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LE Magazine February 2007


Oral uridine-5’-monophosphate (UMP) increases brain CDP-choline levels in gerbils.

We examined the biochemical pathways whereby oral uridine-5’-monophosphate (UMP) increases membrane phosphatide synthesis in brains of gerbils. We previously showed that supplementing PC12 cells with uridine caused concentration-related increases in CDP-choline levels, and that this effect was mediated by elevations in intracellular uridine triphosphate (UTP) and cytidine triphosphate (CTP). In the present study, adult gerbils received UMP (1 mmol/kg), a constituent of human breast milk and infant formulas, by gavage, and plasma samples and brains were collected for assay between 5 min and 8 h thereafter. Thirty minutes after gavage, plasma uridine levels were increased from 6.6 +/- 0.58 to 32.7 +/- 1.85 muM (P < 0.001), and brain uridine from 22.6 +/- 2.9 to 89.1 +/- 8.82 pmol/mg tissue (P < 0.001). UMP also significantly increased plasma and brain cytidine levels; however, both basally and following UMP, these levels were much lower than those of uridine. Brain UTP, CTP, and CDP-choline were all elevated 15 min after UMP (from 254 +/- 31.9 to 417 +/- 50.2, [P < 0.05]; 56.8 +/- 1.8 to 71.7 +/- 1.8, [P < 0.001]; and 11.3 +/- 0.5 to 16.4 +/- 1, [P < 0.001] pmol/mg tissue, respectively), returning to basal levels after 20 and 30 min. The smallest UMP dose that significantly increased brain CDP-choline was 0.05 mmol/kg. These results show that oral UMP, a uridine source, enhances the synthesis of CDP-choline, the immediate precursor of PC, in gerbil brain.

Brain Res. 2005 Oct 5;1058(1-2):101-8

Synaptic proteins and phospholipids are increased in gerbil brain by administering uridine plus docosahexaenoic acid orally.

The synthesis of brain phosphatidylcholine may utilize three circulating precursors: choline; a pyrimidine (e.g., uridine, converted via UTP to brain CTP); and a PUFA (e.g., docosahexaenoic acid); phosphatidylethanolamine may utilize two of these, a pyrimidine and a PUFA. We observe that consuming these precursors can substantially increase membrane phosphatide and synaptic protein levels in gerbil brains. (Pyrimidine metabolism in gerbils, but not rats, resembles that in humans.) Animals received, daily for 4 weeks, a diet containing choline chloride and UMP (a uridine source) and/or DHA by gavage. Brain phosphatidylcholine rose by 13-22% with uridine and choline alone, or DHA alone, or by 45% with the combination, phosphatidylethanolamine and the other phosphatides increasing by 39-74%. Smaller elevations occurred after 1-3 weeks. The combination also increased the vesicular protein Synapsin-1 by 41%, the postsynaptic protein PSD-95 by 38% and the neurite neurofibrillar proteins NF-70 and NF-M by up to 102% and 48%, respectively. However, it had no effect on the cytoskeletal protein beta-tubulin. Hence, the quantity of synaptic membrane probably increased. The precursors act by enhancing the substrate saturation of enzymes that initiate their incorporation into phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine and by UTP-mediated activation of P2Y receptors. Alzheimer’s disease brains contain fewer and smaller synapses and reduced levels of synaptic proteins, membrane phosphatides, choline and DHA. The three phosphatide precursors might thus be useful in treating this disease.

Brain Res. 2006 May 9;1088(1):83-92

Dietary uridine-5’-monophosphate supplementation increases potassium-evoked dopamine release and promotes neurite outgrowth in aged rats.

Membrane phospholipids like phosphatidylcholine (PC) are required for cellular growth and repair, and specifically for synaptic function. PC synthesis is controlled by cellular levels of its precursor, cytidine-5’-diphosphate choline (CDP-choline), which is produced from cytidine triphosphate (CTP) and phosphocholine. In rat PC12 cells exogenous uridine was shown to elevate intracellular CDP-choline levels, by promoting the synthesis of uridine triphosphate (UTP), which was partly converted to CTP. In such cells uridine also enhanced the neurite outgrowth produced by nerve growth factor (NGF). The present study assessed the effect of dietary supplementation with uridine-5’-monophosphate disodium (UMP-2Na+, an additive in infant milk formulas) on striatal dopamine (DA) release in aged rats. Male Fischer 344 rats consumed either a control diet or one fortified with 2.5% UMP for 6 wk, ad libitum. In vivo microdialysis was then used to measure spontaneous and potassium (K+)-evoked DA release in the right striatum. Potassium (K+)-evoked DA release was significantly greater among UMP-treated rats, i.e., 341+/-21% of basal levels vs. 283+/-9% of basal levels in control rats (p<0.05); basal DA release was unchanged. In general, each animal’s K+-evoked DA release correlated with its striatal DA content, measured postmortem. The levels of neurofilament-70 and neurofilament-M proteins, biomarkers of neurite outgrowth, increased to 182+/-25% (p<0.05) and 221+/-34% (p<0.01) of control values, respectively, with UMP consumption. Hence, UMP treatment not only enhances membrane phosphatide production but also can modulate two membrane-dependent processes, neurotransmitter release and neurite outgrowth, in vivo.

J Mol Neurosci. 2005;27(1):137-45

Uridine enhances neurite outgrowth in nerve growth factor-differentiated PC12 [corrected]

During rapid cell growth the availability of phospholipid precursors like cytidine triphosphate and diacylglycerol can become limiting in the formation of key membrane constituents like phosphatidylcholine. Uridine, a normal plasma constituent, can be converted to cytidine triphosphate in PC12 [corrected] cells and intact brain, and has been shown to produce a resulting increase in phosphatidylcholine synthesis. To determine whether treatments that elevate uridine availability also thereby augment membrane production, we exposed PC12 [corrected] cells which had been differentiated by nerve growth factor to various concentrations of uridine, and measured the numbers of neurites the cells produced. After 4 but not 2 days uridine significantly and dose-dependently increased the number of neurites per cell. This increase was accompanied by increases in neurite branching and in levels of the neurite proteins neurofilament M [corrected] and neurofilament 70. Uridine treatment also increased intracellular levels of cytidine triphosphate, which suggests that uridine may affect neurite outgrowth by enhancing phosphatidylcholine synthesis. Uridine may also stimulate neuritogenesis by a second mechanism, since the increase in neurite outgrowth was mimicked by exposing the cells to uridine triphosphate, and could be blocked by various drugs known to antagonize P2Y receptors (suramin; Reactive Blue 2; pyridoxal-phosphate-6-azophenyl-2’,4’ disulfonic acid). Treatment of the cells with uridine or uridine triphosphate stimulated their accumulation of inositol phosphates, and this effect was also blocked by pyridoxal-phosphate-6-azophenyl-2’,4’ disulfonic acid. Moreover, degradation of nucleotides by apyrase blocked the stimulatory effect of uridine on neuritogenesis. Taken together these data indicate that uridine can regulate the output of neurites from differentiating PC12 [corrected] cells, and suggest that it does so in two ways, i.e. both by acting through cytidine triphosphate as a precursor for phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis and through uridine triphosphate as an agonist for P2Y receptors.

Neuroscience. 2005;134(1):207-14

Chronic administration of UMP ameliorates the impairment of hippocampal-dependent memory in impoverished rats.

We have previously shown that chronic, but not acute, dietary supplementation with CDP-choline prevents the hippocampal-dependent memory deficits manifested by aged rats and by rats reared under impoverished environmental conditions. In rats, dietary CDP-choline is rapidly metabolized into cytidine and choline; the cytidine is then readily converted to uridine, which enters the brain and, via conversion to UTP and CTP, increases brain levels of membrane phosphatides. Hence, we have assessed whether administering a uridine source (UMP) instead of CDP-choline can also ameliorate the memory deficits in rats reared under impoverished environmental conditions. At weaning, 32 male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to either enriched (EC) or impoverished (IC) conditions for 3 mo. Concurrently, IC and EC rats were given access to either a control diet or a diet supplemented with 0.1% UMP. Rats were then assessed for learning and memory skills using 2 versions of the Morris water maze, the hidden platform version that assesses hippocampal-dependent cognitive memory processing, and the visible platform version that assesses striatal-dependent habit memory. As expected, exposure to the impoverished environment impaired hippocampal-dependent, but not striatal-dependent learning and memory. Supplementation with UMP prevented this cognitive dysfunction, as had been observed with supplemental CDP-choline. These results suggest that IC rats do not use and/or remember their spatial strategies for task solving as well as EC rats, and that long-term dietary supplementation with UMP alleviates this dysfunction.

J Nutr. 2006 Nov;136(11):2834-7

Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management.

Degenerative brain disorders (neurodegeneration) can be frustrating for both conventional and alternative practitioners. A more comprehensive, integrative approach is urgently needed. One emerging focus for intervention is brain energetics. Specifically, mitochondrial insufficiency contributes to the etiopathology of many such disorders. Electron leakages inherent to mitochondrial energetics generate reactive oxygen free radical species that may place the ultimate limit on lifespan. Exogenous toxins, such as mercury and other environmental contaminants, exacerbate mitochondrial electron leakage, hastening their demise and that of their host cells. Studies of the brain in Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Down syndrome, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, aging, and constitutive disorders demonstrate impairments of the mitochondrial citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) enzymes. Imaging or metabolic assays frequently reveal energetic insufficiency and depleted energy reserve in brain tissue in situ. Orthomolecular nutrients involved in mitochondrial metabolism provide clinical benefit. Among these are the essential minerals and the B vitamin group; vitamins E and K; and the antioxidant and energetic cofactors alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10; CoQ10), and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, reduced (NADH). Recent advances in the area of stem cells and growth factors encourage optimism regarding brain regeneration. The trophic nutrients acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR), glycerophosphocholine (GPC), and phosphatidylserine (PS) provide mitochondrial support and conserve growth factor receptors; all three improved cognition in double-blind trials. The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is enzymatically combined with GPC and PS to form membrane phospholipids for nerve cell expansion. Practical recommendations are presented for integrating these safe and well-tolerated orthomolecular nutrients into a comprehensive dietary supplementation program for brain vitality and productive life span.

Altern Med Rev. 2005 Dec;10(4):268-93

Neuroprotective effects of Withania somnifera on 6-hydroxydopamine induced Parkinsonism in rats.

6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) is one of the most widely used rat models for Parkinson’s disease. There is ample evidence in the literature that 6-OHDA elicits its toxic manifestations through oxidant stress. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-parkinsonian effects of Withania somnifera extract, which has been reported to have potent anti-oxidant, anti-peroxidative and free radical quenching properties in various diseased conditions. Rats were pretreated with 100, 200 and 300 mg/kg b.w. of the W. somnifera extract orally for 3 weeks. On day 21, 2 microL of 6-OHDA (10 microg in 0.1% in ascorbic acid-saline) was infused into the right striatum while sham operated group received 2 microL of the vehicle. Three weeks after 6-OHDA injections, rats were tested for neurobehavioral activity and were killed 5 weeks after lesioning for the estimation of lipidperoxidation, reduced glutathione content, activities of glutathione-S-transferase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase, catecholamine content, dopaminergic D2 receptor binding and tyrosine hydroxylase expression. W. somnifera extract was found to reverse all the parameters significantly in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, the study demonstrates that the extract of W. somnifera may be helpful in protecting the neuronal injury in Parkinson’s disease.

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2005 Mar;24(3):137-47

Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) and antioxidant defense in the brain of adult rats.

BACKGROUND: Proanthocy-anidin (PA) is a naturally occurring antioxidant from grape seed extract. The present study aims at assessing the neuroprotective effects of grape seed proanthocyanidin (GSPE) on the cerebral cortex (CC), cerebellum (CB), and hippocampus (HC) in the adult rat brain. MATERIAL/METHODS: GSPE was orally administered at 25, 50, and 75 mg per kg body weight daily and for a total period of 9 weeks. Antioxidant enzymes (AOEs), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) were analyzed along with malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl content (PCC) as markers of lipid peroxidation (LPO) and protein oxidation (PO). The cholinergic system was studied by analyzing choline acetyl tranferase (ChAT) and acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activites along with acetylcholine content (ACh). RESULTS: The results obtained revealed an increased SOD activity in the 75-mg PA-supplemented animals, with a substantial decrease in MDA and PCC. The cholinergic neurotransmittary system analysis showed increased ChAT activity indicative of increased Ach content in the supplemented animals and the increase was more in the 75-mg PA group with a concomitant and moderate decrease in AChE activity. Regional changes were more with reference to HC. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that PA intake in moderately low quantity is effective in up-regulating the antioxidant defense mechanism by attenuating LPO and PO. Changes in the cholinergic system, however, indicate an increase in the ACh concentration with a moderate reduction in AChE activity, suggesting further that PA may have a potent role in enhancing cognition in older rats.

Med Sci Monit. 2006 Apr;12(4):BR124-9

Blueberry supplemented diet reverses age-related decline in hippocampal HSP70 neuroprotection.

Dietary supplementation with antioxidant rich foods can decrease the level of oxidative stress in brain regions and can ameliorate age-related deficits in neuronal and behavioral functions. We examined whether short-term supplementation with blueberries might enhance the brain’s ability to generate a heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) mediated neuroprotective response to stress. Hippocampal (HC) regions from young and old rats fed either a control or a supplemented diet for 10 weeks were subjected to an in vitro inflammatory challenge (LPS) and then examined for levels of HSP70 at various times post LPS (30, 90 and 240 min). While baseline levels of HSP70 did not differ among the various groups compared to young control diet rats, increases in HSP70 protein levels in response to an in vitro LPS challenge were significantly less in old as compared to young control diet rats at the 30, 90, and 240 min time points. However, it appeared that the blueberry diet completely restored the HSP70 response to LPS in the old rats at the 90 and 240 min times. This suggests that a short-term blueberry (BB) intervention may result in improved HSP70-mediated protection against a number of neurodegenerative processes in the brain. Results are discussed in terms of the multiplicity of the effects of the BB supplementation which appear to range from antioxidant/anti-inflammatory activity to signaling.

Neurobiol Aging. 2006 Feb;27(2):344-50

Modulatory role of grape seed extract on age-related oxidative DNA damage in central nervous system of rats.

Aging is the accumulation of diverse deleterious changes in the cells and tissues leading to increased risk of diseases. Oxidative stress is considered as a major risk factor and contributes to age related increase in DNA oxidation and DNA protein cross-links in central nervous system during aging. In the present study, we have evaluated the salubrious role of grape seed extract on accumulation of oxidative DNA damage products such as 8-OHdG and DNA protein cross-links in aged rats. Male albino rats of Wistar strain were divided into four groups: Group I, young control rats; Group II, young rats treated with grape seed extract (100mg/kgb.wt.) for 30 days; Group III, aged control rats; Group IV, aged rats supplemented with grape seed extract (100mg/kgb.wt.) for 30 days. Our results, thus, revealed that grape seed extract has inhibiting effect on the accumulation of age-related oxidative DNA damages in spinal cord and in various brain regions such as cerebral cortex, striatum and hippocampus.

Brain Res Bull. 2006 Feb 15;68(6):469-73

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