Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jul 2018

Phage therapy, Melatonin, Sun protection, PQQ, And Fish oil

Phage therapy, Melatonin, Sun protection, PQQ, And Fish oil

Phage therapy

Nutrient tasting and signaling mechanisms in the gut. II. The intestine as a sensory organ: neural, endocrine, and immune responses.

The lining of the gastrointestinal tract is the largest vulnerable surface that faces the external environment. Just as the other large external surface, the skin, is regarded as a sensory organ, so should the intestinal mucosa. In fact, the mucosa has three types of detectors: neurons, endocrine cells, and immune cells. The mucosa is in immediate contact with the intestinal contents so that nutrients can be efficiently absorbed, and, at the same time, it protects against the intrusion of harmful entities, such as toxins and bacteria, that may enter the digestive system with food. Signals are sent locally to control motility, secretion, tissue defense, and vascular perfusion; to other digestive organs, for example, to the stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas; and to the central nervous system, for example to influence feeding behavior. The three detecting systems in the intestine are more extensive than those of any other organ: the enteric nervous system contains on the order of 10(8) neurons, the gastroenteropancreatic endocrine system uses more than 20 identified hormones, and the gut immune system has 70- 80% of the body's immune cells. The gastrointestinal tract has an integrated response to changes in its luminal contents. When this response is maladjusted or is overwhelmed, the consequences can be severe, as in cholera intoxication, or debilitating, as in irritable bowel syndrome. Thus it is essential to obtain a full understanding of the sensory functions of the intestine, of how the body reacts to the information, and of how neural, hormonal, and immune signals interact.

Am J Physiol. 1999 Nov;277(5 Pt 1):G922-8.

Gut microbial diversity in health and disease: experience of healthy Indian subjects, and colon carcinoma and inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Background: The intestinal microbiota, through complex interactions with the gut mucosa, play a key role in the pathogenesis of colon carcinoma and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The disease condition and dietary habits both influence gut microbial diversity. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the gut microbial profile of healthy subjects and patients with colon carcinoma and IBD. Healthy subjects included 'Indian vegetarians/lactovegetarians', who eat plant produce, milk and milk products, and 'Indian non-vegetarians', who eat plant produce, milk and milk products, certain meats and fish, and the eggs of certain birds and fish. 'Indian vegetarians' are different from 'vegans', who do not eat any foods derived wholly or partly from animals, including milk products. Design: Stool samples were collected from healthy Indian vegetarians/lactovegetarians and non-vegetarians, and colon cancer and IBD patients. Clonal libraries of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) of bacteria were created from each sample. Clones were sequenced from one representative sample of each group. Approximately 500 white colonies were picked at random from each sample and 100 colonies were sequenced after amplified rDNA restriction analysis. Results: The dominant phylum from the healthy vegetarian was Firmicutes (34%), followed by Bacteroidetes (15%). The balance was reversed in the healthy non-vegetarian (Bacteroidetes 84%, Firmicutes 4%; ratio 21:1). The colon cancer and IBD patients had higher percentages of Bacteroidetes (55% in both) than Firmicutes (26% and 12%, respectively) but lower Bacteroidetes:Firmicutes ratios (3.8:1 and 2.4:1, respectively) than the healthy non-vegetarian. Bacterial phyla of Verrucomicrobiota and Actinobacteria were detected in 23% and 5% of IBD and colon patients, respectively. Conclusions: Ribosomal Database Project profiling of gut flora in this study population showed remarkable differences, with unique diversity attributed to different diets and disease conditions.

Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2017 May 19;28(1): 1322447.

Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity.

The study of the extreme limits of human lifespan may allow a better understanding of how human beings can escape, delay, or survive the most frequent age-related causes of morbidity, a peculiarity shown by long-living individuals. Longevity is a complex trait in which genetics, environment, and stochasticity concur to determine the chance to reach 100 or more years of age [1]. Because of its impact on human metabolism and immunology, the gut microbiome has been proposed as a possible determinant of healthy aging [2, 3]. Indeed, the preservation of host-microbes homeostasis can counteract inflammaging [4], intestinal permeability [5], and decline in bone and cognitive health [6, 7]. Aiming at deepening our knowledge on the relationship between the gut microbiota and a long-living host, we provide for the first time the phylogenetic microbiota analysis of semi-supercentenarians, i.e., 105-109 years old, in comparison to adults, elderly, and centenarians, thus reconstructing the longest available human microbiota trajectory along aging. We highlighted the presence of a core microbiota of highly occurring, symbiotic bacterial taxa (mostly belonging to the dominant Ruminococca-ceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Bacteroidaceae families), with a cumulative abundance decreasing along with age. Aging is characterized by an increasing abundance of subdominant species, as well as a rearrangement in their co-occurrence network. These features are maintained in longevity and extreme longevity, but peculiarities emerged, especially in semi-supercentenarians, describing changes that, even accommodating opportunistic and allochthonous bacteria, might possibly support health maintenance during aging, such as an enrichment and/or higher prevalence of health-associated groups (e.g., Akkermansia, Bifidobacterium, and Christensenellaceae).

Curr Biol. 2016 Jun 6;26(11):1480-5.

Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics: gut and beyond.

The human intestinal tract has been colonized by thousands of species of bacteria during the coevolution of man and microbes. Gut-borne microbes outnumber the total number of body tissue cells by a factor of ten. Recent metagenomic analysis of the human gut microbiota has revealed the presence of some 3.3 million genes, as compared to the mere 23 thousand genes present in the cells of the tissues in the entire human body. Evidence for various beneficial roles of the intestinal microbiota in human health and disease is expanding rapidly. Perturbation of the intestinal microbiota may lead to chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, colon cancers, gastric ulcers, cardiovascular disease, functional bowel diseases, and obesity. Restoration of the gut microbiota may be difficult to accomplish, but the use of probiotics has led to promising results in a large number of well-designed (clinical) studies. Microbiomics has spurred a dramatic increase in scientific, industrial, and public interest in probiotics and prebiotics as possible agents for gut microbiota management and control. Genomics and bioinformatics tools may allow us to establish mechanistic relationships among gut microbiota, health status, and the effects of drugs in the individual. This will hopefully provide perspectives for personalized gut microbiota management.

Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2012;2012:872716.

Understanding the role of gut microbes and probiotics in obesity: how far are we?

Obesity has been associated with structural alterations in the gut microbiota, suggesting potential causality between specific microbial taxa and this disorder. Studies in animal models have also provided evidence for plausible gut microbiota mechanisms of action underlying body weight regulation. Yet evidence identifying which specific microbes contribute to or predict obesity is not completely consistent across studies. More recently, diet has also been shown to be primarily involved in regulating the microbiota structure initially related to obesity, suggesting that the role of microbes in energy balance is under the influence of diet. Controversy over the role of components of the gut microbiota in obesity has extended to bacteria, which although weakly related to body weight in observational and human intervention studies, are of interest due to their use as probiotics. This review focuses exclusively on human observational studies and probiotic intervention trials, excluding animal studies and studies in infants at early developmental stages, since such results cannot be extrapolated to human obesity at later stages in life. In this context, evidence for relationships between the gut microbiota composition and obesity and the possible role of probiotics is reviewed, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the studies conducted to date.

Pharmacol Res. 2013 Mar;69(1):144-55.

Probiotics in the management of lung diseases.

The physiology and pathology of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts are closely related. This similarity between the two organs may underlie why dysfunction in one organ may induce illness in the other. For example, smoking is a major risk factor for COPD and IBD and increases the risk of developing Crohn's disease. Probiotics have been defined as "live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits on the host." In model systems probiotics regulate innate and inflammatory immune responses. Commonly used probiotics include lactic acid bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces, and these are often used as dietary supplements to provide a health benefit in gastrointestinal diseases including infections, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer. In this respect, probiotics probably act as immunomodulatory agents and activators of host defence pathways which suggest that they could influence disease severity and incidence at sites distal to the gut. There is increasing evidence that orally delivered probiotics are able to regulate immune responses in the respiratory system. This review provides an overview of the possible role of probiotics and their mechanisms of action in the prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases.

Mediators Inflamm. 2013;2013:751068.

Gut microbiota and metabolic syndrome.

Symbiosis is the result of the relationship between gut microbiota and human surfaces; in fact, it regulates many functions such as metabolic and protective ones. It is widely known that any changes in the microbes in gut microbiota (dysbiosis) and the regulation of mucosal and systemic host's immunity have been linked to different diseases such as metabolic syndromes and associated disorders. Recent studies report an aberrant gut microbiota and an alteration of gut microbial metabolic activities in obese subjects, with an important influence of a number of human physiological functions. Most studies suggest that diet, especially the high-fat low-fiber western-style diet, dramatically impacts on gut microbiota composition and functions in those patients with metabolic syndrome. A deeper knowledge of a specific microbiota profile associated with increased risk of metabolic disease and its subsequent modification induced by prebiotics, probiotics or targeted antibiotics will be necessary for the development of new therapeutic approaches in the treatment of metabolic disease.

Intern Emerg Med. 2013 Apr;8 Suppl 1:S11-5.


One night of sleep deprivation decreases treadmill endurance performance.

The aim was to test the hypothesis that one night of sleep deprivation will impair pre-loaded 30 min endurance performance and alter the cardio-respiratory, thermoregulatory and perceptual responses to exercise. Eleven males completed two randomised trials separated by 7 days: once after normal sleep (496 (18) min: CON) and once following 30 h without sleep (SDEP). After 30 h participants performed a 30 min pre-load at 60% [VO(2 max) followed by a 30 min self-paced treadmill distance test. Speed, RPE, core temperature (T(re)), mean skin temperature (T(sk)), heart rate (HR) and respiratory parameters VO(2 max), VCO(2), VE, RER pre-load only) were measured. Less distance (P = 0.016, d = 0.23) was covered in the distance test after SDEP (6037 (759) 95%CI 5,527 to 6,547 m) compared with CON (6,224 (818) 95%CI 5,674 to 6,773 m). SDEP did not significantly alter T(re) at rest or thermoregulatory responses during the pre-load including heat storage (0.8 degrees C) and T(sk). With the exception of raised VO(2) at 30 min on the pre-load, cardio-respiratory parameters, RPE and speed were not different between trials during the pre-load or distance test (distance test mean HR, CON 174 (12), SDEP 170 (13) beats min(-1): mean RPE, CON 14.8 (2.7), SDEP 14.9 (2.6)). In conclusion, one night of sleep deprivation decreased endurance performance with limited effect on pacing, cardio-respiratory or thermoregulatory function. Despite running less distance after sleep deprivation compared with control, participants' perception of effort was similar indicating that altered perception of effort may account for decreased endurance performance after a night without sleep.

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Sep;107(2):155-61.

Effect of shortened sleep on energy expenditure, core body temperature, and appetite: a human randomised crossover trial.

The effects of sleep restriction on energy metabolism and appetite remain controversial. We examined the effects of shortened sleep duration on energy metabolism, core body temperature (CBT), and appetite profiles. Nine healthy men were evaluated in a randomised crossover study under two conditions: a 3.5-h sleep duration and a 7-h sleep duration for three consecutive nights followed by one 7-h recovery sleep night. The subjects' energy expenditure (EE), substrate utilisation, and CBT were continually measured for 48 h using a whole-room calorimeter. The subjects completed an appetite questionnaire every hour while in the calorimeter. Sleep restriction did not affect total EE or substrate utilisation. The 48-h mean CBT decreased significantly during the 3.5-h sleep condition compared with the 7-h sleep condition (7-h sleep, 36.75 ± 0.11 °C; 3.5-h sleep, 36.68 ± 0.14 °C; p = 0.016). After three consecutive nights of sleep restriction, fasting peptide YY levels and fullness were significantly decreased (p = 0.011), whereas hunger and prospective food consumption were significantly increased, compared to those under the 7-h sleep condition. Shortened sleep increased appetite by decreasing gastric hormone levels, but did not affect EE, suggesting that greater caloric intake during a shortened sleep cycle increases the risk of weight gain.

Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 10;7:39640.

Cues of fatigue: effects of sleep deprivation on facial appearance.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To investigate the facial cues by which one recognizes that someone is sleep deprived versus not sleep deprived. DESIGN: Experimental laboratory study. SETTING: Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. PARTICIPANTS: Forty observers (20 women, mean age 25 ± 5 y) rated 20 facial photographs with respect to fatigue, 10 facial cues, and sadness. The stimulus material consisted of 10 individuals (five women) photographed at 14:30 after normal sleep and after 31 h of sleep deprivation following a night with 5 h of sleep. MEASUREMENTS: Ratings of fatigue, fatigue-related cues, and sadness in facial photographs. RESULTS: The faces of sleep deprived individuals were perceived as having more hanging eyelids, redder eyes, more swollen eyes, darker circles under the eyes, paler skin, more wrinkles/fine lines, and more droopy corners of the mouth (effects ranging from b = +3 ± 1 to b = +15 ± 1 mm on 100-mm visual analog scales, P < 0.01). The ratings of fatigue were related to glazed eyes and to all the cues affected by sleep deprivation (P < 0.01). Ratings of rash/eczema or tense lips were not significantly affected by sleep deprivation, nor associated with judgements of fatigue. In addition, sleep-deprived individuals looked sadder than after normal sleep, and sadness was related to looking fatigued (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The results show that sleep deprivation affects features relating to the eyes, mouth, and skin, and that these features function as cues of sleep loss to other people. Because these facial regions are important in the communication between humans, facial cues of sleep deprivation and fatigue may carry social consequences for the sleep deprived individual in everyday life.

Sleep. 2013 Sep 1;36(9):1355-60.

Sleep disturbances and depression in the elderly in Japan.

These investigations in the Japanese elderly were carried out with the Geriatric Depression Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and questions on restless legs syndrome and nocturnal eating disorder. A total of 2,023 people (male: 1008; female: 1,015; average age: 74.2 +/- 6.3 years) were analyzed by chi2 test and simple and multiple logistic regression. The prevalence of sleep disturbance was 37.3% and that of depression was 31.3%. Female gender and/or older (> or =75 years) age were significantly associated with depression. Characteristics in depressive elderly were poor sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances due to difficulty of initiating sleep (DIS), breathing discomfort, coldness and pain, poor subjective sleep quality and lack of enthusiasm for activities. Sleep disturbances due to using the bathroom, breathing discomfort and coldness and long sleep latency were associated with depression in younger (65-74 years) men. Sleep disturbance due to DIS was associated with depression in older (> or =75 years) men. Sleep disturbance due to pain was associated with depression in younger and older women. Poor sleep efficiency was associated with depression in older women. Poor subjective sleep quality was associated with depression in younger and older men and younger women. Lack of enthusiasm was associated with depression in younger and older men and older women. Restless legs syndrome was statistically significantly associated with depression in younger men. It is concluded that sleep disturbance and depression among the Japanese elderly are closely related symptoms. The features of sleep disturbance with depression differed with sex and age.

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003 Jun;57(3):265-70.

Retardation of brain aging by chronic treatment with melatonin.

Slowing the functional decline in the aging brain is not only relevant to nonpathological senescence but also to a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases. Although disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are not found in the young adult, they gradually manifest with increasing age. AD, in particular, is an increasing major public health concern as the population ages; therapies that delay disease onset will markedly reduce overall disease prevalence. Aging of the brain has been repeatedly associated with cumulative oxidative damage to macromolecules and to abnormal levels of inflammatory activity. Melatonin has attained increasing prominence as a candidate for ameliorating these changes occurring during senescence. Recent research has focused on supplementation with dietary melatonin designed to elucidate the specific key intracellular targets of age-related inflammatory events, and the optimal means of affording protection of these targets. This report summarizes the progress made in this area.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1035:197-215.

Does melatonin help save dopaminergic cells in MPTP-treated mice?

This study explores whether melatonin neuroprotects dopaminergic cells of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) from degeneration in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated mice (well-known animal model of Parkinson disease). BALB/c albino mice were divided into four experimental groups. In each, mice received three series (over a 24-h period) of two intraperitoneal injections (1h apart) in different combinations. The different groups and their combinations of injections were: (1) Saline (saline, saline); (2) Mel (melatonin, saline); (3) MPTP (saline, MPTP); (4) Mel-MPTP (melatonin, MPTP). Six days after the last injection, all mice were perfused transcardially with aldehyde fixative. Brains were processed for routine tyrosine hydroxylase (TH; rate limiting enzyme for dopamine production) immunochemistry and Nissl staining. Our results - using unbiased stereology - showed that there were more TH(+) (50%) and Nissl-stained (30%) cells in the SNc of the Mel-MPTP group compared to the MPTP group, indicating a clear saving or neuroprotection of these cells. In fact, we found no significant difference between the number of TH(+) and Nissl-stained SNc cells in the Mel-MPTP group compared to the controls, namely Saline and Mel groups. This indicated that melatonin pre-treatment potentially neuroprotected all the SNc cells from MPTP toxicity and death.

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2009 May;15(4): 307-14.

Melatonin inhibits 6-hydroxydopamine production in the brain to protect against experimental parkinsonism in rodents.

We tested the hypothesis that melatonin regulates formation of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) in the brain and thereby protects animals from dopaminergic neurotoxicity and the development of parkinsonism in animals. Employing a ferrous-ascorbate-dopamine (FAD) hydroxyl radical ((*)OH) generating system, in the present study we demonstrate a dose-dependent attenuation of 6-OHDA generation by melatonin in vitro. Intra-median forebrain bundle infusion of FAD caused significant depletion of striatal dopamine (DA), which was blocked by melatonin. Per-oral administration of l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) for 7 days caused a dose-dependent increase in the formation of 6-OHDA in the mouse striatum, which was increased synergistically by the systemic administration of the parkinsonian neurotoxin, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) on the 7th day of L-DOPA treatment. Melatonin treatment significantly attenuated both the L-DOPA and MPTP-induced increases in the levels of striatal 6-OHDA, and protected against striatal DA depletion caused by the neurotoxin. These observations suggest a novel mode of melatonin-induced dopaminergic neuroprotection in two models of Parkinson's disease, and suggest the possible therapeutic use of this well-known antioxidant indoleamine neurohormone in parkinsonism.

J Pineal Res. 2009 Nov;47(4):293-300.

Sun protection

Oral nicotinamide protects against ultraviolet radiation-induced immunosuppression in humans.

Cutaneous immunity, which is a key defence against the development of skin cancers, is suppressed by even small doses of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Preventing this UV-induced immunosuppression may therefore reduce the incidence of skin cancer. Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) has immune-protective and cancer-preventive effects against UV radiation in mice, and we have shown previously that topical nicotinamide is immune protective in humans. Using the Mantoux model of skin immunity in healthy volunteers, we compared oral nicotinamide to placebo (both administered for 1 week) in a randomized, double-blinded, crossover design against the effects of solar-simulated ultraviolet (ssUV) radiation on delayed-type hypersensitivity to tuberculin purified protein derivative. Discrete areas of the back were irradiated with low doses of ssUV daily for three consecutive days. Immunosuppression, calculated as the difference in Mantoux-induced erythema of irradiated sites compared with unirradiated control sites, was determined in volunteers taking oral nicotinamide and placebo. Significant immunosuppression occurred in an UV dose-dependent manner in the presence of placebo. Oral nicotinamide, at doses of either 1,500 or 500 mg daily, was well tolerated and significantly reduced UV immunosuppression with no immune effects in unirradiated skin. Oral nicotinamide is safe and inexpensive and looks promising as a chemopreventive supplement for reducing the immunosuppressive effects of sunlight.

Carcinogenesis. 2009 Jan;30(1):101-5.

Vitamin B Derivative (Nicotinamide)Appears to Reduce Skin Cancer Risk.

Nicotinamide, an amide form of vitamin B3, has shown the potential to treat a variety of dermatological conditions, including acne, rosacea, and atopic dermatitis. Recent studies have demonstrated the role of nicotinamide, in both topical and oral forms, as a chemopreventive agent against skin cancer. Its anti-carcinogenic role may be due to its ability to enhance DNA repair and prevent ultraviolet (UV)-induced immunosuppression, which is known to contribute to the progression of pre-malignant lesions. Furthermore, nicotinamide is a precursor of essential coenzymes for many important reactions in the body, including the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). NAD is a key coenzyme in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which transports chemical energy within cells. Therefore, nicotinamide plays a significant role in supporting energy-dependent cellular processes, including DNA repair.

Skin Therapy Lett. 2017 Sep;22(5):1-4.

Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases UV-induced Cox-2 expression and inflammation, enhances DNA repair, and decreases mutagenesis in hairless mice.

UV-irradiated skin and UV-induced tumors overexpress the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2), and Cox-2 inhibition reduces photocarcinogenesis. To evaluate photoprotective effects of Polypodium leucotomos extract (PL), hairless Xpc(+/-) mice were fed for 10 days with PL (300 mg/kg) or vehicle then UV-irradiated, once. By 24 hours, UV-induced Cox-2 levels were increased in vehicle-fed and PL-fed mice, whereas by 48 and 72 hours, Cox-2 levels were four- to fivefold lower in PL-fed mice (P < 0.05). p53 expression/activity was increased in PL-fed versus vehicle-fed then UV-irradiated mice. UV-induced inflammation was decreased in PL-fed mice, as shown by approximately 60% decrease (P < 0.001) in neutrophil infiltration at 24 hours, and macrophages by approximately 50% (<0.02) at 24 and 48 hours. By 72 hours, 54 +/- 5% cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers remained in vehicle-fed versus 31 +/- 5% in PL-fed skin (P < 0.003). The number of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine-positive cells were decreased before UV irradiation by approximately 36% (P < 0.01), suggesting that PL reduces constitutive oxidative DNA damage. By 6 and 24 hours, the number of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine-positive cells were approximately 59% (P < 0.01) and approximately 79% (P < 0.03) lower in PL-fed versus vehicle-fed mice. Finally, UV-induced mutations in PL-fed-mice were decreased by approximately 25% when assessed 2 weeks after the single UV exposure. These data demonstrate that PL extract supplementation affords the following photoprotective effects: p53 activation and reduction of acute inflammation via Cox-2 enzyme inhibition, increased cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer removal, and reduction of oxidative DNA damage.

Am J Pathol. 2009 Nov;175(5):1952-61.

Beneficial regulation of matrixmetalloproteinases and their inhibitors, fibrillar collagens and transforming growth factor-beta by Polypodium leucotomos, directly or in dermal fibroblasts, ultraviolet radiated fibroblasts, and melanoma cells.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) that gives tissue its structural integrity is remodeled in skin aging/photoaging and cancer via the increased expression/activities of matrixmetalloproteinases (MMP), inhibition of the tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMP), or inhibition of collagen synthesis. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), a predominant regulator of the ECM, is inhibited in aging/photoaging and stimulated in carcinogenesis. P. leucotomos (fern) extract has potential to counteract these alterations via its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties. The goal of this research was to determine the efficacy of P. leucotomos to (a) directly inhibit MMP-1, 2, 3, and 9 activities, (b) inhibit MMP-2, and stimulate TIMPs, fibrillar collagens and TGF-beta in non-irradiated or ultraviolet (UV) radiated fibroblasts, and (c) inhibit MMPs and TGF-beta, and stimulate TIMPs in melanoma cells. To this purpose, we examined the direct effect of P. leucotomos (0-1%) on MMPs' activities, and its effects on the expression (protein and/or transcription levels) of (1) MMPs and TIMPs in dermal fibroblasts, and melanoma cells, (2) TGF-beta in non-irradiated, UVA (2.5 J/cm2) or UVB (2.5 mJ/cm2) irradiated fibroblasts, and melanoma cells, and (3) types I, III, and V collagen in non-irradiated or UV irradiated fibroblasts. P. leucotomos directly inhibited the activities of MMPs as well as the expression of MMPs in fibroblasts, and melanoma cells while stimulating the expression of TIMPs in these cells. P. leucotomos stimulated types I, III, and V collagen in non-irradiated fibroblasts, and types I and V collagen in UV radiated fibroblasts. P. leucotomos had predominant stimulatory effects on TGF-beta expression in non-irradiated or UV radiated fibroblasts, and inhibited TGF-beta expression in melanoma cells. The effects of P. leucotomos were largely similar to that of ascorbic acid. P. leucotomos demonstrated dual protective effects on the ECM via its inhibition of the ECM proteolytic enzymes and the stimulation of the structural ECM collagens. The effects of P. leucotomos on fibroblasts and melanoma cells may be partly via its cell-specific regulation of TGF-beta expression and partly via its antioxidant property. The intake or topical application of P. leucotomos may be beneficial to skin health, in aging and cancer prevention or treatment.

Arch Dermatol Res. 2009 Aug;301(7):487-95.

Matrix metalloproteinase degradation of elastin, type IV collagen and proteoglycan. A quantitative comparison of the activities of 95 kDa and 72 kDa gelatinases, stromelysins-1 and -2 and punctuated metalloproteinase (PUMP).

The abilities of the matrix metalloproteinases 95 kDa and 72 kDa gelatinases (type IV collagenases), stromelysins-1 and -2 and punctuated metalloproteinase (PUMP) to degrade insoluble elastin, type IV collagen films and proteoglycan have been compared. The gelatinases and PUMP were markedly more active in the degradation of elastin than were the stromelysins. PUMP and the stromelysins were more potent proteoglycan-degrading enzymes. All of the enzymes studied degraded soluble native type IV collagen, but the gelatinases were more effective at higher temperatures. These quantitative data allow an analysis of the potential relative roles of these metalloproteinases in the breakdown of the key components of connective tissue matrices.

Biochem J. 1991 Jul 1;277 ( Pt 1):277-9.

Non-melanoma skin cancer: carcinogenesis and chemoprevention.

Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is by far the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Australia, and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the primary cause. Both UVB and UVA radiation have been shown to cause DNA damage and immunosuppression, the important forms of biological damage that lead to NMSC. The DNA of keratinocytes absorbs UV radiation and produces photolesions such as cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs). UV absorption by other chromophores results in the production of reactive oxygen species which cause oxidative damage to DNA such as 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8oxoG). These photolesions can then, if not correctly repaired, lead to signature mutations. Reactive oxygen species also cause receptor activation and damage lipids and proteins. UV also deprives cells of adenosine triphosphate, and causes inflammation and cell cycle dysregulation. UV radiation has been shown to exert potent immunosuppressive effects on the skin through a number of molecular and cellular mechanisms. Many tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes have been studied and implicated in photocarcinogenesis, particularly p53, PTCH1, BRM and RAS. Clinical observations, histological analysis, as well as molecular and cytogenetic studies have shown actinic keratoses (AKs) and Bowen's disease (BD) to be precursors of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Keratoacanthomas (KAs), a type of SCC, and AKs have frequently been observed to regress. Sun protective measures and sunscreens can reduce the incidence of NMSCs, although their effectiveness is limited by non-compliance. A large number of chemopreventive agents have been investigated, but to date none has been found to be clinically useful except within selected high risk groups. Therefore, further research is urgently required to find an ideal chemopreventive agent that is effective, safe, accessible and convenient.

Pathology. 2013 Apr;45(3):331-41.

A Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin-Cancer Chemoprevention.

BACKGROUND: Nonmelanoma skin cancers, such as basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma, are common cancers that are caused principally by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) has been shown to have protective effects against damage caused by UV radiation and to reduce the rate of new premalignant actinic keratoses. METHODS: In this phase 3, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, we randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, 386 participants who had had at least two nonmelanoma skin cancers in the previous 5 years to receive 500 mg of nicotinamide twice daily or placebo for 12 months. Participants were evaluated by dermatologists at 3-month intervals for 18 months. The primary end point was the number of new nonmelanoma skin cancers (i.e., basal-cell carcinomas plus squamous-cell carcinomas) during the 12-month intervention period. Secondary end points included the number of new squamous-cell carcinomas and basal-cell carcinomas and the number of actinic keratoses during the 12-month intervention period, the number of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the 6-month postintervention period, and the safety of nicotinamide. RESULTS: At 12 months, the rate of new nonmelanoma skin cancers was lower by 23% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4 to 38) in the nicotinamide group than in the placebo group (P=0.02). Similar differences were found between the nicotinamide group and the placebo group with respect to new basal-cell carcinomas (20% [95% CI, -6 to 39] lower rate with nicotinamide, P=0.12) and new squamous-cell carcinomas (30% [95% CI, 0 to 51] lower rate, P=0.05). The number of actinic keratoses was 11% lower in the nicotinamide group than in the placebo group at 3 months (P=0.01), 14% lower at 6 months (P<0.001), 20% lower at 9 months (P<0.001), and 13% lower at 12 months (P=0.001). No noteworthy between-group differences were found with respect to the number or types of adverse events during the 12-month intervention period, and there was no evidence of benefit after nicotinamide was discontinued. CONCLUSIONS: Oral nicotinamide was safe and effective in reducing the rates of new nonmelanoma skin cancers and actinic keratoses in high-risk patients

N Engl J Med. 2015 Oct 22;373(17):1618-26.

Formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers at dipyrimidines containing 5-hydroxy-methylcytosine.

Much of the cancer-causing effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun have been linked to the formation of dimerized DNA bases. These dimeric DNA photoproducts include the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and the pyrimidine(6-4)pyrimidone photoproducts [(6-4)PPs]. CPDs are highly mutagenic and are produced in substantial quantities by UVB radiation. These dimers can form between any two adjacent pyrimidines and can involve thymine, cytosine, or 5-methylcytosine. Very recently, a sixth DNA base, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) has been identified and characterized as a normal component of mammalian DNA. Here, we investigated the formation of CPDs at different DNA sequences containing 5hmC following irradiation with UVA, UVB, or UVC light sources. We show that the formation of CPDs at dipyrimidines containing 5hmC occurs at different DNA sequences but is not enhanced relative to cytosine or 5-methylcytosines at the same sequence positions. In fact, in some sequence contexts, CPDs containing 5hmC are formed at very low levels. Nonetheless, CPD formation at 5hmC pyrimidines is expected to be biologically relevant since three types of human skin-derived cells, fibroblasts, keratinocytes and melanocytes, all contain detectable levels of this modified base.

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2013 Aug;12(8): 1409-15.


Effect of the Antioxidant Supplement Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium Salt (BioPQQ™) on Cognitive Functions.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a quinone compound first identified in 1979. It has been reported that rats fed a PQQ-supplemented diet showed better learning ability than controls, suggesting that PQQ may be useful for improving memory in humans. In the present study, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study to examine the effect of PQQ disodium salt (BioPQQ™) on cognitive functions was conducted with 41 elderly healthy subjects. Subjects were orally given 20 mg of BioPQQ™ per day or placebo, for 12 weeks. For cognitive functions, selective attention by the Stroop and reverse Stroop test, and visual-spatial cognitive function by the laptop tablet Touch M, were evaluated. In the Stroop test, the change of Stroop interference ratios (SIs) for the PQQ group was significantly smaller than for the placebo group. In the Touch M test, the stratification analyses dividing each group into two groups showed that only in the lower group of the PQQ group (initial score<70), did the score significantly increase. Measurements of physiological parameters indicated no abnormal blood or urinary adverse events, nor adverse internal or physical examination findings at any point in the study. The preliminary experiment using near-infrared spectrometry (NIRS) suggests that cerebral blood flow in the prefrontal cortex was increased by the administration of PQQ. The results suggest that PQQ can prevent reduction of brain function in aged persons, especially in attention and working memory.

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;876:319-325.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in cultured neural stem and progenitor cells.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), as a well-known redox enzyme cofactor, has been proven to play important roles in the regulation of cellular growth and development in mammals. Numerous physiological and medicinal functions of PQQ have so far been reported although its effect on neural stem and progenitor cells (NS/PCs) and the potential mechanism were even rarely investigated. In this study, the neuroprotective effects of PQQ were observed by pretreatment of NS/PCs with PQQ before glutamate injury, and the possible mechanisms were examined. PQQ stimulated cell proliferation and markedly attenuated glutamate-induced cell damage in a dose-dependent manner. By observing the nuclear morphological changes and flow cytometric analysis, PQQ pretreatment showed its significant effect on protecting NS/PCs against glutamate-induced apoptosis/necrosis. PQQ neuroprotection was associated with the decrease of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, the increase of glutathione (GSH) levels, and the decrease of caspase-3 activity. In addition, pretreatment with PQQ also significantly enhanced the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in the NS/PCs exposed to glutamate. These results suggest that PQQ can protect NS/PCs against glutamate toxicity associated with ROS-mediated mitochondrial pathway, indicating a useful chemical for the clinical application of NS/PCs.

Int J Dev Neurosci. 2015 May;42:37-45.

Metals and neurodegenerative diseases. A systematic review.

Neurodegenerative processes encompass a large variety of diseases with different pathological patterns and clinical presentation such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer Disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Genetic mutations have a known causative role, but the majority of cases are likely to be probably caused by a complex gene-environment interaction. Exposure to metals has been hypothesized to increase oxidative stress in brain cells leading to cell death and neurodegeneration. Neurotoxicity of metals has been demonstrated by several in vitro and in vivo experimental studies and it is likely that each metal could be toxic through specific pathways. The possible pathogenic role of different metals has been supported by some epidemiological evidences coming from occupational and ecological studies. In order to assess the possible association between metals and neurodegenerative disorders, several case-control studies have also been carried out evaluating the metals concentration in different biological specimens such as blood/serum/plasma, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), nail and hair, often reporting conflicting results. This review provides an overview of our current knowledge on the possible association between metals and ALS, AD and PD as main neurodegenerative disorders.

Environ Res. 2017 Nov;159:82-94.

Beyond Guam: the cyanobacteria/BMAA hypothesis of the cause of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Excitement about neurogenetics in the last two decades has diverted attention from environmental causes of sporadic ALS. Fifty years ago endemic foci of ALS with a frequency one hundred times that in the rest of the world attracted attention since they offered the possibility of finding the cause for non-endemic ALS throughout the world. Research on Guam suggested that ALS, Parkinson's disease and dementia (the ALS/PDC complex) was due to a neurotoxic non-protein amino acid, beta-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), in the seeds of the cycad Cycas micronesica. Recent discoveries that found that BMAA is produced by symbiotic cyanobacteria within specialized roots of the cycads; that the concentration of protein-bound BMAA is up to a hundred-fold greater than free BMAA in the seeds and flour; that various animals forage on the seeds (flying foxes, pigs, deer), leading to biomagnification up the food chain in Guam; and that protein-bound BMAA occurs in the brains of Guamanians dying of ALS/PDC (average concentration 627 microg/g, 5 mM) but not in control brains have rekindled interest in BMAA as a possible trigger for Guamanian ALS/PDC. Perhaps most intriguing is the finding that BMAA is present in brain tissues of North American patients who had died of Alzheimer's disease (average concentration 95 microg/g, 0.8mM); this suggests a possible etiological role for BMAA in non-Guamanian neurodegenerative diseases. Cyanobacteria are ubiquitous throughout the world, so it is possible that all humans are exposed to low amounts of cyanobacterial BMAA, that protein-bound BMAA in human brains is a reservoir for chronic neurotoxicity, and that cyanobacterial BMAA is a major cause of progressive neurodegenerative diseases including ALS worldwide. Though Montine et al., using different HPLC method and assay techniques from those used by Cox and colleagues, were unable to reproduce the findings of Murch et al., Mash and colleagues using the original techniques of Murch et al. have recently confirmed the presence of protein-bound BMAA in the brains of North American patients dying with ALS and Alzheimer's disease (concentrations >100 microg/g) but not in the brains of non-neurological controls or Huntington's disease. We hypothesize that individuals who develop neurodegenerations may have a genetic susceptibility because of inability to prevent BMAA accumulation in brain proteins and that the particular pattern of neurodegeneration that develops depends on the polygenic background of the individual.

Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2009;10 Suppl 2:7-20.

Mitochondria: more than just a powerhouse.

Pioneering biochemical studies have long forged the concept that the mitochondria are the 'energy powerhouse of the cell'. These studies, combined with the unique evolutionary origin of the mitochondria, led the way to decades of research focusing on the organelle as an essential, yet independent, functional component of the cell. Recently, however, our conceptual view of this isolated organelle has been profoundly altered with the discovery that mitochondria function within an integrated reticulum that is continually remodeled by both fusion and fission events. The identification of a number of proteins that regulate these activities is beginning to provide mechanistic details of mitochondrial membrane remodeling. However, the broader question remains regarding the underlying purpose of mitochondrial dynamics and the translation of these morphological transitions into altered functional output. One hypothesis has been that mitochondrial respiration and metabolism may be spatially and temporally regulated by the architecture and positioning of the organelle. Recent evidence supports and expands this idea by demonstrating that mitochondria are an integral part of multiple cell signaling cascades. Interestingly, proteins such as GTPases, kinases and phosphatases are involved in bi-directional communication between the mitochondrial reticulum and the rest of the cell. These proteins link mitochondrial function and dynamics to the regulation of metabolism, cell-cycle control, development, antiviral responses and cell death. In this review we will highlight the emerging evidence that provides molecular definition to mitochondria as a central platform in the execution of diverse cellular events.

Curr Biol. 2006 Jul 25;16(14):R551-60.

Fish oil

Marine omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: Effects, mechanisms and clinical relevance.

Inflammation is a condition which contributes to a range of human diseases. It involves a multitude of cell types, chemical mediators, and interactions. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids found in oily fish and fish oil supplements. These fatty acids are able to partly inhibit a number of aspects of inflammation including leukocyte chemotaxis, adhesion molecule expression and leukocyte-endothelial adhesive interactions, production of eicosanoids like prostaglandins and leukotrienes from the n-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, production of inflammatory cytokines, and T-helper 1 lymphocyte reactivity. In addition, EPA gives rise to eicosanoids that often have lower biological potency than those produced from arachidonic acid and EPA and DHA give rise to anti-inflammatory and inflammation resolving mediators called resolvins, protectins and maresins. Mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory actions of marine n-3 fatty acids include altered cell membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition, disruption of lipid rafts, inhibition of activation of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B so reducing expression of inflammatory genes, activation of the anti-inflammatory transcription factor peroxisome proliferator activated receptor g and binding to the G protein coupled receptor GPR120. These mechanisms are interlinked, although the full extent of this is not yet elucidated. Animal experiments demonstrate benefit from marine n-3 fatty acids in models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and asthma. Clinical trials of fish oil in RA demonstrate benefit, but clinical trials of fish oil in IBD and asthma are inconsistent with no overall clear evidence of efficacy. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Oxygenated metabolism of PUFA: analysis and biological relevance".

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Apr;1851(4):469-84.

Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man.

Inappropriate, excessive or uncontrolled inflammation contributes to a range of human diseases. Inflammation involves a multitude of cell types, chemical mediators and interactions. The present article will describe nutritional and metabolic aspects of omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids and explain the roles of bioactive members of those fatty acid families in inflammatory processes. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are n-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and fish oil supplements. These fatty acids are capable of partly inhibiting many aspects of inflammation including leucocyte chemotaxis, adhesion molecule expression and leucocyte-endothelial adhesive interactions, production of eicosanoids like prostaglandins and leukotrienes from the n-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, EPA gives rise to eicosanoids that often have lower biological potency than those produced from arachidonic acid, and EPA and DHA give rise to anti-inflammatory and inflammation resolving mediators called resolvins, protectins and maresins. Mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory actions of EPA and DHA include altered cell membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition, disruption of lipid rafts, inhibition of activation of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor kB so reducing expression of inflammatory genes and activation of the anti-inflammatory transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor g. Animal experiments demonstrate benefit from EPA and DHA in a range of models of inflammatory conditions. Human trials demonstrate benefit of oral n-3 fatty acids in rheumatoid arthritis and in stabilizing advanced atherosclerotic plaques. Intravenous n-3 fatty acids may have benefits in critically ill patients through reduced inflammation. The anti-inflammatory and inflammation resolving actions of EPA, DHA and their derivatives are of clinical relevance.

Biochem Soc Trans. 2017 Oct 15;45(5):1105-1115

Emerging importance of omega-3 fatty acids in the innate immune response: molecular mechanisms and lipidomic strategies for their analysis.

The beneficial health properties of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have long been known and their metabolic dysfunction has been linked to a range of diseases including various inflammatory disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying their health benefits have remained unclear. Recent technological advances in lipidomic analytical strategies have resulted in the discovery of a range of bioactive mediators derived from EPA and DHA that possess potent anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving properties and that may be responsible, at least in part, for the beneficial effects observed. These mediators include resolvins, protectins and maresins, as well as EPA derivatives of classical arachidonic acid derived eicosanoids, such as prostaglandin E3 . The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the biosynthetic pathways and biological properties of these omega-3 mediators, with a particular focus on the emerging importance of the counter-regulatory role of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in the spatial and temporal regulation of the inflammatory response. It will also provide an insight into a range of lipidomic approaches, which are currently available to analyse these fatty acids and their metabolites in biological matrices.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Aug;57(8):1390-400.

Review of Cardiometabolic Effects of Prescription Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Populations with significant dietary fish intake tend to have lower cardiovascular (CV) risk and demonstrable physiologic differences including lower lipid/lipoprotein levels and other direct and indirect effects on the arterial wall and inhibiting factors that promote atherosclerosis. Treatment with high doses of pharmacologic-grade omega-3 fatty acid (n-3FA) supplements achieves significant reductions in triglycerides (TG), non-high-density lipoprotein- (non-HDL-) and TG-rich lipoprotein- (TRL-) cholesterol levels. n-3FA supplements have significant effects on markers of atherosclerosis risk including endothelial function, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, cellular and humoral markers of inflammation, hemodynamic factors, and plaque stabilization. This review summarizes the lipid and cardiometabolic effects of prescription-grade n-3FAs and will discuss clinical trials, national/organizational guidelines, and expert opinion on the impact of supplemental n-3FAs on CV health and disease. RECENT FINDINGS: Clinical trial evidence supports use of n-3FAs in individuals with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), but the data either does not support or is lacking for other types of cardiometabolic risk including prevention of stroke, treatment in patients with heart failure, diabetes mellitus and prediabetes, and for primary prevention in the general population. Despite inconsistent findings to support widespread benefit, there is persistent population-wide enthusiasm for n-3FA as a dietary supplement for its cardiometabolic benefits. Fortunately, there are ongoing clinical trials to assess whether the lipid/lipoprotein benefits may be extended to other at-risk populations and whether lower-dose therapy may provide background benefit for primary prevention of ASCVD.

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2017 Nov 7;19(12):60.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for cardiovascular diseases: present, past and future.

Large-scale epidemiological studies on Greenlandic, Canadian and Alaskan Eskimos have examined the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids consumed as part of the diet, and found statistically significant relative reduction in cardiovascular risk in people consuming omega-3 fatty acids. Areas covered: This article reviews studies on omega-3 fatty acids during the last 50 years, and identifies issues relevant to future studies on cardiovascular (CV) risk. Expert commentary: Although a meta-analysis of large-scale prospective cohort studies and randomized studies reported that fish and fish oil consumption reduced coronary heart disease-related mortality and sudden cardiac death, omega-3 fatty acids have not yet been shown to be effective in secondary prevention trials on patients with multiple cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. The ongoing long-term CV interventional outcome studies investigate high-dose, prescription-strength omega-3 fatty acids. The results are expected to clarify the potential role of omega-3 fatty acids in reducing CV risk. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids are also important. Future clinical trials should also focus on the role of these anti-inflammatory mediators in human arteriosclerotic diseases as well as inflammatory diseases.

Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2017 Aug;10(8): 865-873.