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LE Magazine April 2004
Perilla oil

Suppressing effect of perilla oil on azoxymethane-induced foci of colonic aberrant crypts in rats.
We have investigated the modulatory effect of dietary perilla oil which is rich in the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, on the development of azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in male F344 rats. Animals were given three weekly subcutaneous injections of AOM (15 mg/kg body weight) to induce ACE. The rats were fed a basal diet containing either 12% olive oil, 12% safflower oil, 12% perilla oil, 6% perilla oil plus 6% olive oil, or 3% perilla oil plus 9% olive oil for 5 weeks, starting 1 week before the first dosing of AOM. All rats were sacrificed 2 weeks after the last AOM injection. The amount of food consumed and body weight gain were identical among every dietary group. The frequency of ACF was significantly lower in the rats fed 12% perilla oil than in those fed 12% olive oil or 12% safflower oil (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). The suppressive effect of perilla oil was dose-dependent, as the number of ACF was 20.7, 40.7 and 47.4% of those of the 12% olive oil-fed controls in rats fed 12% perilla oil, 6% perilla oil plus 6% olive oil and 3% perilla oil plus 9% olive oil, respectively. Perilla oil significantly reduced ras expression as well as the AgNORs count (cell proliferation biomarkers) in the colonic mucosa, as compared with olive oil or safflower oil (P < 0.01, respectively). Marked increases in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in membrane phospholipid fractions and decreased PGE2 levels were observed in colonic mucosa of perilla oil-fed rats. These results suggest that perilla oil, even in small amounts, suppresses the development of aberrant crypt foci, and is therefore a possible preventive agent in the early stage of colon carcinogenesis.

Carcinogenesis. 1996 Jun; 17(6): 1291-6

Colon cancer prevention with a small amount of dietary perilla oil high in alpha-linolenic acid in an animal model.
BACKGROUND. Epidemiologic and experimental studies suggest that dietary fish oil and vegetable oil high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) suppress the risk of colon cancer. The optimal amount to prevent colon carcinogenesis with perilla oil high in omega-3 PUFA alpha-linolenic acid in a 12% medium-fat diet was investigated in female F344 rats. For comparison, safflower oil high in omega-6 PUFA linoleic acid was used. METHODS. Thirty or 25 rats at 7 weeks of age in each group received an intrarectal dose of 2 mg N-methyl-N-nitrosourea 3 times weekly in weeks 1 and 2 and were fed the diets with various levels of perilla oil and safflower oil throughout the experiment. RESULTS. The incidence of colon cancer at the termination of the experiment at week 35 was 40%, 48% and 32% in the rats fed the diets with 3% perilla oil plus 9% safflower oil, 6% perilla oil plus 6% safflower oil, and 12% perilla oil plus 0% safflower oil, respectively, whereas it was 67% in the rats fed the control diet with 0% perilla oil plus 12% safflower oil. The amount of diet consumed and the body weight gain were identical in all of the dietary groups. The ratios of omega-3 PUFA to omega-6 PUFA in the serum and the colonic mucosa at week 35 were increased in parallel to the increased intake of perilla oil. CONCLUSIONS. The results suggest that a relatively small fraction of perilla oil, 25% of total dietary fat, may provide an appreciable beneficial effect in lowering the risk of colon cancer.

Cancer. 1994 Apr 15; 73(8): 2069-75

Synergistic suppression of azoxymethane-induced foci of colonic aberrant crypts by the combination of beta-carotene and perilla oil in rats.
The modulating effect of the combined dietary feeding of beta-carotene and perilla oil, which is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, on the development of azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) was investigated in male F344 rats. Rats received oral administration of beta-carotene (0, 50 or 200 mg/kg body weight/day) and fed a basal diet containing either 12% olive oil, 3% perilla oil plus 9% olive oil, or 12% perilla oil. A dose-dependent suppressive effect of perilla oil was found. The numbers of ACF were 42.0 and 18.4% of those of the 12% olive oil-fed controls in the rats fed 3% perilla oil plus 9% olive oil and 12% perilla oil, respectively. The development of ACF was also reduced significantly by the addition of dietary beta-carotene in each of the oil-fed groups (P < 0.05, respectively). The suppression by the combination of beta-carotene and perilla oil was synergistic, as the numbers of ACF were 12.9 and 8.9% of those of the 12% olive oil-fed controls in beta-carotene-treated rats fed 3% perilla oil plus 9% olive oil and 12% perilla oil, respectively. beta-carotene plus perilla oil also suppressed the numbers of silver-stained nucleolar organizer regions and the expression of ras mRNA in the colonic mucosa (cell proliferation biomarkers). Following administration of beta-carotene, a significant increase in the concentration of intact beta-carotene molecules was found in the colonic mucosa, livers, and sera. However, no accumulation of retinoids was observed in the colonic mucosa, suggesting that the inhibitory effect may not be related to the provitamin A activity. These results suggest that the combination of beta-carotene and perilla oil may be useful in the prevention of colon cancer.

Carcinogenesis. 1996 Sep; 17(9): 1897-901

Epidemiological evidence of relationships between dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and mortality in the multiple risk factor intervention trial.
This evaluation of the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial database investigated the effects of dietary PUFA on disease outcomes that may relate to polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) biochemistry. The Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial was a randomized clinical trial in coronary heart disease (CHD) primary prevention involving 12,866 middle-aged men determined to be at high risk of CHD. They were assigned to either a special intervention group or a usual care group and returned to clinics on an annual basis for assessment of risk factor status. Only data on the usual care men (n = 6,250) are presented, since the multi-intervention effects on the special intervention group introduce considerable analytic complexities. Mean PUFA intake estimates were calculated from four dietary recall interviews at baseline and follow-up Years 1, 2, and 3 and estimates for PUFA were established using absolute grams, percentage of total kilocalories, and ratios. Proportional hazards regression analysis controlling for age, race and baseline diastolic blood pressure, smoking, high and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and alcohol was used to analyze dietary PUFA intakes on 10.5-year mortality rates. Results were more significant when PUFA were expressed as percentage of total kilocalories. No significant associations with mortality were detected for linoleic acid (18:2n-6), the predominant dietary PUFA.

Proc Soc Exp Biol Med . 1992 Jun; 200(2): 177-82

Dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease in men: cohort follow up study in the United States.
OBJECTIVE--To examine the association between fat intake and the incidence of coronary heart disease in men of middle age and older. DESIGN--Cohort questionnaire study of men followed up for six years from 1986. SETTING--The health professionals follow up study in the United States . SUBJECTS--43 757 health professionals aged 40 to 75 years free of diagnosed cardiovascular disease or diabetes in 1986. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Incidence of acute myocardial infarction or coronary death. RESULTS--During follow up 734 coronary events were documented, including 505 non-fatal myocardial infarctions and 229 deaths. After age and several coronary risk factors were controlled for significant positive associations were observed between intake of saturated fat and risk of coronary disease. For men in the top versus the lowest fifth of saturated fat intake (median = 14.8% v 5.7% of energy) the multivariate relative risk for myocardial infarction was 1.22 (95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.56) and for fatal coronary heart disease was 2.21 (1.38 to 3.54). After adjustment for intake of fibre the risks were 0.96 (0.73 to 1.27) and 1.72 (1.01 to 2.90), respectively. Positive associations between intake of cholesterol and risk of coronary heart disease were similarly attenuated after adjustment for fibre intake. Intake of linolenic acid was inversely associated with risk of myocardial infarction; this association became significant only after adjustment for non-dietary risk factors and was strengthened after adjustment for total fat intake (relative risk 0.41 for a 1% increase in energy, P for trend < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS--These data do not support the strong association between intake of saturated fat and risk of coronary heart disease suggested by international comparisons. They are compatible, however, with the hypotheses that saturated fat and cholesterol intakes affect the risk of coronary heart disease as predicted by their effects on blood cholesterol concentration. They also support a specific preventive effect of linolenic acid intake.

BMJ. 1996 Jul 13; 313(7049): 84-90

Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women.
BACKGROUND: Experimental studies in laboratory animals and humans suggest that alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) may reduce the risk of arrhythmia. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to examine the association between dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease (IHD). DESIGN: This was a prospective cohort study. The intake of alpha-linolenic acid was derived from a 116-item food-frequency questionnaire completed in 1984 by 76283 women without previously diagnosed cancer or cardiovascular disease. RESULTS: During 10 y of follow-up, we documented 232 cases of fatal IHD and 597 cases of nonfatal myocardial infarction. After adjustment for age, standard coronary risk factors, and dietary intake of linoleic acid and other nutrients, a higher intake of alpha-linolenic acid was associated with a lower relative risk (RR) of fatal IHD; the RRs from the lowest to highest quintiles were 1.0, 0.99, 0.90, 0.67, and 0.55 (95% CI: 0.32, 0.94; P for trend = 0.01). For nonfatal myocardial infarction there was only a modest, nonsignificant trend toward a reduced risk when extreme quintiles were compared (RR: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.61, 1.19; P for trend = 0.50). A higher intake of oil and vinegar salad dressing, an important source of alpha-linolenic acid, was associated with reduced risk of fatal IHD when women who consumed this food > or =5-6 times/wk were compared with those who rarely consumed this food (RR: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.27, 0.76; P for trend = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the hypothesis that a higher intake of alpha-linolenic acid is protective against fatal IHD. Higher consumption of foods such as oil-based salad dressing that provide polyunsaturated fats, including alpha-linolenic acid, may reduce the risk of fatal IHD.

Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May; 69(5): 890-7

Mediterranean alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet in secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
In a prospective, randomised single-blinded secondary prevention trial we compared the effect of a Mediterranean alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet to the usual post-infarct prudent diet. After a first myocardial infarction, patients were randomly assigned to the experimental (n = 302) or control group (n = 303). Patients were seen again 8 weeks after randomisation, and each year for 5 years. The experimental group consumed significantly less lipids, saturated fat, cholesterol, and linoleic acid but more oleic and alpha-linolenic acids confirmed by measurements in plasma. Serum lipids, blood pressure, and body mass index remained similar in the 2 groups. In the experimental group, plasma levels of albumin, vitamin E, and vitamin C were increased, and granulocyte count decreased. After a mean follow up of 27 months, there were 16 cardiac deaths in the control and 3 in the experimental group; 17 non-fatal myocardial infarction in the control and 5 in the experimental groups: a risk ratio for these two main endpoints combined of 0.27 (95% CI 0.12-0.59, p = 0.001) after adjustment for prognostic variables. Overall mortality was 20 in the control, 8 in the experimental group, an adjusted risk ratio of 0.30 (95% CI 0.11-0.82, p = 0.02). An alpha-linolenic acid-rich Mediterranean diet seems to be more efficient than presently used diets in the secondary prevention of coronary events and death.

Lancet. 1994 Jun 11; 343(8911): 1454-9

Replacement of linoleic acid with alpha-linolenic acid does not alter blood lipids in normolipidaemic men.
The effect of partial dietary replacement of linoleic acid (18:2n-6; linoleic acid-rich diet) with alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3; alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet) on plasma lipids was investigated in twenty-nine healthy young men. After a 2-week stabilization period subjects were randomly assigned to either the alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet group (n 15), receiving a mean of 10.1 g of alpha-linolenic acid and 12.1 g of linoleic acid/d, or the linoleic acid-rich diet group (n 14), receiving a mean of 1.0 g of alpha-linolenic acid and 21.0 g of linoleic acid/d, for a 6-week test period. Blood samples were taken at the commencement of the stabilization period and at the start (week 0), midpoint (week 3) and endpoint (week 6) of the test period and plasma lipids analysed. The changes occurring on the linoleic acid-rich diet and alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet were compared but no significant differences in the changes in plasma total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, the subfractions HDL2 and HDL3 or triacylglycerols were found. These results indicate that dietary replacement of linoleic acid with alpha-linolenic acid in the diet of healthy male subjects offers similar cardioprotective benefits with respect to lipid metabolism.

Br J Nutr. 1998 Aug; 80(2): 163-7

Prevention of fatal cardiac arrhythmias by polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In animal feeding studies, and probably in humans, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) prevent fatal ischemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias. We showed that n-3 PUFAs also prevented such arrhythmias in surgically prepared, conscious, exercising dogs. The mechanism of the antiarrhythmic action of n-3 PUFAs has been studied in spontaneously contracting cultured cardiac myocytes of neonatal rats. Adding arrhythmogenic toxins (eg, ouabain, high Ca(2+), lysophosphatidylcholine, beta-adrenergic agonist, acylcarnitine, and the Ca(2+) ionophore) to the myocyte perfusate caused tachycardia, contracture, and fibrillation of the cultured myocytes. Adding eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA: 5-15 micromol/L) to the superfusate before adding the toxins prevented the expected tachyarrhythmias. If the arrhythmias were first induced, adding the EPA to the superfusate terminated the arrhythmias. This antiarrhythmic action occurred with dietary n-3 and n-6 PUFAs; saturated fatty acids and the monounsaturated oleic acid induced no such action. Arachidonic acid (AA; 20:4n-6) is anomalous because in one-third of the tests it provoked severe arrhythmias, which were found to result from cyclooxygenase metabolites of AA. When cyclooxygenase inhibitors were added with the AA, the antiarrhythmic effect was like those of EPA and DHA. The action of the n-3 and n-6 PUFAs is to stabilize electrically every myocyte in the heart by increasing the electrical stimulus required to elicit an action potential by approximately 50% and prolonging the relative refractory time by approximately 150%. These electrophysiologic effects result from an action of the free PUFAs to modulate sodium and calcium currents in the myocytes. The PUFAs also modulate sodium and calcium channels and have anticonvulsant activity in brain cells.

Am J Clin Nutr . 2000 Jan; 71(1 Suppl): 202S-7S

Prevention of sudden cardiac death by dietary pure omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in dogs.
BACKGROUND: Rat diets high in fish oil have been shown to be protective against ischemia-induced fatal ventricular arrhythmias. Increasing evidence suggests that this may also apply to humans. To confirm the evidence in animals, we tested a concentrate of the free fish-oil fatty acids and found them to be antiarrhythmic. In this study, we tested the pure free fatty acids of the 2 major dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish oil: cis-5,8,11,14, 17-eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5omega-3) and cis-4,7,10,13,16, 19-docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6omega-3), and the parent omega-3 fatty acid in some vegetable oils, cis-9,12,15-alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3omega-3), administered intravenously on albumin or a phospholipid emulsion. METHODS AND RESULTS: The tests were performed in a dog model of cardiac sudden death. Dogs were prepared with a large anterior wall myocardial infarction produced surgically and an inflatable cuff placed around the left circumflex coronary artery. With the dogs running on a treadmill 1 month after the surgery, occlusion of the left circumflex artery regularly produced ventricular fibrillation in the control tests done 1 week before and after the test, with the omega-3 fatty acids administered intravenously as their pure free fatty acid. With infusion of the eicosapentaenoic acid, 5 of 7 dogs were protected from fatal ventricular arrhythmias (P<0.02). With docosahexaenoic acid, 6 of 8 dogs were protected, and with alpha-linolenic acid, 6 of 8 dogs were also protected (P<0.004 for each). The before and after control studies performed on the same animal all resulted in fatal ventricular arrhythmias, from which they were defibrillated. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that purified omega-3 fatty acids can prevent ischemia-induced ventricular fibrillation in this dog model of sudden cardiac death.

Circulation. 1999 May 11; 99(18): 2452-7

Arterial compliance in obese subjects is improved with dietary plant n-3 fatty acid from flaxseed oil despite increased LDL oxidizability.
The compliance or elasticity of the arterial system, an important index of circulatory function, diminishes with increasing cardiovascular risk. Conversely, systemic arterial compliance improves through eating of fish and fish oil. We therefore tested the value of high intake of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant precursor of fish fatty acids. Fifteen obese people with markers for insulin resistance ate in turn four diets of 4 weeks each; saturated/high fat (SHF), alpha-linolenic acid/low fat (ALF), oleic/low fat (OLF), and SHF. Daily intake of alpha-linolenic acid was 20 g from margarine products based on flax oil. Systemic arterial compliance was calculated from aortic flow velocity and aortic root driving pressure. Plasma lipids, glucose tolerance, and in vitro LDL oxidizability were also measured. Systemic arterial compliance during the first and last SHF periods was 0.42 +/- 0.12 (mean +/- SD) and 0.56 +/- 0.21 units based on milliliters per millimeter of mercury. It rose significantly to 0.78 +/- 0.28 (P < .0001) with ALF; systemic arterial compliance with OLF was 0.62 +/- 0.19, lower than with ALF (P < .05). Mean arterial pressures and results of oral glucose tolerance tests were similar during ALF, OLF, and second SHF; total cholesterol levels were also not significantly different. However, insulin sensitivity and HDL cholesterol diminished and LDL oxidizability increased with ALF. The marked rise in arterial compliance at least with alpha-linolenic acid reflected rapid functional improvement in the systemic arterial circulation despite a rise in LDL oxidizability. Dietary n-3 fatty acids in flax oil thus confer a novel approach to improving arterial function.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol . 1997 Jun; 17(6): 1163-70

Alpha-linolenic acid and cardiovascular diseases.
The intake of saturated fat was postulated to be the main environmental factor for coronary heart disease. It was also postulated that the noxious effects of saturated fatty acids (FA) was primarily through the increase in serum cholesterol. Nevertheless intervention trials either in coronary patients or even in primary prevention did not observe significant reduction in cardiac mortality, especially sudden death, when the diet was markedly enriched in linoleic acid (LA), the most efficient FA to lower serum cholesterol. In intervention trials, It is only when the diet was enriched in n-3 FA, especially alphalinolenic acid ( ALA ) that cardiac death was reduced. Studies in animals as well as in vitro on myocytes in culture, have shown that ALA was preventing ventricular fibrillation, the chief mechanism of cardiac death. Furthermore, studies in rats have observed that among n-3 FA, ALA , the precursor of the n-3 family, may be more efficient to prevent ventricular fibrillation than eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In addition it was demonstrated that ALA was the main FA lowering platelet aggregation, an important step in thrombosis, i. e. non fatal myocardial infarction and stroke. Thus, without side effects, a higher intake of ALA (2g / day) with a ratio of 5/1 for LA/ALA, could possibly constitute a nutritional answer to the main cause of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries.

J Nutr Health Aging . 2001; 5(3): 179-83

Perilla oil prevents the excessive growth of visceral adipose tissue in rats by down-regulating adipocyte differentiation.
We examined the effect of dietary oils with different fatty acid compositions on the growth of visceral adipose tissue in rats. Rats were fed for 4 mo starting at weaning a basal diet containing (12 g/100 g diet) perilla oil rich in (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), safflower oil rich in (n-6) PUFA, olive oil rich in monounsaturated fatty acid, or beef tallow rich in saturated fatty acids. The amount of food consumed and body weight gain did not differ among the four dietary groups. The weight of the epididymal fat pad and the serum triglyceride concentration in perilla oil-fed rats were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than those of olive oil- and beef tallow-fed groups. The product of [(volume of individual adipocytes) x (number of adipocytes in epididymal fat pad)], which presumably represents total adipocyte volume in the fat pad, was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in perilla oil-fed rats than in beef tallow- and olive oil-fed groups. Expression of the late genes of adipocyte differentiation, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha, adipocyte P2 and adipsin, was significantly (P < 0. 05) down-regulated in epididymal fat tissue of rats that had been fed perilla oil rather than beef tallow or olive oil, whereas expression of the early gene, lipoprotein lipase, was not significantly affected. Greater levels (P < 0.05) of (n-3) PUFA in the membrane phospholipid fraction of the fat tissue were observed in perilla oil-fed rats than in the other dietary groups. These results suggest that perilla oil or (n-3) PUFA prevents excessive growth of adipose tissue in rats at least in part by suppressing the late phase of adipocyte differentiation.

J Nutr . 1997 Sep; 127(9): 1752-7

N-3 and N-6 fatty acids in breast adipose tissue and relative risk of breast cancer in a case-control study in Tours, France.
Experimental studies have indicated that n-3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 n-3) and long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids inhibit mammary tumor growth and metastasis. Earlier epidemiological studies have given inconclusive results about a potential protective effect of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on breast cancer risk, possibly because of methodological issues inherent to nutritional epidemiology. To evaluate the hypothesis that n-3 fatty acids protect against breast cancer, we examined the fatty acid composition in adipose tissue from 241 patients with invasive, nonmetastatic breast carcinoma and from 88 patients with benign breast disease, in a case-control study in Tours , central France . Fatty acid composition in breast adipose tissue was used as a qualitative biomarker of past dietary intake of fatty acids. Biopsies of adipose tissue were obtained at the time of surgery. Individual fatty acids were measured as a percentage of total fatty acids, using capillary gas chromatography. Unconditional logistic regression modeling was used to obtain odds ratio estimates while adjusting for age, height, menopausal status and body mass index. We found inverse associations between breast cancer-risk and n-3 fatty acid levels in breast adipose tissue. Women in the highest tertile of alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 n-3) had an odds ratio of 0.39 (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 0.19-0.78) compared to women in the lowest tertile (trend p = 0.01). In a similar way, women in the highest tertile of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6 n-3) had an odds ratio of 0.31 (95% CI = 0.13-0.75) compared to women in the lowest tertile (trend p = 0.016). Women in the highest tertile of the long-chain n-3/total n-6 ratio had an odds ratio of 0.33 (95% confidence interval = 0.17-0.66) compared to women in the lowest tertile (trend p = 0.0002). In conclusion, our data based on fatty acids levels in breast adipose tissue suggest a protective effect of n-3 fatty acids on breast cancer risk and support the hypothesis that the balance between n-3 and n-6 fatty acids plays a role in breast cancer.

Int J Cancer . 2002 Mar 1; 98(1): 78-83

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