals. DMT costs in the United States currently are 2 to 3 times higher than in other comparable countries. CONCLUSIONS: MS DMT costs have accelerated at rates well beyond inflation and substantially above rates observed for drugs in a similar biologic class. There is an urgent need for clinicians, payers, and manufacturers in the United States to confront the soaring costs of DMTs.

Neurology . 2015 May 26; 84(21): 2185-2192.

Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether low vitamin D concentrations are associated with an increased risk of incident all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. METHODS: One thousand six hundred fifty-eight elderly ambulatory adults free from dementia, cardiovascular disease, and stroke who participated in the US population-based Cardiovascular Health Study between 1992-1993 and 1999 were included. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry from blood samples collected in 1992-1993. Incident all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease status were assessed during follow-up using National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke/Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria. RESULTS: During a mean follow-up of 5.6 years, 171 participants developed all-cause dementia, including 102 cases of Alzheimer disease. Using Cox proportional hazards models, the multivariate adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval [CI]) for incident all-cause dementia in participants who were severely 25(OH)D deficient (<25 nmol/L) and deficient (>/=25 to <50 nmol/L) were 2.25 (95% CI: 1.23-4.13) and 1.53 (95% CI: 1.06-2.21) compared to participants with sufficient concentrations (>/=50 nmol/L). The multivariate adjusted hazard ratios for incident Alzheimer disease in participants who were severely 25(OH)D deficient and deficient compared to participants with sufficient concentrations were 2.22 (95% CI: 1.02-4.83) and 1.69 (95% CI: 1.06-2.69). In multivariate adjusted penalized smoothing spline plots, the risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease markedly increased below a threshold of 50 nmol/L. CONCLUSION: Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.

Neurology . 2014 Sep 2; 83(10): 920-928.

Vitamin D status and Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

To estimate the associations between vitamin D status and Parkinson’s disease (PD). We searched electronic databases of the human literature in PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library up to February, 2014 using the following keywords: ‘vitamin D’ or ‘25(OH)D’ and ‘status’ or ‘deficiency’ or ‘insufficiency’ and ‘Parkinson’s disease’. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted on observational studies that reported the association between blood vitamin D levels and PD. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. 1,008 patients and 4,536 controls were included. Results of our meta-analysis show that PD patients had lower mean levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] than healthy controls [weighted mean difference (MD), -16.9, 95 % confidence interval (CI)], -33.5 to -0.2). Patients with vitamin D insufficiency [25(OH)D level <75 nmol/l] had an increased risk of PD (OR 1.5, 95 % CI 1.1-2.0). Patients with vitamin D deficiency [25(OH)D level <50 nmol/l] experienced a twofold increased risk of PD (OR 2.2, 95 % CI 1.5-3.4). Low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of PD.

Neurol Sci . 2014 Nov; 35(11): 1723-1730.

A low vitamin D status at diagnosis is associated with an early conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Low circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels have been associated with an increased risk of relapses in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), but an association with disability progression is uncertain. Lower 25(OH)D levels are found in secondary progressive MS (SPMS) when compared to RRMS. We hypothesized that a poor vitamin D status in RRMS is associated with an increased risk of conversion to SPMS. In a retrospective longitudinal study we measured 25(OH)D levels at the start of a 3-year follow-up, and analyzed whether these levels predict the risk of RRMS to SPMS conversion. In 338 RRMS patients, vitamin D status did not predict the 3-year risk of conversion to SPMS (n=51; OR 0.970; p=0.65). However, in diagnostic blood samples of SPMS patients with a relatively short RRMS duration (n=19) 25(OH)D levels were significantly lower (38nmol/L; Q1-Q3: 24-50) than in diagnostic samples of matched RRMS patients with no progression to SPMS ((n=38; 55nmol/L; Q1-Q3: 40-70) (p<0.01). These data indicate an association between a low vitamin D status at the start of RRMS and the early conversion to SPMS. Therefore, time to SPMS conversion is of interest as clinical measure in (follow-up of) clinical vitamin D supplementation studies.

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol . 2015 Nov 17.

Vitamin D and neurocognitive function.

In recent years, emerging evidence has linked vitamin D not only to its known effects on calcium and bone metabolism, but also to many chronic illnesses involving neurocognitive decline. The importance of vitamin D3 in reducing the risk of these diseases continues to increase due to the fact that an increasing portion of the population in developed countries has a significant vitamin D deficiency. The older population is at an especially high risk for vitamin D deficiency due to the decreased cutaneous synthesis and dietary intake of vitamin D. Recent studies have confirmed an association between cognitive impairment, dementia, and vitamin D deficiency. There is a need for well-designed randomized trials to assess the benefits of vitamin D and lifestyle interventions in persons with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Clin Interv Aging . 2014 9: 559-568.