Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jan 2019

Magnesium, CoQ10, Milk thistle, Cognitive function, and Carnosine


The effects of magnesium nanovesicle formulations on spatial memory performance in mice.

AIM: The study investigates the effects of magnesium nanovesicles on the memory processes performance in mice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: L-a-phosphatidylcholine was used to obtain nano formulations as lipid vesicles systems stabilized thereafter with chitosan. The experiment was carried out on white Swiss mice, divided into 3 groups of 7 animals each, treated orally 7 consecutive days: Group I (Control): 0.1 mL/10g distilled water; Group II (Mg): 1 mmol/kbw magnesium chloride; Group III (Mg-vesicles): 1 mmol/kbw magnesium nanovesicles. The spatial memory performance was assessed by recording spontaneous alternation behavior in Y-maze test. Each animal was placed at the end of one arm and allowed to move freely through the maze during a single 8 min session. Alternation was defined as a consecutive entry in three different arms. The alternation percentage was computed according to the formula: (number of alternations/total number of arm visits--2) x 100. Data were analyzed using SPSS 17.0 software. Experimental protocols were implemented according to the recommendations of the University Committee for Research and Ethical Issues. RESULTS: New carrier formulations entrapping magnesium chloride were designed: their mean size was 129.56 nm and the mean Zeta potential was +36.1 mV, indicating a moderate stability of the solution. Oral administration of magnesium vesicles resulted in a significant increase of spontaneous alternation percent in Y-maze test (p < 0.01), which suggests an improvement of short-term memory. CONCLUSIONS: Using magnesium chloride entrapped in lipid vesicles induced an enhancement of cognitive functions in mice especially by facilitation of learning extinction.

Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2014 Jul-Sep; 118(3):847-53.

Efficacy and Safety of MMFS-01, a Synapse Density Enhancer, for Treating Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairment is a major problem in elderly, affecting quality of life. Pre-clinical studies show that MMFS-01, a synapse density enhancer, is effective at reversing cognitive decline in aging rodents. OBJECTIVE: Since brain atrophy during aging is strongly associated with both cognitive decline and sleep disorder, we evaluated the efficacy of MMFS-01 in its ability to reverse cognitive impairment and improve sleep. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-designed trial in older adult subjects (age 50-70) with cognitive impairment. Subjects were treated with MMFS-01 (n = 23) or placebo (n = 21) for 12 weeks and cognitive ability, sleep quality, and emotion were evaluated. Overall cognitive ability was determined by a composite score of tests in four major cognitive domains. RESULTS: With MMFS-01 treatment, overall cognitive ability improved significantly relative to placebo (p = 0.003; Cohen’s d = 0.91). Cognitive fluctuation was also reduced. The study population had more severe executive function deficits than age-matched controls from normative data and MMFS-01 treatment nearly restored their impaired executive function, demonstrating that MMFS-01 may be clinically significant. Due to the strong placebo effects on sleep and anxiety, the effects of MMFS-01 on sleep and anxiety could not be determined. CONCLUSIONS: The current study demonstrates the potential of MMFS-01 for treating cognitive impairment in older adults.

J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;49(4):971-90. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150538.

Risk factors for behavioral abnormalities in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease.

BACKGROUND: Behavioral symptoms are common in both mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). METHODS: We analyzed the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire data of 3,456 MCI and 2,641 mild AD National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database participants. Using factor analysis and logistic regression we estimated the effects of age, sex, race, education, Mini-Mental State Examination, functional impairment, marital status and family history on the presence of behavioral symptoms. We also compared the observed prevalence of behavioral symptoms between amnestic and nonamnestic MCI. RESULTS: Four factors were identified: affective behaviors (depression, apathy and anxiety); distress/tension behaviors (irritability and agitation); impulse control behaviors (disinhibition, elation and aberrant motor behavior), and psychotic behaviors (delusions and hallucinations). Male gender was significantly associated with all factors. Younger age was associated with a higher prevalence of distress/tension, impulse control and psychotic behaviors. Being married was protective against psychotic behaviors. Lower education was associated with the presence of distress/tension behaviors. Caucasians showed a higher prevalence of affective behaviors. Functional impairment was strongly associated with all behavioral abnormalities. Amnestic MCI patients had more elation and agitation relative to nonamnestic MCI patients. CONCLUSIONS: Younger age, male gender and greater functional impairment were associated with higher overall presence of behavioral abnormalities in MCI and mild AD. Marital status, lower education and race had an effect on selected behaviors.

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2014;37(5-6): 315-26.

Prognosis of mild cognitive impairment in general practice: results of the German AgeCoDe study.

PURPOSE: The concept of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has recently been introduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as mild neurocognitive disorder, making it a formal diagnosis. We investigated the prognostic value of such a diagnosis and analyzed the determinants of the future course of MCI in the AgeCoDe study (German Study on Ageing, Cognition, and Dementia in Primary Care Patients). METHODS: We recruited 357 patients with MCI aged 75 years or older from primary care practices and conducted follow-up with interviews for 3 years. Depending on the course of impairment over time, the patients were retrospectively split into 4 groups representing remittent, fluctuating, stable, and progressive courses of MCI. We performed ordinal logistic regression analysis and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis. RESULTS: Overall, 41.5% of the patients had remission of symptoms with normal cognitive function 1.5 and 3 years later, 21.3% showed a fluctuating course, 14.8% had stable symptoms, and 22.4% had progression to dementia. Patients were at higher risk for advancing from one course to the next along this spectrum if they had symptoms of depression, impairment in more than 1 cognitive domain, or more severe cognitive impairment, or were older. The result on a test of the ability to learn and reproduce new material 10 minutes later was the best indicator at baseline for differentiating between remittent and progressive MCI. Symptoms of depression modified the prognosis. CONCLUSIONS: In primary care, about one-quarter of patients with MCI have progression to dementia within the next 3 years. Assessments of memory function and depressive symptoms are helpful in predicting a progressive vs a remittent course. When transferring the concept of MCI into clinical diagnostic algorithms (eg, DSM-5), however, we should not forget that three-quarters of patients with MCI stayed cognitively stable or even improved within 3 years. They should not be alarmed unnecessarily by receiving such a diagnosis.

Ann Fam Med. 2014 Mar-Apr;12(2):158-65.

Prediction of brain age suggests accelerated atrophy after traumatic brain injury.

OBJECTIVE: The long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can resemble observed in normal ageing, suggesting that TBI may accelerate the ageing process. We investigate this using a neuroimaging model that predicts brain age in healthy individuals and then apply it to TBI patients. We define individuals’ differences in chronological and predicted structural “brain age,” and test whether TBI produces progressive atrophy and how this relates to cognitive function. METHODS: A predictive model of normal ageing was defined using machine learning in 1,537 healthy individuals, based on magnetic resonance imaging-derived estimates of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM). This ageing model was then applied to test 99 TBI patients and 113 healthy controls to estimate brain age. RESULTS: The initial model accurately predicted age in healthy individuals (r = 0.92). TBI brains were estimated to be “older,” with a mean predicted age difference (PAD) between chronological and estimated brain age of 4.66 years (±10.8) for GM and 5.97 years (±11.22) for WM. This PAD predicted cognitive impairment and correlated strongly with the time since TBI, indicating that brain tissue loss increases throughout the chronic postinjury phase. INTERPRETATION: TBI patients’ brains were estimated to be older than their chronological age. This discrepancy increases with time since injury, suggesting that TBI accelerates the rate of brain atrophy. This may be an important factor in the increased susceptibility in TBI patients for dementia and other age-associated conditions, motivating further research into the age-like effects of brain injury and other neurological diseases.

Ann Neurol. 2015 Apr;77(4):571-81. doi: 10.1002/ana.24367.

Predicting brain-age from multimodal imaging data captures cognitive impairment.

The disparity between the chronological age of an individual and their brain-age measured based on biological information has the potential to offer clinically relevant biomarkers of neurological syndromes that emerge late in the lifespan. While prior brain-age prediction studies have relied exclusively on either structural or functional brain data, here we investigate how multimodal brain-imaging data improves age prediction. Using cortical anatomy and whole-brain functional connectivity on a large adult lifespan sample (N=2354, age 19-82), we found that multimodal data improves brain-based age prediction, resulting in a mean absolute prediction error of 4.29 years. Furthermore, we found that the discrepancy between predicted age and chronological age captures cognitive impairment. Importantly, the brain-age measure was robust to confounding effects: head motion did not drive brain-based age prediction and our models generalized reasonably to an independent dataset acquired at a different site (N=475). Generalization performance was increased by training models on a larger and more heterogeneous dataset. The robustness of multimodal brain-age prediction to confounds, generalizability across sites, and sensitivity to clinically-relevant impairments, suggests promising future application to the early prediction of neurocognitive disorders.

Neuroimage. 2017 Mar 1;148:179-188.

Estimating brain age using high-resolution pattern recognition: Younger brains in long-term meditation practitioners.

Normal aging is known to be accompanied by loss of brain substance. The present study was designed to examine whether the practice of meditation is associated with a reduced brain age. Specific focus was directed at age fifty and beyond, as mid-life is a time when aging processes are known to become more prominent. We applied a recently developed machine learning algorithm trained to identify anatomical correlates of age in the brain translating those into one single score: the BrainAGE index (in years). Using this validated approach based on high-dimensional pattern recognition, we re-analyzed a large sample of 50 long-term meditators and 50 control subjects estimating and comparing their brain ages. We observed that, at age fifty, brains of meditators were estimated to be 7.5 years younger than those of controls. In addition, we examined if the brain age estimates change with increasing age. While brain age estimates varied only little in controls, significant changes were detected in meditators: for every additional year over fifty, meditators’ brains were estimated to be an additional 1month and 22 days younger than their chronological age. Altogether, these findings seem to suggest that meditation is beneficial for brain preservation, effectively protecting against age-related atrophy with a consistently slower rate of brain aging throughout life.

Neuroimage. 2016 Jul 1;134:508-513.


Microglial Inhibitory Mechanism of Coenzyme Q10 Against Aβ (1-42) Induced Cognitive Dysfunctions: Possible Behavioral, Biochemical, Cellular, and Histopathological Alterations.

RATIONALE: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a debilitating disease with complex pathophysiology. Amyloid beta (Ab) (1-42) is a reliable model of AD that recapitulates many aspects of human AD. OBJECTIVE: The intent of the present study was to investigate the neuroprotective potential of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and its modulation by minocycline (microglial inhibitor) against Ab (1-42) induced cognitive dysfunction in rats. METHOD: Intrahippocampal (i.h.) Ab (1-42) (1 µg/µl; 4µl/site) were administered followed by drug treatment with galantamine (2 mg/kg), CoQ10 (20 and 40 mg/kg), minocycline (50 and 100 mg/kg) and their combinations for a period of 21 days. Various neurobehavioral parameters followed by biochemical, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) level, proinflammatory markers (TNF-a), mitochondrial respiratory enzyme complexes (I-IV) and histopathological examinations were assessed. RESULTS: Ab (1-42) administration significantly impaired cognitive performance in Morris water maze (MWM) performance test, causes oxidative stress, raised AChE level, caused neuroinflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and histopathological alterations as compared to sham treatment. Treatment with CoQ10 (20 and 40 mg/kg) and minocycline (50 and 100 mg/kg) alone for 21 days significantly improved cognitive performance as evidenced by reduced transfer latency and increased time spent in target quadrant (TSTQ), reduced AChE activity, oxidative damage (reduced LPO, nitrite level and restored SOD, catalase and GHS levels), TNF-a level, restored mitochondrial respiratory enzyme complex (I, II, III, IV) activities and histopathological alterations as compared to Ab (1-42) treated animals. Further, combinations of minocycline (50 and 100 mg/kg) with CoQ10 (20 and 40 mg/kg) significantly modulates the protective effect of CoQ10 dose dependently as compared to their effect alone. CONCLUSION: The present study suggests that the neuroprotective effect of CoQ10 could be due to its microglia inhibitory mechanism along with its mitochondrial restoring and anti-oxidant properties.

Front Pharmacol. 2015 Nov 9;6:268.

A review on mitochondrial restorative mechanism of antioxidants in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions.

Neurodegenerative diseases are intricate in nature because of the involvement of the multiple pathophysiological events including mitochondrial dysfunction, neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease explained by extracellular amyloid b deposits, intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and mitochondrial dysfunction. Increasing evidence has indicated that mitochondrial dysfunction displays significant role in the pathophysiological processes of AD. Mitochondrial dysfunction involves alterations in mitochondrial respiratory enzyme complex activities, oxidative stress, opening of permeability transition pore, and enhanced apoptosis. Various bioenergetics and antioxidants have been tried or under different investigational phase against AD and other neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) because of their complex and multiple site of action. These mitochondrial-targeting bioenergetics and antioxidant compounds such as coenzyme Q10, idebenone, creatine, mitoQ, mitovitE, MitoTEMPOL, latrepirdine, methylene blue, triterpenoids, SS peptides, curcumin, Ginkgo biloba, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with potential efficacy in AD have been identified. Present review is intent to discuss mitochondrial restorative mechanisms of these bioenergetics and antioxidants as a potential alternative drug strategy for effective management of AD.

Front Pharmacol. 2015 Sep 24;6:206.

Attenuation of Oxidative Damage by Coenzyme Q10 Loaded Nanoemulsion Through Oral Route for the Management of Parkinson’s Disease.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a well-known antioxidant molecule which is used in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, but due to poor solubility it suffers with the drawback of low oral bioavailability. The aim of present study was to prepare and characterize CoQ10 loaded nanoemulsion to improve the oral bioavailability. Prepared formulation was studied for droplet size, polydispersity index (PDI), percentage transmittance, refractive index, viscosity, zeta potential, surface morphology by transmission electron microscopy, and in vitro release study. Optimized formulation (A10) showed spherical droplets with mean diameter of 60.00 ± 15 nm, PDI of 0.121 ± 0.053, and zeta potential values of -24.40 ± 0.16 mV. Prepared nanoemulsion exhibited good transmittance (100.50% ± 0.86%), refractive index (1.41 ± 0.02), and viscosity (30.54 ± 2.86 cP). Various behavioral tests like forced swimming test, locomotor activity test, catalepsy, muscle coordination test, and akinesia test performed in haloperidol challenged rats and treated with CoQ10 nanoemulsion significantly improved the behavioral activities in comparison to CoQ10 suspension by reducing nigrostriatal dopamine depletion and thereby helping in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Biochemical estimation data showed that CoQ10 nanoemulsion was helpful in elevating the decreased content of glutathione and reducing the increased content of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances. Improved CoQ10 release was obtained with nanoemulsions. Pharmacokinetic study results revealed that nanoemulsion exhibited 1.81 times enhancement in bioavailability in comparison to CoQ10 suspension.

Rejuvenation Res. 2018 Jun;21(3):232-248

Serum Coenzyme Q10 Is Associated with Clinical Neurological Outcomes in Acute Stroke Patients.

Disruption of prooxidant-antioxidant balance may lead to oxidative stress which is known as a mechanism contributing to ischemic stroke. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an endogenous antioxidant that could be effective in preventing oxidative stress. However, the contribution of serum levels of CoQ10 in clinical neurological outcomes following ischemic stroke has not been clearly established. This study aims at measuring serum concentration of CoQ10 along with major indicators of antioxidant and oxidant among patients within 24 h after onset of the stroke symptoms, and investigating their relation with the clinical status of patients. Serum levels of CoQ10, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and malondialdehyde (MDA) were measured in 76 patients and 34 healthy individuals. Severity of the neurological deficit, functional disability, and cognitive status in ischemic subjects were respectively studied with the National Institutes of Health stroke scale (NIHSS), modified Rankin Scale (MRS), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Stroke patients had significantly lower serum level of CoQ10 and SOD as compared to controls (27.34 ± 35.40 ng/ml, 18.58 ± 0.76 µ/ml, respectively; p < 0.05), whereas the serum MDA level was significantly higher (38.02 ± 2.61 µm, p < 0.05). A significant negative correlation was detected between the serum CoQ10 level and scores of NIHSS and MRS. A similar association was discerned between the SOD level and the neurological deficit score. The serum MDA level was also found to be strongly correlated with all three neurological scales. These findings suggest that the serum level of CoQ10 like other antioxidant and oxidant markers can significantly change early after ischemic stroke and they are substantially associated with clinical neurological outcomes.

J Mol Neurosci. 2018 Sep;66(1):53-58.

The Effects of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Glucose Metabolism, Lipid Profiles, Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress in Patients With Diabetic Nephropathy: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

OBJECTIVE: Data on the effects of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation on glucose metabolism, lipid profiles, inflammation, and oxidative stress in subjects with diabetic nephropathy (DN) are scarce. This research was done to determine the effects of CoQ10 supplementation on metabolic status in subjects with DN. METHODS: This randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was done in 50 subjects with DN. Participants were randomly assigned into two groups to intake either 100 mg/day CoQ10 supplements (n = 25) or placebo (n = 25) for 12 weeks. Fasting blood samples were obtained at first and after 12-week intervention to quantify metabolic profiles. RESULTS: After 12 weeks of treatment, compared with the placebo, CoQ10 supplementation resulted in significant decreases in serum insulin levels (-3.4 ± 6.8 vs +0.8 ± 6.4 µIU/mL, p = 0.02), homeostasis model of assessment-estimated insulin resistance (-1.0 ± 2.0 vs +0.2 ± 1.8, p = 0.03), homeostasis model of assessment-estimated B cell function (-12.3 ± 26.3 vs +3.5 ± 23.1, p = 0.02) and HbA1c (-1.1 ± 1.0 vs -0.1 ± 0.2%, p < 0.001), and a significant improvement in quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (+0.009 ± 0.01 vs -0.006 ± 0.01, p = 0.01). In addition, CoQ10 supplementation significantly decreased plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) (-0.6 ± 0.5 vs +0.5 ± 1.0 µmol/L, p < 0.001) and advanced glycation end products levels (AGEs) (-316.4 ± 380.9 vs +318.6 ± 732.0 AU, p < 0.001) compared with the placebo. Supplementation with CoQ10had no significant impacts on fasting plasma glucose (FPG), lipid profiles, and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) compared with the placebo. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our study demonstrated that CoQ10 supplementation for 12 weeks among DN patients had favorable effects on glucose metabolism, MDA, and AGEs levels, but unchanged FPG, lipid profiles, and MMP-2 concentrations.

J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 Mar-Apr;37(3):188-193.

Milk thistle

Beneficial Effects of Silymarin After the Discontinuation of CCl4-Induced Liver Fibrosis.

Silymarin (Si) is a herbal product with hepatoprotective potential, well-known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. We have recently demonstrated that the usual therapeutic doses of Si are capable of inhibiting the progression of incipient liver fibrosis. We aimed at further investigating the benefits of Si administration upon liver alterations after the hepatotoxin discontinuation, using CCl4 to induce liver injuries on rats. CCl4 administration induces first of all oxidative stress, but other mechanisms, such as inflammation and liver fibrosis are also triggered. Fifty Wistar rats were randomly divided into five groups (n = 10). The control group received sunflower oil twice a week for 8 weeks. Carboxymethyl cellulose group received sunflower oil twice a week, for 8 weeks and CMC daily, for the next 2 weeks. CCl4 group received CCl4 in sunflower oil, by gavage, twice a week, for 8 weeks. CCl4 + Si 50 group received CCl4 twice a week, for 8 weeks, and then 50 mg/body weight (b.w.) Silymarin for the next 2 weeks. CCl4 + Si 200 group was similar to the previous group, but with Si 200 mg/b.w. Ten weeks after the experiment had begun, we assessed inflammation (IL-6, MAPK, NF-kB, pNF-kB), fibrosis (hyaluronic acid), TGF-b1, MMP-9, markers of hepatic stellate cell activation (a-SMA expression), and proliferative capacity (proliferating cell nuclear antigen). Our data showed that Silymarin administered after the toxic liver injury is capable of reducing inflammation and liver fibrosis. The benefits were more important for the higher dose than for the usual therapeutic dose.

J Med Food. 2016 Aug;19(8):789-97.

Silymarin inhibits the progression of fibrosis in the early stages of liver injury in CCl-treated rats.

Liver fibrosis, a common condition occurring during the evolution of almost all chronic liver diseases, is the consequence of hepatocyte injury that leads to the activation of Kupffer cells and hepatic stellate cells (HSC). Silymarin (Si) is a herbal product widely used for its hepatoprotective potential. Our study aims to investigate the effects of two different doses of Silymarin on a CCl4-induced model of liver fibrosis with a focus on the early stages of liver injury. Fifty Wistar rats were randomly divided into five groups (n=10): control group (sunflower oil twice a week); CMC group (carboxymethyl cellulose five times a week, sunflower oil twice a week); CCl4 group (CCl4 in sunflower oil, by gavage, twice a week); CCl4+Si 50 group (CCl4 twice a week, Silymarin 50 mg/b.w. in CMC five times a week); and CCl4+Si 200 group (similar to the previous group, with Si 200 mg/b.w.). One month after the experiment began we explored hepato-cytolysis (aminotransferases and lactate dehydrogenase), oxidative stress, fibrosis (histological score, hyaluronic acid), markers of HSC activation (transforming growth factor b1 [TGF-b1], and a-smooth muscle actin [a-SMA] expression by western blot) and activation of Kupffer cells by immunohistochemistry. Our data showed that Si 50 mg/b.w. had the capacity of reducing oxidative stress, hepato-cytolysis, fibrosis, activation of Kupffer cells, and the expression of a-SMA and TGF-b1 with better results than Si 200 mg/b.w. Thus, the usual therapeutic dose of Silymarin, administered in the early stages of fibrotic changes is capable of inhibiting the fibrogenetic mechanism and the progression of initial liver fibrosis.

J Med Food. 2015 Mar;18(3):290-8.

A pilot study on the liver protective effect of silybin-phosphatidylcholine complex (IdB1016) in chronic active hepatitis.

In order to assess the liver protective activity and the antioxidant properties of a new silybin complex (IdB1016), we carried out a short-term pilot study on 20 patients with chronic active hepatitis (CAH), randomly assigned to 240 mg of silybin b.i.d. (10 patients, 4 m/6 f, mean age: 50 years) or placebo (10 patients, 2 m/8 f, mean age: 55 years). Blood samples were collected before and after 7 days of treatment for liver function tests (LFTs), malonaldehyde (MDA) as an index of lipid peroxidation, and copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn), two trace elements involved in protecting cells against free radical-mediated lipid peroxidation. In the treated group, there was a statistically significant reduction of mean (+/- SEM) serum concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) from 88.0 (+/- 13.3) to 65.9 (+/- 7.5) u/l, (p < 0.01), of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) from 115.9 (+/- 12.9) to 82.5 (+/- 10.6) u/l (p < 0.01), of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (gamma-GT) from 51.4 (+/- 9.3) to 41.3 (+/- 4.2) u/l (p < 0.02) and of total bilirubin (TB) from 0.76 (+/- 0.08) to 0.53 (+/- 0.04) mg/dl (p < 0.05). Alkaline phosphatase (AP) fell slightly from 143.4 (+/- 6.4) to 137.5 (+/- 7.8) u/l. There were no significant changes in MDA, Cu or Zn serum concentrations. These results show that IdB1016 may improve LFTs related to hepatocellular necrosis and/or increases membrane permeability in patients affected by CAH.

Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1993 Sep;31(9):456-60.

Modulatory effects of silibinin in various cell signaling pathways against liver disorders and cancer - A comprehensive review.

Silibinin, a natural flavanone, derived from the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum), was illustrated for several medicinal uses such as liver-protective, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammation and many other. However, silibinin has poor absorbance and bioavailability due to low water solubility, thereby limiting its clinical applications and therapeutic efficiency. To overcome this problem, the combination of silibinin with phosphatidylcholine (PC) as a formulation was used to enhance the solubility and bioavailability. The results indicated that silibinin-PC taken orally markedly enhanced bioavailability and therapeutic efficiency. In addition, a deeper understanding of the signaling pathways modulated by silibinin is important to realize its potential in developing targeted therapies against liver disorders and cancer. Silibinin has been shown to inhibit many cell signaling pathways in preclinical models, demonstrating promising effects against liver disorders and cancer through in vitro and in vivo studies. This review summarizes the pharmacokinetic properties, bioavailability, safety data, clinical activities and modulatory effects of silibinin in different cell signaling pathways against liver disorders and cancer.

Eur J Med Chem. 2016 Nov 10;123:577-595.

Silybin combined with phosphatidylcholine and vitamin E in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial.

The only currently recommended treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is lifestyle modification. Preliminary studies of silybin showed beneficial effects on liver function. Realsil (RA) comprises the silybin phytosome complex (silybin plus phosphatidylcholine) coformulated with vitamin E. We report on a multicenter, phase III, double-blind clinical trial to assess RA in patients with histologically documented NAFLD. Patients were randomized 1:1 to RA or placebo (P) orally twice daily for 12 months. Prespecified primary outcomes were improvement over time in clinical condition, normalization of liver enzyme plasma levels, and improvement of ultrasonographic liver steatosis, homeostatic model assessment (HOMA), and quality of life. Secondary outcomes were improvement in liver histologic score and/or decrease in NAFLD score without worsening of fibrosis and plasma changes in cytokines, ferritin, and liver fibrosis markers. We treated 179 patients with NAFLD; 36 were also HCV positive. Forty-one patients were prematurely withdrawn and 138 patients analyzed per protocol (69 per group). Baseline patient characteristics were generally well balanced between groups, except for steatosis, portal infiltration, and fibrosis. Adverse events (AEs) were generally transient and included diarrhea, dysgeusia, and pruritus; no serious AEs were recorded. Patients receiving RA but not P showed significant improvements in liver enzyme plasma levels, HOMA, and liver histology. Body mass index normalized in 15% of RA patients (2.1% with P). HCV-positive patients in the RA but not the P group showed improvements in fibrogenesis markers. This is the first study to systematically assess silybin in NAFLD patients. Treatment with RA but not P for 12 months was associated with improvement in liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and liver histology, without increases in body weight. These findings warrant further investigation.

Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 May 1;52(9):1658-65.

Cognitive function

Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage) enhances memory in healthy young volunteers.

Sage (Salvia) has a longstanding reputation in British herbal encyclopaedias as an agent that enhances memory, although there is little evidence regarding the efficacy of sage from systematized trials. Based on known pharmacokinetic and binding properties, it was hypothesised that acute administration of sage would enhance memory in young adult volunteers. Two experiments utilised a placebo-controlled, double-blind, balanced, crossover methodology. In Trial 1, 20 participants received 50, 100 and 150 microl of a standardised essential oil extract of Salvia lavandulaefolia and placebo. In Trial 2, 24 participants received 25 and 50 microl of a standardised essential oil extract of S. lavandulaefolia and placebo. Doses were separated by a 7-day washout period with treatment order determined by Latin squares. Assessment was undertaken using the Cognitive Drug Research computerised test battery prior to treatment and 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 h thereafter. The primary outcome measures were immediate and delayed word recall. The 50 microl dose of Salvia essential oil significantly improved immediate word recall in both studies. These results represent the first systematic evidence that Salvia is capable of acute modulation of cognition in healthy young adults.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jun;75(3):669-74.

Positive modulation of mood and cognitive performance following administration of acute doses of Salvia lavandulaefolia essential oil to healthy young volunteers.

Members of the Sage family, such as Salvia officinalis and Salvia lavandulaefolia, have a long history of use as memory-enhancing agents coupled with cholinergic properties that may potentially be relevant to the amelioration of the cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The current study utilised a placebo-controlled, double-blind, balanced, crossover design in order to comprehensively assess any mood and cognition modulation by S. lavandulaefolia. Twenty-four participants received single doses of placebo, 25 microl and 50 microl of a standardised essential oil of S. lavandulaefolia in an order dictated by a Latin square. Doses were separated by a 7-day washout period. Cognitive performance was assessed prior to the day’s treatment and at 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 h thereafter using the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) computerised test battery. Subjective mood ratings were measured using Bond-Lader visual analogue scales. The primary outcome measures were scores on the five cognitive factors that can be derived by factor analysis of the task outcomes from the CDR battery. The results showed that administration of S. lavandulaefolia resulted in a consistent improvement for both the 25- and 50-microl dose on the ‘Speed of Memory’ factor. There was also an improvement on the ‘Secondary Memory’ factor for the 25-microl dose. Mood was consistently enhanced, with increases in self-rated ‘alertness’, ‘calmness’ and ‘contentedness’ following the 50-microl dose and elevated ‘calmness’ following 25 microl. These results represent further evidence that Salvia is capable of acute modulation of mood and cognition in healthy young adults. The data also suggest that previous reports of memory enhancement by Salvia may be due to more efficient retrieval of target material.

Physiol Behav. 2005 Jan 17;83(5):699-709.

Effects of cholinesterase inhibiting sage (Salvia officinalis) on mood, anxiety and performance on a psychological stressor battery.

Salvia officinalis (sage) has previously been shown both to possess in vitro cholinesterase inhibiting properties, and to enhance mnemonic performance and improve mood in healthy young participants. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, 30 healthy participants attended the laboratory on three separate days, 7 days apart, receiving a different treatment in counterbalanced order on each occasion (placebo, 300, 600 mg dried sage leaf). On each day mood was assessed predose and at 1 and 4 h postdose. Each mood assessment comprised completion of Bond-Lader mood scales and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) before and after 20 min performance of the Defined Intensity Stress Simulator (DISS) computerized multitasking battery. In a concomitant investigation, an extract of the sage leaf exhibited dose-dependent, in vitro inhibition of acetylcholinesterase and, to a greater extent, butyrylcholinesterase. Both doses of sage led to improved ratings of mood in the absence of the stressor (that is, in pre-DISS mood scores) postdose, with the lower dose reducing anxiety and the higher dose increasing ‘alertness’, ‘calmness’ and ‘contentedness’ on the Bond-Lader mood scales. The reduced anxiety effect following the lower dose was, however, abolished by performing the DISS, with the same dose also being associated with a reduction of alertness during performance. Task performance on the DISS battery was improved for the higher dose at both postdose sessions, but reduced for the lower dose at the later testing session. The results confirm previous observations of the cholinesterase inhibiting properties of S. officinalis, and improved mood and cognitive performance following the administration of single doses to healthy young participants.

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2006 Apr;31(4): 845-52.

Monoterpenoid extract of sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) with cholinesterase inhibiting properties improves cognitive performance and mood in healthy adults.

Extracts of sage (Salvia officinalis/lavandulaefolia) with terpenoid constituents have previously been shown to inhibit cholinesterase and improve cognitive function. The current study combined an in vitro investigation of the cholinesterase inhibitory properties and phytochemical constituents of a S. lavandulaefolia essential oil, with a double-blind, placebo-controlled, balanced crossover study assessing the effects of a single dose on cognitive performance and mood. In this latter investigation 36 healthy participants received capsules containing either 50 µL of the essential oil or placebo on separate occasions, 7 days apart. Cognitive function was assessed using a selection of computerized memory and attention tasks and the Cognitive Demand Battery before the treatment and 1-h and 4-h post-dose. The essential oil was a potent inhibitor of human acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and consisted almost exclusively of monoterpenoids. Oral consumption lead to improved performance of secondary memory and attention tasks, most notably at the 1-h post-dose testing session, and reduced mental fatigue and increased alertness which were more pronounced 4-h post-dose. These results extend previous observations of improved cognitive performance and mood following AChE inhibitory sage extracts and suggest that the ability of well-tolerated terpenoid-containing extracts to beneficially modulate cholinergic function and cognitive performance deserves further attention.

J Psychopharmacol. 2011 Aug;25(8):1088-100.

A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study to Compare the Safety and Efficacy of Low Dose Enhanced Wild Blueberry Powder and Wild Blueberry Extract (ThinkBlue™) in Maintenance of Episodic and Working Memory in Older Adults.

Previous research has shown beneficial effects of polyphenol-rich diets in ameliorating cognitive decline in aging adults. Here, using a randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled chronic intervention, we investigated the effect of two proprietary blueberry formulations on cognitive performance in older adults; a whole wild blueberry powder at 500 mg (WBP500) and 1000 mg (WBP1000) and a purified extract at 100 mg (WBE111). One hundred and twenty-two older adults (65-80 years) were randomly allocated to a 6-month, daily regimen of either placebo or one of the three interventions. Participants were tested at baseline, 3, and 6 months on a battery of cognitive tasks targeting episodic memory, working memory and executive function, alongside mood and cardiovascular health parameters. Linear mixed model analysis found intervention to be a significant predictor of delayed word recognition on the Reys Auditory Verbal Learning Task (RAVLT), with simple contrast analysis revealing significantly better performance following WBE111 at 3 months. Similarly, performance on the Corsi Block task was predicted by treatment, with simple contrast analysis revealing a trend for better performance at 3 months following WBE111. Treatment also significantly predicted systolic blood pressure (SBP) with simple contrast analysis revealing lower SBP following intervention with WBE111 in comparison to placebo. These results indicate 3 months intervention with WBE111 can facilitate better episodic memory performance in an elderly population and reduce cardiovascular risk factors over 6 months.

Nutrients. 2018 May 23;10(6).

Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.

Previously, anthocyanin-rich blueberry treatments have shown positive effects on cognition in both animals and human adults. However, little research has considered whether these benefits transfer to children. Here we describe an acute time-course and dose-response investigation considering whether these cognitive benefits extend to children. METHODS: Using a double-blind cross-over design, on three occasions children (n = 21; 7-10 years) consumed placebo (vehicle) or blueberry drinks containing 15 or 30 g freeze-dried wild blueberry (WBB) powder. A cognitive battery including tests of verbal memory, word recognition, response interference, response inhibition and levels of processing was performed at baseline, and 1.15, 3 and 6 h following treatment. RESULTS: Significant WBB-related improvements included final immediate recall at 1.15 h, delayed word recognition sustained over each period, and accuracy on cognitively demanding incongruent trials in the interference task at 3 h. Importantly, across all measures, cognitive performance improved, consistent with a dose-response model, with the best performance following 30 g WBB and the worst following vehicle. CONCLUSION: Findings demonstrate WBB-related cognitive improvements in 7- to 10-year-old children. These effects would seem to be particularly sensitive to the cognitive demand of task.

Eur J Nutr. 2016 Sep;55(6):2151-62.


Formate generated by cellular oxidation of formaldehyde accelerates the glycolytic flux in cultured astrocytes.

Formaldehyde is a neurotoxic compound that can be endogenously generated in the brain. Because astrocytes play a key role in metabolism and detoxification processes in brain, we have investigated the capacity of these cells to metabolize formaldehyde using primary astrocyte-rich cultures as a model system. Application of formaldehyde to these cultures resulted in the appearance of formate in cells and in a time-, concentration- and temperature-dependent disappearance of formaldehyde from the medium that was accompanied by a matching extracellular accumulation of formate. This formaldehyde-oxidizing capacity of astrocyte cultures is likely to be catalyzed by alcohol dehydrogenase 3 and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, because the cells of the cultures contain the mRNAs of these formaldehyde-oxidizing enzymes. In addition, exposure to formaldehyde increased both glucose consumption and lactate production by the cells. Both the strong increase in the cellular formate content and the increase in glycolytic flux were only observed after application of formaldehyde to the cells, but not after treatment with exogenous methanol or formate. The accelerated lactate production was not additive to that obtained for azide, a known inhibitor of complex IV of the respiratory chain, and persisted after removal of formaldehyde after a formaldehyde exposure for 1.5 h. These data demonstrate that cultured astrocytes efficiently oxidize formaldehyde to formate, which subsequently enhances glycolytic flux, most likely by inhibition of mitochondrial respiration.

Glia. 2012 Apr;60(4):582-93.

Formaldehyde metabolism and formaldehyde-induced stimulation of lactate production and glutathione export in cultured neurons.

Formaldehyde is endogenously produced in the human body and brain levels of this compound are elevated in neurodegenerative conditions. Although the toxic potential of an excess of formaldehyde has been studied, little is known on the molecular mechanisms underlying its neurotoxicity as well as on the ability of neurons to metabolize formaldehyde. To address these topics, we have used cerebellar granule neuron cultures as model system. These cultures express mRNAs of various enzymes that are involved in formaldehyde metabolism and were remarkably resistant toward acute formaldehyde toxicity. Cerebellar granule neurons metabolized formaldehyde with a rate of around 200 nmol/(h × mg) which was accompanied by significant increases in the cellular and extracellular concentrations of formate. In addition, formaldehyde application significantly increased glucose consumption, almost doubled the rate of lactate release from viable neurons and strongly accelerated the export of the antioxidant glutathione. The latter process was completely prevented by inhibition of the known glutathione exporter multidrug resistance protein 1. These data indicate that cerebellar granule neurons are capable of metabolizing formaldehyde and that the neuronal glycolysis and glutathione export are severely affected by the presence of formaldehyde.

J Neurochem. 2013 Apr;125(2):260-72.

Formaldehyde in brain: an overlooked player in neuro-degeneration?

Formaldehyde is an environmental pollutant that is also generated in substantial amounts in the human body during normal metabolism. This aldehyde is a well-established neurotoxin that affects memory, learning, and behavior. In addition, in several pathological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, an increase in the expression of formaldehyde-generating enzymes and elevated levels of formaldehyde in brain have been reported. This article gives an overview on the current knowledge on the generation and metabolism of formaldehyde in brain cells as well as on formaldehyde-induced alterations in metabolic processes. Brain cells have the potential to generate and to dispose formaldehyde. In culture, both astrocytes and neurons efficiently oxidize formaldehyde to formate which can be exported or further oxidized. Although moderate concentrations of formaldehyde are not acutely toxic for brain cells, exposure to formaldehyde severely affects their metabolism as demonstrated by the formaldehyde-induced acceleration of glycolytic flux and by the rapid multidrug resistance protein 1-mediated export of glutathione from both astrocytes and neurons. These formaldehyde-induced alterations in the metabolism of brain cells may contribute to the impaired cognitive performance observed after formaldehyde exposure and to the neurodegeneration in diseases that are associated with increased formaldehyde levels in brain.

J Neurochem. 2013 Oct;127(1):7-21

Pluripotent protective effects of carnosine, a naturally occurring dipeptide.

Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) found in brain, innervated tissues, and the lens at concentrations up to 20 mM in humans. In 1994 it was shown that carnosine could delay senescence of cultured human fibroblasts. Evidence will be presented to suggest that carnosine, in addition to antioxidant and oxygen free-radical scavenging activities, also reacts with deleterious aldehydes to protect susceptible macromolecules. Our studies show that, in vitro, carnosine inhibits nonenzymic glycosylation and cross-linking of proteins induced by reactive aldehydes (aldose and ketose sugars, certain triose glycolytic intermediates and malondialdehyde (MDA), a lipid peroxidation product). Additionally we show that carnosine inhibits formation of MDA-induced protein-associated advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs) and formation of DNA-protein cross-links induced by acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. At the cellular level 20 mM carnosine protected cultured human fibroblasts and lymphocytes, CHO cells, and cultured rat brain endothelial cells against the toxic effects of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and MDA, and AGEs formed by a lysine/deoxyribose mixture. Interestingly, carnosine protected cultured rat brain endothelial cells against amyloid peptide toxicity. We propose that carnosine (which is remarkably nontoxic) or related structures should be explored for possible intervention in pathologies that involve deleterious aldehydes, for example, secondary diabetic complications, inflammatory phenomena, alcoholic liver disease, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1998 Nov 20;854:37-53.

Receptor for advanced glycation end products mediates sepsis-triggered amyloid-β accumulation, Tau phosphorylation, and cognitive impairment.

Patients recovering from sepsis have higher rates of CNS morbidities associated with long-lasting impairment of cognitive functions, including neurodegenerative diseases. However, the molecular etiology of these sepsis-induced impairments is unclear. Here, we investigated the role of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) in neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration-associated changes, and cognitive dysfunction arising after sepsis recovery. Adult Wistar rats underwent cecal ligation and perforation (CLP), and serum and brain (hippocampus and prefrontal cortex) samples were obtained at days 1, 15, and 30 after the CLP. We examined these samples for systemic and brain inflammation; amyloid-b peptide (Ab) and Ser-202-phosphorylated Tau (p-TauSer-202) levels; and RAGE, RAGE ligands, and RAGE intracellular signaling. Serum markers associated with the acute proinflammatory phase of sepsis (TNFa, IL-1b, and IL-6) rapidly increased and then progressively decreased during the 30-day period post-CLP, concomitant with a progressive increase in RAGE ligands (S100B, N-[carboxymethyl]lysine, HSP70, and HMGB1). In the brain, levels of RAGE and Toll-like receptor 4, glial fibrillary acidic protein and neuronal nitric-oxide synthase, and Ab and p-TauSer-202 also increased during that time. Of note, intracerebral injection of RAGE antibody into the hippocampus at days 15, 17, and 19 post-CLP reduced Ab and p-TauSer-202 accumulation, Akt/mechanistic target of rapamycin signaling, levels of ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 and glial fibrillary acidic protein, and behavioral deficits associated with cognitive decline. These results indicate that brain RAGE is an essential factor in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders following acute systemic inflammation.

J Biol Chem. 2018 Jan 5;293(1):226-244.

Dicarbonyl proteome and genome damage in metabolic and vascular disease.

Methylglyoxal is a potent protein-glycating agent. It is an arginine-directed glycating agent and often modifies functionally important sites in proteins. Glycation forms mainly MG-H1 [Nd-(5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl)ornithine] residues. MG-H1 content of proteins is quantified by stable isotopic dilution analysis-MS/MS and also by immunoblotting with specific monoclonal antibodies. Methylglyoxal-modified proteins undergo cellular proteolysis and release MG-H1 free adduct for excretion. MG-H1 residues have been found in proteins of animals, plants, bacteria, fungi and protoctista. MG-H1 is often the major advanced glycation end-product in proteins of tissues and body fluids, increasing in diabetes and associated vascular complications, renal failure, cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and aging. Proteins susceptible to methylglyoxal modification with related functional impairment are called the DCP (dicarbonyl proteome). The DCP includes albumin, haemoglobin, transcription factors, mitochondrial proteins, extracellular matrix proteins, lens crystallins and others. DCP component proteins are linked to mitochondrial dysfunction in diabetes and aging, oxidative stress, dyslipidaemia, cell detachment and anoikis and apoptosis. Methylglyoxal also modifies DNA where deoxyguanosine residues are modified to imidazopurinone MGdG {3-(2’-deoxyribosyl)-6,7-dihydro-6,7-dihydroxy-6/7-methylimidazo-[2,3-b]purine-9(8)one} isomers. MGdG was the major quantitative adduct detected in vivo. It was linked to frequency of DNA strand breaks and increased markedly during apoptosis induced by a cell-permeant glyoxalase I inhibitor. Glyoxalase I metabolizes >99% methylglyoxal and thereby protects the proteome and genome. Gene deletion of GLO1 is embryonically lethal and GLO1 silencing increases methylglyoxal concentration, MG-H1 and MGdG, premature aging and disease. Studies of methylglyoxal glycation have importance for human health, longevity and treatment of disease.

Biochem Soc Trans. 2014 Apr;42(2):425-32.