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LE Magazine February 2007


Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer.

PURPOSE: Phytochemicals in plants may have cancer preventive benefits through antioxidation and via gene-nutrient interactions. We sought to determine the effects of pomegranate juice (a major source of antioxidants) consumption on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) progression in men with a rising PSA following primary therapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A phase II, Simon two-stage clinical trial for men with rising PSA after surgery or radiotherapy was conducted. Eligible patients had a detectable PSA > 0.2 and < 5 ng/mL and Gleason score < or = 7. Patients were treated with 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily (Wonderful variety, 570 mg total polyphenol gallic acid equivalents) until disease progression. Clinical end points included safety and effect on serum PSA, serum-induced proliferation and apoptosis of LNCaP cells, serum lipid peroxidation, and serum nitric oxide levels. RESULTS: The study was fully accrued after efficacy criteria were met. There were no serious adverse events reported and the treatment was well tolerated. Mean PSA doubling time significantly increased with treatment from a mean of 15 months at baseline to 54 months posttreatment (P < 0.001). In vitro assays comparing pretreatment and posttreatment patient serum on the growth of LNCaP showed a 12% decrease in cell proliferation and a 17% increase in apoptosis (P = 0.0048 and 0.0004, respectively), a 23% increase in serum nitric oxide (P = 0.0085), and significant (P < 0.02) reductions in oxidative state and sensitivity to oxidation of serum lipids after versus before pomegranate juice consumption. CONCLUSIONS: We report the first clinical trial of pomegranate juice in patients with prostate cancer. The statistically significant prolongation of PSA doubling time, coupled with corresponding laboratory effects on prostate cancer in vitro cell proliferation and apoptosis as well as oxidative stress, warrant further testing in a placebo-controlled study.

Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;12(13):4018-26

Pomegranate flower improves cardiac lipid metabolism in a diabetic rat model: role of lowering circulating lipids.

Excess triglyceride (TG) accumulation and increased fatty acid (FA) oxidation in the diabetic heart contribute to cardiac dysfunction. Punica granatum flower (PGF) is a traditional antidiabetic medicine. Here, we investigated the effects and mechanisms of action of PGF extract on abnormal cardiac lipid metabolism both in vivo and in vitro. Long-term oral administration of PGF extract (500 mg kg(-1)) reduced cardiac TG content, accompanied by a decrease in plasma levels of TG and total cholesterol in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, indicating improvement by PGF extract of abnormal cardiac TG accumulation and hyperlipidemia in this diabetic model. Treatment of ZDF rats with PGF extract lowered plasma FA levels. Furthermore, the treatment suppressed cardiac overexpression of mRNAs encoding for FA transport protein, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1, acyl-CoA oxidase and 5’-AMP-activated protein kinase alpha2, and restored downregulated cardiac acetyl-CoA carboxylase mRNA expression in ZDF rats, whereas it showed little effect in Zucker lean rats. The results suggest that PGF extract inhibits increased cardiac FA uptake and oxidation in the diabetic condition. PGF extract and its component oleanolic acid enhanced PPAR-alpha luciferase reporter gene activity in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, and this effect was completely suppressed by a selective PPAR-alpha antagonist MK-886, consistent with the presence of PPAR-alpha activator activity in the extract and this component. Our findings suggest that PGF extract improves abnormal cardiac lipid metabolism in ZDF rats by activating PPAR-alpha and thereby lowering circulating lipid and inhibiting its cardiac uptake.

Br J Pharmacol. 2005 Jul;145(6):767-74

Pomegranate juice inhibits oxidized LDL uptake and cholesterol biosynthesis in macrophages.

Macrophage cholesterol accumulation and foam cell formation are the hallmarks of early atherogenesis. Pomegranate juice (PJ) was shown to inhibit macrophage foam cell formation and development of atherosclerotic lesions. The aim of this study was to elucidate possible mechanisms by which PJ reduces cholesterol accumulation in macrophages. J774.A1 macrophages were preincubated with PJ followed by analysis of cholesterol influx [evaluated as LDL or as oxidized LDL (Ox-LDL) cellular degradation], cholesterol efflux and cholesterol biosynthesis. Preincubation of macrophages with PJ resulted in a significant reduction (P<.01) in Ox-LDL degradation by 40%. On the contrary, PJ had no effect on macrophage degradation of native LDL or on macrophage cholesterol efflux. Macrophage cholesterol biosynthesis was inhibited by 50% (P<.01) after cell incubation with PJ. This inhibition, however, was not mediated at the 3-hydroxy-3 methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase level along the biosynthetic pathway. We conclude that PJ-mediated suppression of Ox-LDL degradation and of cholesterol biosynthesis in macrophages can lead to reduced cellular cholesterol accumulation and foam cell formation.

J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Sep;16(9):570-6

Pomegranate juice protects nitric oxide against oxidative destruction and enhances the biological actions of nitric oxide.

Pomegranate juice (PJ), which is a rich source of potent flavonoid antioxidants, was tested for its capacity to protect nitric oxide (NO) against oxidative destruction and enhance the biological actions of NO. Employing chemiluminescence headspace analysis, PJ was found to be a potent inhibitor of superoxide anion-mediated disappearance of NO. PJ was much more potent than Concord grape juice, blueberry juice, red wine, ascorbic acid, and DL-alpha-tocopherol. As little as 3 microl of a 6-fold dilution of PJ, in a reaction volume of 5000 microl, produced a marked antioxidant effect, whereas 300 microl of undiluted blueberry juice or nearly 1000 microl of undiluted Concord grape juice were required to produce similar effects. PJ and other antioxidant-containing products were found to augment the anti-proliferative action of NO (DETA/NO) on vascular smooth muscle cell (rat aorta) proliferation. PJ was much more effective than the other products tested and elicited no effects when tested alone in the absence of added NO. Similarly, neither PJ nor the other products enhanced the anti-proliferative action of alpha-difluoromethylornithine, a stable substance that inhibits cell growth by NO-independent mechanisms. In order to determine whether PJ is capable of increasing the production of NO by vascular endothelial cells, PJ was tested for its capacity to upregulate and/or activate endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) in bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells. PJ elicited no effects on eNOS protein expression or catalytic activity. Moreover, PJ did not enhance promoter activity in the eNOS gene (COS-7 cells transfected with eNOS). These observations indicate that PJ possesses potent antioxidant activity that results in marked protection of NO against oxidative destruction, thereby resulting in augmentation of the biological actions of NO.

Nitric Oxide. 2006 Sep;15(2):93-102

Prostate cancer prevention through pomegranate fruit.

Prostate cancer (CaP) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among U.S. males with a similar trend in many Western countries. CaP is an ideal candidate disease for chemoprevention because it is typically diagnosed in men over 50 years of age, and thus even a modest delay in disease progression achieved through pharmacological or nutritional intervention could significantly impact the quality of life of these patients. In this regard we and others have proposed the use of dietary antioxidants as candidate CaP chemopreventive agents. The fruit pomegranate derived from the tree Punica granatum has been shown to possess strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In a recent study, we showed that pomegranate fruit extract (PFE), through modulations in the cyclin kinase inhibitor-cyclin-dependent kinase machinery, resulted in inhibition of cell growth followed by apoptosis of highly aggressive human prostate carcinoma PC3 cells. These events were associated with alterations in the levels of Bax and Bcl-2 shifting the Bax:Bcl-2 ratio in favor of apoptosis. Further, we showed that oral administration of a human acceptable dose of PFE to athymic nude mice implanted with CWR22Rnu1 cells resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth with concomitant reduction in secretion of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the serum. The outcome of this study could have a direct practical implication and translational relevance to CaP patients, because it suggests that pomegranate consumption may retard CaP progression, which may prolong the survival and quality of life of the patients.

Cell Cycle. 2006 Feb;5(4):371-3

Pomegranate fruit juice for chemoprevention and chemotherapy of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common invasive malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among U.S. males, with a similar trend in many Western countries. One approach to control this malignancy is its prevention through the use of agents present in diet consumed by humans. Pomegranate from the tree Punica granatum possesses strong antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. We recently showed that pomegranate fruit extract (PFE) possesses remarkable antitumor-promoting effects in mouse skin. In this study, employing human prostate cancer cells, we evaluated the antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties of PFE. PFE (10-100 microg/ml; 48 h) treatment of highly aggressive human prostate cancer PC3 cells resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth/cell viability and induction of apoptosis. Immunoblot analysis revealed that PFE treatment of PC3 cells resulted in (i) induction of Bax and Bak (proapoptotic); (ii) down-regulation of Bcl-X(L) and Bcl-2 (antiapoptotic); (iii) induction of WAF1/p21 and KIP1/p27; (iv) a decrease in cyclins D1, D2, and E; and (v) a decrease in cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) 2, cdk4, and cdk6 expression. These data establish the involvement of the cyclin kinase inhibitor-cyclin-cdk network during the antiproliferative effects of PFE. Oral administration of PFE (0.1% and 0.2%, wt/vol) to athymic nude mice implanted with androgen-sensitive CWR22Rnu1 cells resulted in a significant inhibition in tumor growth concomitant with a significant decrease in serum prostate-specific antigen levels. We suggest that pomegranate juice may have cancer-chemopreventive as well as cancer-chemotherapeutic effects against prostate cancer in humans.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 11;102(41):14813-8

Pomegranate juice reduces oxidized low-density lipoprotein downregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in human coronary endothelial cells.

We examined the hypothesis that pomegranate juice (PJ) can revert the potent downregulation of the expression of endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (NOSIII) induced by oxidized low-density liporotein (oxLDL) in human coronary endothelial cells. Western blot and Northern blot analyses showed a significant decrease of NOSIII expression after a 24-h treatment with oxLDL. Accordingly, we observed a significant dose-dependent reduction in nitric oxide bioactivity represented by both basal and bradykinin-stimulated cellular cGMP accumulation. These phenomena were corrected significantly by the concomitant treatment with PJ. Our data suggest that PJ can exert beneficial effects on the evolution of clinical vascular complications, coronary heart disease, and atherogenesis in humans by enhancing the NOSIII bioactivity.

Nitric Oxide. 2006 Nov;15(3):259-63

Pomegranate byproduct administration to apolipoprotein e-deficient mice attenuates atherosclerosis development as a result of decreased macrophage oxidative stress and reduced cellular uptake of oxidized low-density lipoprotein.

The effects of a pomegranate byproduct (PBP, which includes the whole pomegranate fruit left after juice preparation) on atherosclerosis development in apolipoprotein E-deficient (E degrees ) mice were studied. Consumption of PBP (17 or 51.5 microg of gallic acid equiv/kg/day) by the mice resulted in a significant reduction in atherosclerotic lesion size by up to 57%. PBP consumption significantly reduced oxidative stress in the mice peritoneal macrophages (MPM): Cellular lipid peroxide content decreased by up to 42%, the reduced glutathione levels increased by up to 53%, and paraoxonase 2 lactonase activity increased by up to 50%, as compared to MPM from E degrees mice that consumed only water. Furthermore, oxidized low-density lipoprotein (Ox-LDL) uptake by the MPM was reduced by up to 19%. Similar results were observed also in vitro. Treatment of J774A.1 macrophages with PBP (10 or 50 micromol/L of total polyphenols) significantly decreased both cellular total peroxide content and Ox-LDL uptake. It was thus concluded that PBP significantly attenuates atherosclerosis development by its antioxidant properties.

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Mar 8;54(5):1928-35

A retrospective study of the relationship between biomarkers of atherosclerosis and erectile dysfunction in 988 men.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is associated with clinical atherosclerosis and several atherosclerotic risk factors including smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Clinical atherosclerosis is also associated with these same risk factors and with biomarkers of inflammation, thrombosis, endothelial cell activation. We evaluated the cross-sectional association between the degree of ED and levels of atherosclerotic biomarkers. A subcohort of 988 US male health professionals between the ages 46 and 81 years as part of an ongoing epidemiologic study had atherosclerotic biomarkers measured from blood collected in 1994-1995. These same men had in 2000, been retrospectively asked about erectile function in 1995 and in 2000. Biennial questionnaires since 1986 assessed medical conditions, medications, smoking, physical activity, body mass index, alcohol intake. The retrospective assessment of erectile function in 2000 for 1995 in these 988 men ranged from very good - 28.2%, good - 25.1%, fair - 19.2%, poor - 13.6%, to very poor - 13.9%. Men with poor to very poor erectile function compared to men with good and very good erectile function had 2.9 the odds of having elevated Factor VII levels (P=0.03), 1.9 times the odds of having elevated vascular cell adhesion molecule (P=0.13) and 2.0 times the odds of having elevated intracellular adhesion molecule (P=0.06) and 2.1 times the odds of having elevated total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein ratio (P=0.02) comparing the top to bottom quintiles for each atherosclerotic biomarker after multivariate adjustment. Lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor receptor, C-reactive protein and fibrinogen were not associated with the degree of erectile function after adjustment. We conclude that selected biomarkers for endothelial function, thrombosis and dyslipidemia but not inflammation are associated with the degree of ED in this cross-sectional analysis. Future studies evaluating the prospective association of ED, endothelial function and cardiovascular disease appear warranted.

Int J Impot Res. 2006 Aug 17