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LE Magazine March 2006


Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rats.

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increased in the United States and more patients are seeking CAM therapies for control of pain. The present investigation tested the efficacy of orally administered anthocyanins extracted from tart cherries on inflammation-induced pain behavior in rats. Paw withdrawal latency to radiant heat and paw withdrawal threshold to von Frey probes were measured. The first set of experiments examined the effects of tart cherry anthocyanins (400 mg/kg) on the nociceptive behaviors and edema associated with inflammation induced by intraplantar injection of 1% carrageenan. These studies also included tests of motor coordination. The second set of experiments determined if tart cherry anthocyanins (15, 85, and 400 mg/kg) dose-dependently affected the inflammation induced by intraplantar injection of 25% complete Freund’s adjuvant. We found that tart cherry extracts reduce inflammation-induced thermal hyperalgesia, mechanical hyperalgesia and paw edema. The suppression of thermal hyperalgesia was dose-dependent and the efficacy of highest dose (400 mg/kg) was similar to indomethacin (5 mg/kg). The highest dose anthocyanin (400 mg/kg) had no effects on motor function. These data suggest that tart cherry anthocyanins may have a beneficial role in the treatment of inflammatory pain. The antihyperalgesic effects may be related to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of anthocyanins. A better understanding of the modulatory role of dietary constituents and phytonutrients on pain will offer further therapeutic options for treating patients with persistent and chronic pain conditions.

Behav Brain Res. 2004 Aug 12;153(1):181-8

Structural and functional characterization of polyphenols isolated from acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit.

Two anthocyanins, cyanidin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside (C3R) and pelargonidin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside (P3R), and quercitrin (quercetin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside), were isolated from acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit. These polyphenols were evaluated based on the functional properties associated with diabetes mellitus or its complications, that is, on the radical scavenging activity and the inhibitory effect on both alpha-glucosidase and advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation. C3R and quercitrin revealed strong radical scavenging activity. While the inhibitory profiles of isolated polyphenols except quercitrin towards alpha-glucosidase activity were low, all polyphenols strongly inhibited AGE formation.

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2005 Feb;69(2):280-6

Anthocyanidins inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 expression in LPS-evoked macrophages: structure-activity relationship and molecular mechanisms involved.

The effects of anthocyanidins, the aglycon nucleuses of anthocyanins widely occurring in reddish fruits and vegetables, on the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) were investigated in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated murine macrophage RAW264 cells. Of five anthocyanidins, delphinidin and cyanidin inhibited LPS-induced COX-2 expression, but pelargonidin, peonidin and malvidin did not. The structure-activity relationship suggest that the ortho-dihydroxyphenyl structure of anthocyanidins on the B-ring appears to be related with the inhibitory actions. Delphinidin, the most potent inhibitor, caused a dose-dependent inhibition of COX-2 expression at both mRNA and protein levels. Western blotting analysis indicated that delphinidin inhibited the degradation of IkappaB-alpha, nuclear translocation of p65 and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP)delta and phosphorylation of c-Jun, but not CRE-binding protein (CREB). Moreover, delphinidin suppressed the activations of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) including c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), extracellular signalregulated kinase (ERK) and p38 kinase. MAPK inhibitors (U0126 for MEK1/2, SB203580 for p38 kinase and SP600125 for JNK) specifically blocked LPS-induced COX-2 expression. Thus, our results demonstrated that LPS-induced COX-2 expression by activating MAPK pathways and delphinidin suppressed COX-2 by blocking MAPK-mediated pathways with the attendant activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), activator protein-1 (AP-1) and C/EBPdelta. These findings provide the first molecular basis that anthocyanidins with orthodihydroxyphenyl structure may have anti-inflammatory properties through the inhibition of MAPKmediated COX-2 expression.

Biochem Pharmacol. 2005 Aug 1;70(3):417-25

The human pineal gland and melatonin in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

The pineal gland is a central structure in the circadian system which produces melatonin under the control of the central clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN and the output of the pineal gland, i.e. melatonin, are synchronized to the 24-hr day by environmental light, received by the retina and transmitted to the SCN via the retinohypothalamic tract. Melatonin not only plays an important role in the regulation of circadian rhythms, but also acts as antioxidant and neuroprotector that may be of importance in aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Circadian disorders, such as sleep-wake cycle disturbances, are associated with aging, and even more pronounced in AD. Many studies have reported disrupted melatonin production and rhythms in aging and in AD that, as we showed, are taking place as early as in the very first preclinical AD stages (neuropathological Braak stage I-II). Degeneration of the retina-SCN-pineal axis may underlie these changes. Our recent studies indicate that a dysfunction of the sympathetic regulation of pineal melatonin synthesis by the SCN is responsible for melatonin changes during the early AD stages. Reactivation of the circadian system (retina-SCN-pineal pathway) by means of light therapy and melatonin supplementation, to restore the circadian rhythm and to relieve the clinical circadian disturbances, has shown promising positive results.

J Pineal Res. 2005 Apr;38(3):145-52

Anti-inflammatory actions of melatonin and its metabolites, N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AFMK) and N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AMK), in macrophages.

Inflammation is a complex phenomenon involving multiple cellular and molecular interactions which must be tightly regulated. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX) is the key enzyme that catalyzes the two sequential steps in the biosynthesis of PGs from arachidonic acid. The inducible isoform of COX, namely COX-2, plays a critical role in the inflammatory response and its overexpression has been associated with several pathologies including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Melatonin is the main product of the pineal gland with well documented antioxidant and immuno-modulatory effects. Since the action of the indole on COX-2 has not been previously described, the goal of the present report was to test the effect of melatonin on the activities of COX-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages as a model. Melatonin and its metabolites, N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AFMK) and N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AMK), prevented COX-2 activation induced by LPS, without affecting COX-1 protein levels. The structurally related compound 6-methoxymelatonin only partially prevented the increase in COX-2 protein levels induced by the toxin. Likewise melatonin prevented iNOS activation and reduced the concentration of products from both enzymes, PGE(2) and nitric oxide. Another endogenous antioxidant like N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) did not reduced COX-2 significantly. The current finding corroborates a role of melatonin as an anti-inflammatory agent and, for the first time, COX-2 and iNOS as molecular targets for either melatonin or its metabolites AFMK and AMK. These anti-inflammatory actions seem not to be exclusively mediated by the free radical scavenging properties of melatonin. As a consequence, the present work suggests these substances as a new class of potential anti-inflammatory agents without the classical side effects due to COX-1 inhibition.

J Neuroimmunol. 2005 Aug;165(1-2):139-49

Fast access of some grape pigments to the brain.

Anthocyanins represent the main flavonoid pigments in red grape and wine, in red berries, and in many other fruits and vegetables and are widespread in the human diet. After ingestion, these complex, hydrophilic compounds quickly appear as intact molecules in the plasma. This study investigated their presence in the brain of anesthetized rats that received 8 mg/kg of body weight of a pure anthocyanin mixture extracted from Vitis vinifera grapes. The mixture was maintained in the stomach for 10 min. After this time, intact anthocyanins were detected by HPLC-DAD-MS not only in the plasma (176.4 +/- 50.5 ng/mL, mean +/- SEM) but also in the brain (192.2 +/- 57.5 ng/g). These results demonstrate for the first time that grape pigments can reach the mammalian brain within minutes from their introduction into the stomach.

J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Sep 7;53(18):7029-34

Effect of muraglitazar on death and major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

CONTEXT: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear transcription factors that modulate gene expression. Therapeutic agents targeting 2 distinct families of PPARs (alpha and gamma) have been introduced in the United States. The first dual-PPAR agonist, muraglitazar, was reviewed by a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee on September 9, 2005, resulting in a vote of 8:1 recommending approval for its use in controlling blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the incidence of death, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, congestive heart failure (CHF), and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in diabetic patients treated with muraglitazar compared with controls.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: The source material for this analysis consisted of documents about phase 2 and 3 clinical trials released under public disclosure laws for the FDA advisory committee meeting. All reviewed trials were prospective, randomized, doubleblind, multicenter studies enrolling patients with type 2 diabetes and hemoglobin A(1c) levels between 7% and 10%. Patients (N = 3725) were randomized to receive differing doses of muraglitazar, pioglitazone, or placebo as monotherapy or in combination with metformin or glyburide in trials ranging from 24 to 104 weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was the incidence of death, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke. A more comprehensive composite outcome included these events plus the incidence of CHF and TIA.

RESULTS: In the muraglitazar-treated patients, death, MI, or stroke occurred in 35 of 2374 (1.47%) patients compared with 9 of 1351 (0.67%) patients in the combined placebo and pioglitazone treatment groups (controls) (relative risk [RR], 2.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07-4.66; P = .03). For the more comprehensive outcome measure that included TIA and CHF, the incidence was 50 of 2374 (2.11%) for muraglitazar compared with 11 of 1351 (0.81%) for controls (RR, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.36-5.05; P = .004). Relative risks for each of the individual components of the composite end point exceeded 2.1 but were not statistically significant. Incidence of adjudicated CHF was 13 of 2374 (0.55%) muraglitazar-treated patients and 1 of 1351 controls (0.07%) (RR, 7.43; 95% CI, 0.97-56.8; P = .053).

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with placebo or pioglitazone, muraglitazar was associated with an excess incidence of the composite end point of death, major adverse cardiovascular events (MI, stroke, TIA), and CHF. This agent should not be approved to treat diabetes based on laboratory end points until safety is documented in a dedicated cardiovascular events trial.

JAMA. 2005 Nov 23;294(20):2581-6

Anthocyanins in aged blueberryfed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory.

Research has shown that fruits and vegetables containing high levels of polyphenolics (flavonoids) display high total antioxidant activity. Our laboratory found that various fruit and vegetable extracts, particularly blueberry (BB), were effective in reversing age-related deficits in neuronal signaling and behavioral parameters following 8 weeks of feeding, possibly due to their polyphenolic content. However, it was unclear if these phytonutrients were able to directly access the brain from dietary BB supplementation (BBS). The present study examined whether different classes of polyphenols could be found in brain areas associated with cognitive performance following BBS. Thus, 19 month old F344 rats were fed a control or 2% BB diet for 8-10 weeks and tested in the Morris water maze (MWM), a measure of spatial learning and memory. LCMS analyses of anthocyanins in the diet and subsequently in different brain regions of BBS and control rats were carried out. Several anthocyanins (cyanidin-3-O-beta-galactoside, cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucoside, cyanidin-3-O-beta-arabinose, malvidin-3-O-beta-galactoside, malvidin-3-O-beta-glucoside, malvidin-3-O-beta-arabinose, peonidin-3-O-beta-arabinose and delphinidin-3-O-beta-galactoside) were found in the cerebellum, cortex, hippocampus or striatum of the BBS rats, but not the controls. These findings are the first to suggest that polyphenolic compounds are able to cross the blood brain barrier and localize in various brain regions important for learning and memory. Correlational analyses revealed a relationship between MWM performance in BBS rats and the total number of anthocyanin compounds found in the cortex. These findings suggest that these compounds may deliver their antioxidant and signaling modifying capabilities centrally.

Nutr Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):111-20

Risk of dementia and alcohol and wine consumption: a review of recent results.

The term dementia refers to a clinical syndrome of acquired intellectual disturbances produced by brain dysfunction. Dementia may result from a wide variety of disorders, including degenerative (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, AD), vascular (e.g. multi-infarct dementia), and traumatic (e.g. head injury). Long-term abuse of alcohol is related to the development of the Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome or alcohol dementia. However, light to moderate alcohol intake might also reduce the risk of dementia and AD. In Bordeaux (France), a populationbased prospective study found that subjects drinking 3 to 4 standard glasses of wine per day (> 250 and up to 500 ml), categorized as moderate drinkers, the crude odds ratio (OR) was 0.18 for incident dementia (p < 0.01) and 0.25 for Alzheimer’s disease (p < 0.03), as compared to the non-drinkers. After adjusting for age, sex, education, occupation, baseline cognitive performances and other possible confounders, the ORs were respectively 0.19 (p < 0.01) and 0.28 (p < 0.05). In the 922 mild drinkers (< 1 to 2 glasses per day) there was a negative association only with AD. after adjustment (OR = 0.55; p < 0.05). The inverse relationship between moderate wine drinking and incident dementia was explained neither by known predictors of dementia nor by medical, psychological or socio-familial factors. These results were confirmed from data of the Rotterdam study. Light-to-moderate drinking (one to three drinks per day) was significantly associated with a lower risk of any dementia (hazard ratio 0.58 [95% CI 0.38-0.90]) and vascular dementia (hazard ratio 0.29 [0.09-0.93]). No evidence that the relation between alcohol and dementia varied by type of alcoholic beverage was found. Stroke constitutes one of the most common causes of serious functional impairment in developed countries. Ischaemic strokes represent about 80% of all strokes. Several studies have been published and the overall conclusion is that heavy drinking is a risk factor for most stroke subtypes. Regular light to moderate drinking seemed to be associated with a decreased risk for ischaemic stroke.

Biol Res. 2004;37(2):189-93

Melatonin inhibits neural apoptosis induced by homocysteine in hippocampus of rats via inhibition of cytochrome c translocation and caspase-3 activation and by regulating pro- and anti-apoptotic protein levels.

In the present study, we examined the molecular mechanism by which homocysteine causes neuronal cell apoptosis. We further investigated the mechanisms of melatonin’s ability to reduce homocysteineinduced apoptosis. Consistent with its antioxidant properties, melatonin reduced homocysteine-induced lipid peroxidation and stimulated glutathione peroxidase enzyme activity in hippocampus of rats with hyperhomocysteinemia. Furthermore, melatonin treatment diminished cytochrome c release from mitochondria and reduced caspase 3 and caspase 9 activation induced by hyperhomocysteinemia. Chronic hyperhomocysteinemia also led to poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and subsequently DNA fragmentation. Treatment with melatonin markedly inhibited poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and reduced DNA damage. Hyperhomocysteinemia caused an elevation of pro-apoptotic Bax levels while reducing anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2, levels. Daily administration of melatonin up-regulated Bcl-2 and down-regulated Bax levels. We propose that, in addition to its antioxidant properties, melatonin has the ability to protect neuronal cells against apoptosis mediated homocysteine neurotoxicity by modulating apoptosis-regulatory proteins in the hippocampus of rats.

Neuroscience. 2005;135(3):879-86

Protective activity of tomato products on in vivo markers of lipid oxidation.

BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that regular consumption of tomato products improves antioxidant defenses due to their endogenous antioxidant compounds, notably lycopene.

AIM OF THE STUDY: We evaluated the effects of tomato consumption on parameters of lipid oxidation in healthy human volunteers.

METHODS: Twelve females (enrolled at T-7), after a one-week of carotenoid-poor diet (T0), were instructed to supplement the same diet with different tomato products (raw, sauce, and paste), thereby providing approximately eight mg lycopene/day for three weeks (T21). Blood samples were periodically collected in order to evaluate plasma carotenoid concentrations, plasma antioxidant capacity, and susceptibility of LDL to metal ion-induced oxidation. Furthermore, 8-iso-PGF(2alpha), a marker of in vivo oxidative stress, was analyzed in the 24-hour urine.

RESULTS: Carotenoid concentrations decreased significantly during the carotenoid-poor diet (P < 0.05), while lycopene concentrations increased significantly after tomato consumption (P < 0.001). The antioxidant capacity of plasma did not vary during the study. Conversely, LDL oxidizability decreased after tomato consumption, as demonstrated by a shortening of the lag phase (P < 0.001). This parameter was significantly correlated with lycopene concentration (r = 0.36, P < 0.05). The excretion of 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) in urine was also significantly lower (-53%, P < 0.05 compared with T0) after tomato supplementation.

CONCLUSIONS: These results further support a role for tomato products in the prevention of lipid peroxidation, a risk factor of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Eur J Nutr. 2003 Aug;42(4):201-6

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