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1.  The Effect of Chromosome 9p21 Variants on Cardiovascular Disease May Be Modified by Dietary Intake: Evidence from a Case/Control and a Prospective Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(10):e1001106.
Ron Do and colleagues find that a prudent diet high in raw vegetables may modify the increased genetic risk of cardiovascular disease conferred by the chromosome 9p21 SNP.
One of the most robust genetic associations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the Chromosome 9p21 region. However, the interaction of this locus with environmental factors has not been extensively explored. We investigated the association of 9p21 with myocardial infarction (MI) in individuals of different ethnicities, and tested for an interaction with environmental factors.
Methods and Findings
We genotyped four 9p21 SNPs in 8,114 individuals from the global INTERHEART study. All four variants were associated with MI, with odds ratios (ORs) of 1.18 to 1.20 (1.85×10−8≤p≤5.21×10−7). A significant interaction (p = 4.0×10−4) was observed between rs2383206 and a factor-analysis-derived “prudent” diet pattern score, for which a major component was raw vegetables. An effect of 9p21 on MI was observed in the group with a low prudent diet score (OR = 1.32, p = 6.82×10−7), but the effect was diminished in a step-wise fashion in the medium (OR = 1.17, p = 4.9×10−3) and high prudent diet scoring groups (OR = 1.02, p = 0.68) (p = 0.014 for difference). We also analyzed data from 19,129 individuals (including 1,014 incident cases of CVD) from the prospective FINRISK study, which used a closely related dietary variable. In this analysis, the 9p21 risk allele demonstrated a larger effect on CVD risk in the groups with diets low or average for fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.22, p = 3.0×10−4, and HR = 1.35, p = 4.1×10−3, respectively) compared to the group with high consumption of these foods (HR = 0.96, p = 0.73) (p = 0.0011 for difference). The combination of the least prudent diet and two copies of the risk allele was associated with a 2-fold increase in risk for MI (OR = 1.98, p = 2.11×10−9) in the INTERHEART study and a 1.66-fold increase in risk for CVD in the FINRISK study (HR = 1.66, p = 0.0026).
The risk of MI and CVD conferred by Chromosome 9p21 SNPs appears to be modified by a prudent diet high in raw vegetables and fruits.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)—diseases that affect the heart and/or the blood vessels—are a leading cause of illness and death worldwide. In the United States, for example, the leading cause of death is coronary heart disease, a CVD in which narrowing of the heart's blood vessels by fatty deposits slows the blood supply to the heart and may eventually cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction, or MI); the third leading cause of death in the US is stroke, a CVD in which the brain's blood supply is interrupted. Environmental factors such as diet, physical activity, and smoking alter a person's risk of developing CVD. In addition, certain genetic variants (alterations in the DNA that forms the body's blueprint; DNA is packed into structures called chromosomes) alter the risk of developing CVD and are passed from parent to child. Thus, in CVD, as in most common diseases, both genetics and the environment play a role.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recent studies have identified several genetic variants that are associated with an increased risk of developing CVD. One of the most robust of these genetic associations is a cluster of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, differences in a single DNA building block) in a chromosomal region (locus) called 9p21. So far, this association has been mainly studied in European populations. Moreover, the interaction of this locus with environmental factors has not been extensively studied. A better understanding of how 9p21 variants affect CVD risk in people of different ethnicities and of the interaction between this locus and environmental factors could allow the development of targeted strategies for the prevention of CVD. In this study, the researchers investigate the association of 9p21 risk variants with CVD in people of different ethnicities and test for an interaction between this locus and environmental factors.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers assessed four 9p21 SNPs in people enrolled in the INTERHEART study, a global retrospective case-control study that investigated potential MI risk factors by comparing people who had had an acute non-fatal MI with similar people without heart disease. All four SNP risk variants increased the risk of MI by about a fifth. However, the effect of the SNPs on MI was influenced by the “prudent” diet pattern score of the INTERHEART participants, a score that includes fresh fruit and vegetable intake as recorded in food frequency questionnaires. That is, the risk of MI in people carrying SNP risk variants was influenced by their diet. The strongest interaction was seen with an SNP called rs2383206, but although rs2383206 carriers who ate a diet poor in fruits and vegetables had a higher risk of MI than people with a similar diet who did not carry this SNP, rs2383206 carriers and non-carriers who ate a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet had a comparable MI risk. Overall, the combination of the least “prudent” diet and two copies of the risk variant (human cells contain two complete sets of chromosomes) was associated with a two-fold increase in risk for MI in the INTERHEART study. Additionally, data collected in the FINRISK study, which characterized healthy individuals living in Finland at baseline and then followed them to see whether they developed CVD, revealed a similar interaction between diet and 9p21 SNPs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the risk of CVD conferred by chromosome 9p21 SNPs may be influenced by diet in multiple ethnic groups. Importantly, they suggest that the deleterious effect of 9p21 SNPs on CVD might be mitigated by consuming a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by recall bias in the INTERHEART study (that is, some people may not have remembered their diet accurately) and by the small number of CVD cases in the FINRISK study. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that gene–environment interactions are important drivers of CVD, and they raise the possibility that a sound diet can mediate the effects of 9p21 SNPs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The American Heart Association provides information about many types of cardiovascular disease for patients, caregivers, and professionals and tips on keeping the heart healthy
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and stroke
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and keeping the heart healthy
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on a wide range of cardiovascular diseases
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on heart diseases, vascular diseases, and stroke (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a simple fact sheet on gene-environment interactions; the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provides links to other information on gene-environment interactions
More information is available on the INTERHEART study and on the FINRISK study
PMCID: PMC3191151  PMID: 22022235
2.  Chronic and acute effects of walnuts on antioxidant capacity and nutritional status in humans: a randomized, cross-over pilot study 
Nutrition Journal  2010;9:21.
Compared with other common plant foods, walnuts (Juglans regia) are consistently ranked among the highest in antioxidant capacity. In vitro, walnut polyphenols inhibit plasma and LDL oxidation, while in animal models they lower biomarkers of oxidative stress and raise antioxidant capacity. A limited number of human feeding trials indicate that walnuts improve some measures of antioxidant status, but not others.
A 19 wk, randomized crossover trial was conducted in 21 generally healthy men and postmenopausal women ≥50 y to study the dose-response effects of walnut intake on biomarkers of antioxidant activity, oxidative stress, and nutrient status. Subjects were randomized to receive either 21 or 42 g raw walnuts/d during each 6 wk intervention phase with a 6 wk washout between phases. Subjects were instructed to consume their usual diet, but refrain from eating any other tree nuts, seeds, peanuts, or ellagitannin-rich foods during the entire study, and other polyphenol-rich foods for 2 d prior to each study visit.
Compared to baseline levels, red blood cell (RBC) linoleic acid and plasma pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) were significantly higher after 6 wk with 42 g/d walnuts (P < 0.05 for both). Overall, changes in plasma total thiols, and other antioxidant biomarkers, were not significant with either walnut dose. However, when compared to fasting levels, plasma total thiols were elevated within 1 h of walnut consumption with both doses during the baseline and end visits for each intervention phase (P < 0.05 for all). Despite the observed increase in RBC linoleic and linolenic acids associated with walnut consumption, this substrate for lipid peroxidation only minimally affected malondialdehyde (MDA) and antioxidant capacity. The proportional changes in MDA and Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) were consistent with a dose-response effect, although no significant within- or between-group differences were observed for these measures.
Walnut consumption did not significantly change the plasma antioxidant capacity of healthy, well-nourished older adults in this pilot study. However, improvements in linoleic acid and pyridoxal phosphate were observed with chronic consumption, while total plasma thiols were enhanced acutely. Future studies investigating the antioxidant effects of walnuts in humans are warranted, but should include either a larger sample size or a controlled feeding intervention.
Trial Registration NCT00626691
PMCID: PMC2885304  PMID: 20462428
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2010;17(5):1149-1162.
Gene-environment interplay modulates Inflammatory Bowel Diseases [IBD]. Dioxin-like compounds can activate the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor [AhR] and alter macrophage function as well as T cell polarization. We hypothesized that attenuation of the AhR signaling pathway will ameliorate colitis in a murine model of IBD.
DSS colitis was induced in C57BL/6 AhR null mice [AhR −/−], heterozygous mice [AhR−/+], and their wild type [WT] littermates. Clinical and morphopathological parameters were used to compare the groups. Patients: AhR pathway activation was analyzed in biopsy specimens from 25 IBD patients and 15 healthy controls.
AhR −/− mice died before the end of the treatment. However, AhR −/+ mice exhibited decreased disease activity compared to WT mice. The AhR −/+ mice expressed less proinflammatory cytokines such as TNFα (6.1 versus 15.7 fold increase) and IL17 (23.7 versus 67.9 fold increase) and increased antiinflammatory IL-10 (2.3 fold increase) compared with the AhR+/+ mice in the colon. Colonic macrophage infiltration was attenuated in the AhR −/+ group. AhR and its downstream targets were significantly upregulated in IBD patients versus control (CYP1A1 – 19.9, and IL8-10 fold increase).
Attenuation of the AhR receptor expression resulted in a protective effect during DSS-induced colitis, while the absence of AhR exacerbated the disease. Abnormal AhR pathway activation in the intestinal mucosa of IBD patients may promote chronic inflammation. Modulation of AhR signaling pathway via the diet, cessation of smoking or administration of AhR antagonists could be viable strategies for the treatment of IBD.
PMCID: PMC3013235  PMID: 20878756
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor; Adiponectin; Angiotensin; ER stress; Th1; Th2; Th17
4.  Supplementation of a western diet with golden kiwifruits (Actinidia chinensis var.'Hort 16A':) effects on biomarkers of oxidation damage and antioxidant protection 
Nutrition Journal  2011;10:54.
The health positive effects of diets high in fruits and vegetables are generally not replicated in supplementation trials with isolated antioxidants and vitamins, and as a consequence the emphasis of chronic disease prevention has shifted to whole foods and whole food products.
We carried out a human intervention trial with the golden kiwifruit, Actinidia chinensis, measuring markers of antioxidant status, DNA stability, plasma lipids, and platelet aggregation. Our hypothesis was that supplementation of a normal diet with kiwifruits would have an effect on biomarkers of oxidative status. Healthy volunteers supplemented a normal diet with either one or two golden kiwifruits per day in a cross-over study lasting 2 × 4 weeks. Plasma levels of vitamin C, and carotenoids, and the ferric reducing activity of plasma (FRAP) were measured. Malondialdehyde was assessed as a biomarker of lipid oxidation. Effects on DNA damage in circulating lymphocytes were estimated using the comet assay with enzyme modification to measure specific lesions; another modification allowed estimation of DNA repair.
Plasma vitamin C increased after supplementation as did resistance towards H2O2-induced DNA damage. Purine oxidation in lymphocyte DNA decreased significantly after one kiwifruit per day, pyrimidine oxidation decreased after two fruits per day. Neither DNA base excision nor nucleotide excision repair was influenced by kiwifruit consumption. Malondialdehyde was not affected, but plasma triglycerides decreased. Whole blood platelet aggregation was decreased by kiwifruit supplementation.
Golden kiwifruit consumption strengthens resistance towards endogenous oxidative damage.
PMCID: PMC3118331  PMID: 21586177
5.  Antioxidant intake, plasma antioxidants and oxidative stress in a randomized, controlled, parallel, Mediterranean dietary intervention study on patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Nutrition Journal  2003;2:5.
Previously we have reported that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) obtained a significant reduction in disease activity by adopting a Mediterranean-type diet. The present study was carried out to investigate the antioxidant intake, the plasma levels of antioxidants and a marker of oxidative stress (malondialdehyde) during the study presented earlier.
RA patients randomized to either a Mediterranean type diet (MD group; n = 26) or a control diet (CD group; n = 25) were compared during a three month dietary intervention study. Their antioxidant intake was assessed by means of diet history interviews and their intake of antioxidant-rich foods by a self-administered questionnaire. The plasma levels of retinol, antioxidants (α- and γ-tocopherol, β-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C and uric acid) and urinary malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker for oxidative stress, were determined using high performance liquid chromatography. The Student's t-test for independent samples and paired samples were used to test differences between and within groups. For variables with skewed distributions Mann-Whitney U-test and Wilcoxon signed ranks test were performed. To evaluate associations between dietary intake of antioxidants, as well as between disease activity, MDA and antioxidants we used Pearson's product moment correlation or Spearman's rank correlation.
The MD group had significantly higher intake frequencies of antioxidant-rich foods, and also higher intakes of vitamin C (p = 0.014), vitamin E (p = 0.007) and selenium (p = 0.004), and a lower intake of retinol (p = 0.049), compared to the CD group. However, the difference between the groups regarding vitamin C intake was not significant when under- and over-repoters were excluded (p = 0.066). There were no changes in urine MDA or in the plasma levels of antioxidants (after p-lipid adjustments of the tocopherol results), from baseline to the end of the study. The levels of retinol, vitamin C and uric acid were negatively correlated to disease activity variables. No correlation was found between antioxidant intake and the plasma levels of antioxidants.
Despite an increase in reported consumption of antioxidant-rich foods during the Mediterranean diet intervention, the levels of plasma antioxidants and urine MDA did not change. However, the plasma levels of vitamin C, retinol and uric acid were inversely correlated to variables related to RA disease activity.
PMCID: PMC194256  PMID: 12952549
6.  Postprandial antioxidant gene expression is modified by Mediterranean diet supplemented with coenzyme Q10 in elderly men and women 
Age  2011;35(1):159-170.
Postprandial oxidative stress is characterized by an increased susceptibility of the organism towards oxidative damage after consumption of a meal rich in lipids and/or carbohydrates. We have investigated whether the quality of dietary fat alters postprandial gene expression and protein levels involved in oxidative stress and whether the supplementation with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) improves this situation in an elderly population. Twenty participants were randomized to receive three isocaloric diets each for 4 weeks: Mediterranean diet supplemented with CoQ (Med + CoQ diet), Mediterranean diet (Med diet), saturated fatty acid-rich diet (SFA diet). After 12-h fast, volunteers consumed a breakfast with a fat composition similar to that consumed in each of the diets. Nrf2, p22phox and p47phox, superoxide dismutase 1 and 2 (SOD1 and SOD2), glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1), thiorredoxin reductase (TrxR) gene expression and Kelch-like ECH associating protein 1 (Keap-1) and citoplasmic and nuclear Nrf2 protein levels were determined. Med and Med + CoQ diets induced lower Nrf2, p22phox, p47phox, SOD1, SOD2 and TrxR gene expression and higher cytoplasmic Nrf2 and Keap-1 protein levels compared to the SFA diet. Moreover, Med + CoQ diet produced lower postprandial Nrf2 gene expression and lower nuclear Nrf2 protein levels compared to the other diets and lower GPx1 gene expression than the SFA diet. Our results support the antioxidant effect of a Med diet and that exogenous CoQ supplementation has a protective effects against free radical overgeneration through the lowering of postprandial oxidative stress modifying the postprandial antioxidant protein levels and reducing the postprandial expression of antioxidant genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9331-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3543746  PMID: 22057896
CoQ10; Mediterranean diet; Oxidative stress; Gene expression
7.  Vitamin and antioxidant rich diet increases MLH1 promoter DNA methylation in DMT2 subjects 
Clinical Epigenetics  2012;4(1):19.
Oxidative stress may lead to an increased level of unrepaired cellular DNA damage, which is discussed as one risk for tumor initiation. Mismatch repair (MMR) enzymes act as proofreading complexes that maintain the genomic integrity and MMR-deficient cells show an increased mutation rate. One important gene in the MMR complex is the MutL homolog 1 (MLH1) gene. Since a diet rich in antioxidants has the potential to counteract harmful effects by reactive oxygen species (ROS), we investigated the impact of an antioxidant, folate, and vitamin rich diet on the epigenetic pattern of MLH1. These effects were analyzed in individuals with non-insulin depended diabetes mellitus type 2 (NIDDM2) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG).
In this post-hoc analysis of a randomized trial we analyzed DNA methylation of MLH1, MSH2, and MGMT at baseline and after 8 weeks of intervention, consisting of 300 g vegetables and 25 ml plant oil rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids per day. DNA methylation was quantified using combined bisulfite restriction enzyme analysis (COBRA) and pyrosequencing. MLH1 and DNMT1 mRNA expression were investigated by qRT-PCR. DNA damage was assessed by COMET assay. Student’s two-tailed paired t test and one-way ANOVA with Scheffé corrected Post hoc test was used to determine significant methylation and expression differences. Two-tailed Pearson test was used to determine correlations between methylation level, gene expression, and DNA strand break amount.
The intervention resulted in significantly higher CpG methylation in two particular MLH1 promoter regions and the MGMT promoter. DNA strand breaks and methylation levels correlated significantly. The expression of MLH1, DNMT1, and the promoter methylation of MSH2 remained stable. CpG methylation levels and gene expression did not correlate.
This vitamin and antioxidant rich diet affected the CpG methylation of MLH1. The higher methylation might be a result of the ROS scavenging antioxidant rich diet, leading to lower activity of DNA demethylating enzymes. Our results suggest the hypothesis of CpG demethylation via DNA repair enzymes under these circumstances. NIDDM2 and IFG patients benefit from this simple dietary intervention involving epigenetic and DNA repair mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3579724  PMID: 23025454
MLH1; ROS; DNA methylation; Demethylation; Nutritional intervention; Diabetes; Antioxidant; Pyrosequencing
8.  Influence Of Chronic Exercise On Red Cell Antioxidant Defense, Plasma Malondialdehyde And Total Antioxidant Capacity In Hypercholesterolemic Rabbits 
Despite the knowledge on the antiatherogenic effects of exercise, the mechanism by which exercise reduces atherogenic risk remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the hypothesis that chronic exercise-induced oxidative stress may increase plasma total antioxidant capacity and antioxidant defense in the red cells. For 8 weeks, 60 male Dutch rabbits were fed rabbit chow with or without the addition of 2% cholesterol. The animals were further divided into rest and exercise groups (n = 15 for each group). Animals in exercise groups ran on a rodent treadmill at 15 m/min for 10 to 60 minutes gradually for 5 days per week for a total of 8 weeks. At the end of experiments, blood samples were collected and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) activities were determined in red blood cells. Total antioxidant capacity (TAC), malondialdehyde (MDA) and total thiol (T-SH) levels were measured in plasma. Thoracic aorta and carotid arteries were isolated for histological examination to evaluate atherosclerosis. Eight weeks of chronic exercise reduced atherogenic diet-induced atherosclerotic lesions in all the arteries studied, along with positive changes in cholesterol profile, especially increase of serum HDL-C level. Plasma MDA, TAC and T-SH concentrations were enhanced by exercise in both control and hypercholesterolemic diet groups. Erythrocyte catalase activity was significantly increased by chronic exercise (p < 0.05), whereas total SOD activity rose with exercise only in the control group. Surprisingly, GPX activity was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) in response to exercise in the control group and also in the high cholesterol diet group. Exercise is a useful tool for the prevention and regression of atherosclerosis which is evident by our findings of the enhancement of plasma TAC and positive change in serum cholesterol profile. However, the effect of exercise on red cell antioxidant activities is limited in the hypercholesterolemic animals compared to control animals, possibly in part because of alterations in the ability to adapt to exercise-induced oxidative stress in high cholesterol diet.
Key PointsPlasma MDA, TAC and T-SH concentrations were enhanced by exercise in both control and high cholesterol diet groups.GPX activity was significantly reduced in response to exercise in the control group and also in the high cholesterol diet group.Eight weeks of chronic exercise reduced atherogenic diet-induced atherosclerotic lesions in all the arteries studied.
PMCID: PMC3861771  PMID: 24357965
Chronic exercise; antioxidant; malondialdehyde; thiol; atherosclerosis
9.  A Randomised Cross-Over Pharmacokinetic Bioavailability Study of Synthetic versus Kiwifruit-Derived Vitamin C 
Nutrients  2013;5(11):4451-4461.
Kiwifruit are a rich source of vitamin C and also contain numerous phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, which may influence the bioavailability of kiwifruit-derived vitamin C. The aim of this study was to compare the relative bioavailability of synthetic versus kiwifruit-derived vitamin C using a randomised cross-over pharmacokinetic study design. Nine non-smoking males (aged 18–35 years) received either a chewable tablet (200 mg vitamin C) or the equivalent dose from gold kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis var. Sungold). Fasting blood and urine were collected half hourly to hourly over the eight hours following intervention. The ascorbate content of the plasma and urine was determined using HPLC with electrochemical detection. Plasma ascorbate levels increased from 0.5 h after the intervention (P = 0.008). No significant differences in the plasma time-concentration curves were observed between the two interventions (P = 0.645). An estimate of the total increase in plasma ascorbate indicated complete uptake of the ingested vitamin C tablet and kiwifruit-derived vitamin C. There was an increase in urinary ascorbate excretion, relative to urinary creatinine, from two hours post intervention (P < 0.001). There was also a significant difference between the two interventions, with enhanced ascorbate excretion observed in the kiwifruit group (P = 0.016). Urinary excretion was calculated as ~40% and ~50% of the ingested dose from the vitamin C tablet and kiwifruit arms, respectively. Overall, our pharmacokinetic study has shown comparable relative bioavailability of kiwifruit-derived vitamin C and synthetic vitamin C.
PMCID: PMC3847741  PMID: 24284610
human; ascorbic acid; ascorbate; plasma; urine; kiwi fruit
10.  Hypercholesterolemia Inhibits Endothelial Cell Healing After Arterial Injury Though Reactive Oxygen Species 
Journal of Vascular Surgery  2011;55(2):489-496.
Endothelial cell (EC) migration is essential for arterial healing after angioplasty. Oxidized low-density lipoproteins and oxidative stress decrease EC migration in vitro. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of hypercholesterolemia and oxidative stress on EC healing after an arterial injury.
Methods and Results
C57Bl/6 wild-type mice were placed in one of eight groups: chow diet (n = 11), high cholesterol (HC) diet (n = 11), chow diet plus paraquat (n = 11), HC diet plus paraquat (n = 11), chow diet plus N-acetylcysteine (NAC) (n = 11), HC diet plus NAC (n = 11), chow diet plus paraquat and NAC (n = 11), and HC diet plus paraquat and NAC (n = 11)After two weeks on the assigned diet with or without NAC, the carotid artery was injured using electrocautery. Animals in the paraquat groups were given 1 mg/kg intraperitoneally to increase oxidative stress. After 120 hours, Evans Blue dye was infused intravenously to stain the area of the artery that remained deendothelialized. This was used to calculate the percentage of reendothelialization. Plasma and tissue samples were analyzed for measures of oxidative stress.
The HC diet increased oxidative stress and reduced EC healing compared with a chow diet, with EC covering 26.8 ± 2.8% and 48.1 ± 5.2% (P < .001) of the injured area, respectively. Administration of paraquat decreased healing in both chow and HC animals to 18.1 ± 3.5% (P < .001) and 9.8% ± 4.6% (P < .001), respectively. Pretreatment with NAC (120 mmol/L in drinking water) for 2 weeks prior to injury, to decrease oxidative stress, improved EC healing to 39.9 ± 5.7% (P < .001) in hypercholesterolemic mice and to 30.7 ± 3.6% (P < .001) in the paraquat group. NAC treatment improved healing to 24.6% ± 3.4% (P < .001) in hypercholesterolemic mice treated with paraquat.
Reendothelialization of arterial injuries is reduced in hypercholesterolemic mice, and is inversely correlated with oxidative stress. An oral antioxidant decreases oxidative stress and improves EC healing.
Clinical Relevance
Vascular injury following cardiovascular intervention including cardiac and peripheral arterial angioplasty and stenting is associated with inflammation and oxidative stress. Hypercholesterolemia is also associated with increased oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, regardless of the source, induces cellular dysfunction in endothelial and smooth muscle cells that reduces healing after arterial injury. Decreasing oxidative stress with an exogenously administered antioxidant can improve endothelial cell healing, and this is important to control intimal hyperplasia and reduce the thrombogenicity of the vessel.
PMCID: PMC3264759  PMID: 22047834
Endothelium; hypercholesterolemia; antioxidant; angioplasty; reactive oxygen species; vascular injury; endothelial migration
11.  The effects of prenatal and early postnatal tocotrienol-rich fraction supplementation on cognitive function development in male offspring rats 
BMC Neuroscience  2013;14:77.
Recent findings suggest that the intake of specific nutrients during the critical period in early life influence cognitive and behavioural development profoundly. Antioxidants such as vitamin E have been postulated to be pivotal in this process, as vitamin E is able to protect the growing brain from oxidative stress. Currently tocotrienols are gaining much attention due to their potent antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. It is thus compelling to look at the effects of prenatal and early postnatal tocotrienols supplementation, on cognition and behavioural development among offsprings of individual supplemented with tocotrienols. Therefore, this study is aimed to investigate potential prenatal and early postnatal influence of Tocotrienol-Rich Fraction (TRF) supplementation on cognitive function development in male offspring rats. Eight-week-old adult female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly assigned into five groups of two animals each. The animals were fed either with the base diet as control (CTRL), base diet plus vehicle (VHCL), base diet plus docosahexanoic acid (DHA), base diet plus Tocotrienol-Rich fraction (TRF), and base diet plus both docosahexaenoic acid, and tocotrienol rich fraction (DTRF) diets for 2 weeks prior to mating. The females (F0 generation) were maintained on their respective treatment diets throughout the gestation and lactation periods. Pups (F1 generation) derived from these dams were raised with their dams from birth till four weeks post natal. The male pups were weaned at 8 weeks postnatal, after which they were grouped into five groups of 10 animals each, and fed with the same diets as their dams for another eight weeks. Learning and behavioural experiments were conducted only in male off-spring rats using the Morris water maze.Eight-week-old adult female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly assigned into five groups of two animals each. The animals were fed either with the base diet as control (CTRL), base diet plus vehicle (VHCL), base diet plus docosahexanoic acid (DHA), base diet plus Tocotrienol-Rich fraction (TRF), and base diet plus both docosahexaenoic acid, and tocotrienol rich fraction (DTRF) diets for 2 weeks prior to mating. The females (F0 generation) were maintained on their respective treatment diets throughout the gestation and lactation periods. Pups (F1 generation) derived from these dams were raised with their dams from birth till four weeks post natal. The male pups were weaned at 8 weeks postnatal, after which they were grouped into five groups of 10 animals each, and fed with the same diets as their dams for another eight weeks. Learning and behavioural experiments were conducted only in male off-spring rats using the Morris water maze.
Results showed that prenatal and postnatal TRF supplementation increased the brain (4–6 fold increase) and plasma α-tocotrienol (0.8 fold increase) levels in male off-springs. There is also notably better cognitive performance based on the Morris water maze test among these male off-springs.
Based on these results, it is concluded that prenatal and postnatal TRF supplementation improved cognitive function development in male progeny rats.
PMCID: PMC3750608  PMID: 23902378
Tocotrienol-rich fraction; Cognitive function; Spatial learning; Brain
12.  Biologically active substances-enriched diet regulates gonadotrope cell activation pathway in liver of adult and old rats 
Genes & Nutrition  2014;9(5):427.
According to the Hippocrates’ theorem “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, dietary interventions may induce changes in the metabolic and inflammatory state by modulating the expression of important genes involved in the chronic disorders. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of long-term (14 months) use of biologically active substances-enriched diet (BASE-diet) on transcriptomic profile of rats’ liver. The experiment was conducted on 36 Sprague–Dawley rats divided into two experimental groups (fed with control or BASE-diet, both n = 18). Control diet was a semi-synthetic diet formulated according to the nutritional requirements for laboratory animals. The BASE-diet was enriched with a mixture of polyphenolic compounds, β-carotene, probiotics, and n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In total, n = 3,017 differentially expressed (DE) genes were identified, including n = 218 DE genes between control and BASE groups after 3 months of feeding and n = 1,262 after 14 months. BASE-diet influenced the expression of genes involved particularly in the gonadotrope cell activation pathway and guanylate cyclase pathway, as well as in mast cell activation, gap junction regulation, melanogenesis and apoptosis. Especially genes involved in regulation of GnRH were strongly affected by BASE-diet. This effect was stronger with the age of animals and the length of diet use. It may suggest a link between the diet, reproductive system function and aging.
PMCID: PMC4172640  PMID: 25156242
Rat; Liver; Biologically active substances; Genes expression; GnRH
13.  Calorie Restriction Increases Muscle Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Healthy Humans 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(3):e76.
Caloric restriction without malnutrition extends life span in a range of organisms including insects and mammals and lowers free radical production by the mitochondria. However, the mechanism responsible for this adaptation are poorly understood.
Methods and Findings
The current study was undertaken to examine muscle mitochondrial bioenergetics in response to caloric restriction alone or in combination with exercise in 36 young (36.8 ± 1.0 y), overweight (body mass index, 27.8 ± 0.7 kg/m2) individuals randomized into one of three groups for a 6-mo intervention: Control, 100% of energy requirements; CR, 25% caloric restriction; and CREX, caloric restriction with exercise (CREX), 12.5% CR + 12.5% increased energy expenditure (EE). In the controls, 24-h EE was unchanged, but in CR and CREX it was significantly reduced from baseline even after adjustment for the loss of metabolic mass (CR, −135 ± 42 kcal/d, p = 0.002 and CREX, −117 ± 52 kcal/d, p = 0.008). Participants in the CR and CREX groups had increased expression of genes encoding proteins involved in mitochondrial function such as PPARGC1A, TFAM, eNOS, SIRT1, and PARL (all, p < 0.05). In parallel, mitochondrial DNA content increased by 35% ± 5% in the CR group (p = 0.005) and 21% ± 4% in the CREX group (p < 0.004), with no change in the control group (2% ± 2%). However, the activity of key mitochondrial enzymes of the TCA (tricarboxylic acid) cycle (citrate synthase), beta-oxidation (beta-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase), and electron transport chain (cytochrome C oxidase II) was unchanged. DNA damage was reduced from baseline in the CR (−0.56 ± 0.11 arbitrary units, p = 0.003) and CREX (−0.45 ± 0.12 arbitrary units, p = 0.011), but not in the controls. In primary cultures of human myotubes, a nitric oxide donor (mimicking eNOS signaling) induced mitochondrial biogenesis but failed to induce SIRT1 protein expression, suggesting that additional factors may regulate SIRT1 content during CR.
The observed increase in muscle mitochondrial DNA in association with a decrease in whole body oxygen consumption and DNA damage suggests that caloric restriction improves mitochondrial function in young non-obese adults.
Anthony Civitarese and colleagues observed an increase in mitochondrial DNA in muscle and a decrease in whole body oxygen consumption in healthy adults who underwent caloric restriction.
Editors' Summary
Life expectancy (the average life span) greatly increased during the 20th century in most countries, largely due to improved hygiene, nutrition, and health care. One possible approach to further increase human life span is “caloric restriction.” A calorie-restricted diet provides all the nutrients necessary for a healthy life but minimizes the energy (calories) supplied in the diet. This type of diet increases the life span of mice and delays the onset of age-related chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. There are also hints that people who eat a calorie-restricted diet might live longer than those who overeat. People living in Okinawa, Japan, have a lower energy intake than the rest of the Japanese population and an extremely long life span. In addition, calorie-restricted diets beneficially affect several biomarkers of aging, including decreased insulin sensitivity (a precursor to diabetes). But how might caloric restriction slow aging? A major factor in the age-related decline of bodily functions is the accumulation of “oxidative damage” in the body's proteins, fats, and DNA. Oxidants—in particular, chemicals called “free radicals”—are produced when food is converted to energy by cellular structures called mitochondria. One theory for how caloric restriction slows aging is that it lowers free-radical production by inducing the formation of efficient mitochondria.
Why Was This Study Done?
Despite hints that caloric restriction might have similar effects in people as in rodents, there have been few well-controlled studies on the effect of good quality calorie-reduced diets in healthy people. It is also unknown whether an energy deficit produced by increasing physical activity while eating the same amount of food has the same effects as caloric restriction. Finally, it is unclear how caloric restriction alters mitochondrial function. The Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) organization is investigating the effect of caloric restriction interventions on physiology, body composition, and risk factors for age-related diseases. In this study, the researchers have tested the hypothesis that short-term caloric deficit (with or without exercise) increases the efficiency of mitochondria in human muscle.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 36 healthy overweight but non-obese young people into their study. One-third of them received 100% of their energy requirements in their diet; the caloric restriction (CR) group had their calorie intake reduced by 25%; and the caloric restriction plus exercise (CREX) group had their calorie intake reduced by 12.5% and their energy expenditure increased by 12.5%. The researchers found that a 25% caloric deficit for six months, achieved by diet alone or by diet plus exercise, decreased 24-hour whole body energy expenditure (i.e., overall calories burned for body function), which suggests improved mitochondrial function. Their analysis of genes involved in mitochondria formation indicated that CR and CREX both increased the number of mitochondria in skeletal muscle. Both interventions also reduced the amount of DNA damage—a marker of oxidative stress—in the participants' muscles.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results indicate that a short-term caloric deficit, whether achieved by diet or by diet plus exercise, induces the formation of “efficient mitochondria” in people just as in rodents. The induction of these efficient mitochondria in turn reduces oxidative damage in skeletal muscles. Consequently, this adaptive response to caloric restriction might have the potential to slow aging and increase longevity in humans as in other animals. However, this six-month study obviously provides no direct evidence for this, and, by analogy with studies in rodents, an increase in longevity might require lifelong caloric restriction. The results here suggest that even short-term caloric restriction can produce beneficial physiological changes, but more research is necessary before it becomes clear whether caloric restriction should be recommended to healthy individuals.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) Web site contains information on the study and how to participate
American Federation for Aging Research includes information on aging with pages on the biology of aging and on caloric restriction
The Okinawa Centenarian Study is a population-based study on long-lived elderly people in Okinawa, Japan
US Government information on nutrition
MedlinePlus encyclopedia pages on diet and calories
The Calorie Restriction Society, a nonprofit organization that provides information on life span and caloric restriction
Wikipedia pages on calorie restriction and on mitochondria (note: Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
PMCID: PMC1808482  PMID: 17341128
14.  High-altitude pulmonary hypertension in cattle (brisket disease): Candidate genes and gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells 
Pulmonary Circulation  2011;1(4):462-469.
High-altitude pulmonary hypertension (HAPH) is a consequence of chronic alveolar hypoxia, leading to hypoxic vasoconstriction and remodeling of the pulmonary circulation. Brisket disease in cattle is a naturally occurring animal model of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. Genetically susceptible cattle develop severe pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure at altitudes >7,000 ft. No information currently exists regarding the identity of the pathways and gene(s) responsible for HAPH or influencing severity. We hypothesized that initial insights into the pathogenesis of the disease could be discovered by a strategy of (1) sequencing of functional candidates revealed by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis and (2) gene expression profiling of affected cattle compared with altitude-matched normal controls, with gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA). We isolated blood from a single herd of Black Angus cattle of both genders, aged 12-18 months, by jugular vein puncture. Mean pulmonary arterial pressures were 85.6±13 mmHg STD in the 10 affected and 35.3±1.2 mmHg STD in the 10 resistant cattle, P<0.001. From peripheral blood mononuclear cells, DNA was hybridized to an Affymetrix 10K Gene Chip SNP, and RNA was used to probe an Affymetrix Bovine genome array. SNP loci were remapped using the Btau 4.0 bovine genome assembly. mRNA data was analyzed by the Partek software package to identify sets of genes with an expression that was statistically different between the two groups. GSEA and IPA were conducted on the refined expression data to identify key cellular pathways and to generate networks and conduct functional analyses of the pathways and networks. Ten SNPs were identified by allelelic association and four candidate genes were sequenced in the cohort. Neither endothelial nitric oxide synthetase, NADH dehydrogenase, TG-interacting factor-2 nor BMPR2 were different among affected and resistant cattle. A 60-gene mRNA signature was identified that differentiated affected from unaffected cattle. Forty-six genes were overexpressed in the affected and 14 genes were downregulated in the affected cattle by at least 20%. GSEA and Ingenuity analysis identified respiratory diseases, inflammatory diseases and pathways as the top diseases and disorders (P<5.14×10-14), cell development and cell signaling as the top cellular functions (P<1.20×10-08), and IL6, TREM, PPAR, NFkB cell signaling (P<8.69×10-09) as the top canonical pathways associated with this gene signature. This study provides insights into differences in RNA expression in HAPH at a molecular level, and eliminates four functional gene candidates. Further studies are needed to validate and refine these preliminary findings and to determine the role of transcribed genes in the development of HAPH.
PMCID: PMC3329076  PMID: 22530101
brisket disease; microarray analysis; hypoxia
15.  Flavonoids as aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonists/antagonists: effects of structure and cell context. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2003;111(16):1877-1882.
Chemoprotective phytochemicals exhibit multiple activities and interact with several cellular receptors, including the aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor (AhR). In this study we investigated the AhR agonist/antagonist activities of the following flavonoids: chrysin, phloretin, kaempferol, galangin, naringenin, genistein, quercetin, myricetin, luteolin, baicalein, daidzein, apigenin, and diosmin. We also investigated the AhR-dependent activities of cantharidin and emodin (in herbal extracts) in Ah-responsive MCF-7 human breast cells, HepG2 human liver cancer cells, and mouse Hepa-1 cells transiently or stably transfected with plasmids expressing a luciferase reporter gene linked to multiple copies of a consensus dioxin-responsive element. The AhR agonist activities of the compounds (1 and 10 micro M) were as high as 25% of the maximal response induced by 5 nM 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), and their potencies were dependent on cell context. Galangin, genistein, daidzein, and diosmin were active only in Hepa-1 cells, and cantharidin induced activity only in human HepG2 and MCF-7 cells. Western blot analysis confirmed that baicalein and emodin also induced CYP1A1 protein in the human cancer cell lines. The AhR antagonist activities of four compounds inactive as agonists in MCF-7 and HepG2 cells (kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and luteolin) were also investigated. Luteolin was an AhR antagonist in both cell lines, and the inhibitory effects of the other compound were dependent on cell context. These data suggest that dietary phytochemicals exhibit substantial cell context-dependent AhR agonist as well as antagonist activities. Moreover, because phytochemicals and other AhR-active compounds in food are present in the diet at relatively high concentrations, risk assessment of dietary toxic equivalents of TCDD and related compounds should also take into account AhR agonist/antagonist activities of phytochemicals.
PMCID: PMC1241760  PMID: 14644660
16.  ω-3 PUFA Rich Camelina Oil By-Products Improve the Systemic Metabolism and Spleen Cell Functions in Fattening Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110186.
Camelina oil-cakes results after the extraction of oil from Camelina sativa plant. In this study, camelina oil-cakes were fed to fattening pigs for 33 days and its effect on performance, plasma biochemical analytes, pro-/anti-inflammatory mediators and antioxidant detoxifying defence in spleen was investigated in comparison with sunflower meal. 24 crossbred TOPIG pigs were randomly assigned to one of two experimental dietary treatments containing either 12% sunflower meal (treatment 1-T1), or 12.0% camelina oil-cakes, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids ω-3 (ω-3 PUFA) (treatment 2-T2). The results showed no effect of T2 diet (camelina cakes) on feed intake, average weight gain or feed efficiency. Consumption of camelina diet resulted in a significant decrease in plasma glucose concentration (18.47%) with a trend towards also a decrease of plasma cholesterol. In spleen, T2 diet modulated cellular immune response by decreasing the protein and gene expression of pro-inflammatory markers, interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin 6 (IL-6) and interleukin (IL-8) and cyclooxigenase 2 (COX-2) in comparison with T1 diet. By contrast, T2 diet increased (P<0.05) in spleen the mRNA expression of antioxidant enzymes, catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1) by 3.43, 2.47 and 1.83 fold change respectively, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (4.60 fold), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) (3.23 fold) and the total antioxidant level (9.02%) in plasma. Camelina diet increased also peroxisome-proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ) mRNA and decreased that of mitogen-activated protein kinase 14 (p38α MAPK) and nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells (NF-κB). At this level of inclusion (12%) camelina oil-cakes appears to be a potentially alternative feed source for pig which preserves a high content of ω-3 PUFA indicating antioxidant properties by the stimulation of detoxifying enzymes expression and the suppression of spleen pro-inflammatory markers.
PMCID: PMC4193896  PMID: 25303320
17.  Diet-relevant phytochemical intake affects the cardiac AhR and nrf2 transcriptome and reduces heart failure in hypertensive rats 
Intake of phytochemical-rich diets is inversely related to hypertension. Phytochemicals alter in vitro aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and NF-E2 related factor (nrf2) transcription factor activity and related genes pertinent to antioxidant defense. However, it is unknown if these molecular effects occur in the heart with dietary intake of physiologically-relevant phytochemicals and if this correlates with reduced hypertension-associated heart failure. This extended feeding study used whole grapes as a model of a phytochemical-rich food and hypertensive heart failure-prone rats to assess mechanisms of effect. Grape intake reduced cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis and improved diastolic function. At the development of diastolic dysfunction, hypertensive rats show reduced AhR activity, reduced expression of AhR-regulated genes, reduced glutathione, and reduced activity of glutathione-regulating proteins. However, grape intake significantly increased cardiac AhR and nrf2 activity, Phase I/II gene transcripts and protein activity related to antioxidant defense. Heart failure is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the aged and the intake of phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables decreases with age. Concentrated antioxidant nutrient trials have failed to affect heart failure. However, this study demonstrates that diet-relevant intake of non-nutrient phytochemicals significantly reduces heart failure progression. Therefore, this study suggests that higher intake of phytochemical-containing foods may achieve cardiac benefits that isolated antioxidant supplements may not. In summary, intake of diet-relevant phytochemicals altered the cardiac antioxidant transcriptome, antioxidant defense, oxidative damage, and fibrosis. Regular phytochemical intake may therefore increase cardiac resistance to cardiac pathology instigated by prolonged hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3893821  PMID: 23528973
heart failure; AhR; nrf2; phytochemicals; antioxidant; cardiac
18.  Women with endometriosis improved their peripheral antioxidant markers after the application of a high antioxidant diet 
Oxidative stress has been identified in the peritoneal fluid and peripheral blood of women with endometriosis. However, there is little information on the antioxidant intake for this group of women. The objectives of this work were 1) to compare the antioxidant intake among women with and without endometriosis and 2) to design and apply a high antioxidant diet to evaluate its capacity to reduce oxidative stress markers and improve antioxidant markers in the peripheral blood of women with endometriosis.
Women with (WEN, n = 83) and without endometriosis (WWE, n = 80) were interviewed using a Food Frequency Questionnaire to compare their antioxidant intake (of vitamins and minerals). Then, the WEN participated in the application of a control (n = 35) and high antioxidant diet (n = 37) for four months. The high antioxidant diet (HAD) guaranteed the intake of 150% of the suggested daily intake of vitamin A (1050 μg retinol equivalents), 660% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C (500 mg) and 133% of the RDI of vitamin E (20 mg). Oxidative stress and antioxidant markers (vitamins and antioxidant enzymatic activity) were determined in plasma every month.
Comparison of antioxidant intake between WWE and WEN showed a lower intake of vitamins A, C, E, zinc, and copper by WEN (p < 0.05, Mann Whitney Rank test). The selenium intake was not statistically different between groups. During the study, the comparison of the 24-hour recalls between groups showed a higher intake of the three vitamins in the HAD group. An increase in the vitamin concentrations (serum retinol, alpha-tocopherol, leukocyte and plasma ascorbate) and antioxidant enzyme activity (superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase) as well as a decrease in oxidative stress markers (malondialdehyde and lipid hydroperoxides) were observed in the HAD group after two months of intervention. These phenomena were not observed in the control group.
WEN had a lower intake of antioxidants in comparison to WWE. Peripheral oxidative stress markers diminished, and antioxidant markers were enhanced, in WEN after the application of the HAD.
PMCID: PMC2693127  PMID: 19476631
19.  An Evolutionarily Conserved Role for the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in the Regulation of Movement 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(9):e1004673.
The BXD genetic reference population is a recombinant inbred panel descended from crosses between the C57BL/6 (B6) and DBA/2 (D2) strains of mice, which segregate for about 5 million sequence variants. Recently, some of these variants have been established with effects on general metabolic phenotypes such as glucose response and bone strength. Here we phenotype 43 BXD strains and observe they have large variation (∼5-fold) in their spontaneous activity during waking hours. QTL analyses indicate that ∼40% of this variance is attributable to a narrow locus containing the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr), a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor with well-established roles in development and xenobiotic metabolism. Strains with the D2 allele of Ahr have reduced gene expression compared to those with the B6 allele, and have significantly higher spontaneous activity. This effect was also observed in B6 mice with a congenic D2 Ahr interval, and in B6 mice with a humanized AHR allele which, like the D2 allele, is expressed much less and has less enzymatic activity than the B6 allele. Ahr is highly conserved in invertebrates, and strikingly inhibition of its orthologs in D. melanogaster and C. elegans (spineless and ahr-1) leads to marked increases in basal activity. In mammals, Ahr has numerous ligands, but most are either non-selective (e.g. resveratrol) or highly toxic (e.g., 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)). Thus, we chose to examine a major environmental influence—long term feeding with high fat diet (HFD)—to see if the effects of Ahr are dependent on major metabolic differences. Interestingly, while HFD robustly halved movement across all strains, the QTL position and effects of Ahr remained unchanged, indicating that the effects are independent. The highly consistent effects of Ahr on movement indicate that changes in its constitutive activity have a role on spontaneous movement and may influence human behavior.
Author Summary
Using 43 strains from the BXD mouse reference population, we observed a 5-fold difference in spontaneous activity. QTL analysis indicated that ∼40% of this variance is due to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr). Ahr is a conserved transcription factor found in nearly all multicellular organisms and implicated in a multitude of functions, ranging across development, liver metabolism, and neuronal health. This gene is highly variant in the BXDs, and strains with the low-active Ahr allele have significantly higher voluntary locomotion. This increase is also observed in independent mouse models, which have reduced Ahr activity, including in transgenic mice with humanized AHR. Furthermore, decreasing Ahr expression in C. elegans and Drosophila causes similar, robust increases in spontaneous movement. This link is independent of major environmental perturbations as well: BXD strains fed high fat diet long-term move only half as much as their chow-fed brethren, yet the effects of Ahr were consistent and equally strong in both dietary cohorts. While Ahr is a highly liganded transcription factor in mammals, these data indicate that modifications to its constitutive activity are sufficient to control movement. However, certain ligands may be able to specifically act on this phenotypic aspect of the gene.
PMCID: PMC4177751  PMID: 25255223
20.  Metabolomic Profiling of Urine: Response to a Randomized, Controlled Feeding Study of Select Fruits and Vegetables, and Application to an Observational Study 1,2 
The British journal of nutrition  2013;110(10):10.1017/S000711451300127X.
Metabolomic profiles were used to characterize the effects of consuming a high-phytochemical diet compared to a diet devoid of fruits and vegetables in a randomized trial and cross-sectional study. In the trial, 8 h fasting urine from healthy men (n=5) and women (n=5) was collected after a 2-week randomized, controlled trial of 2 diet periods: a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, citrus and soy (F&V), and a fruit- and vegetable-free (basal) diet. Among the ions found to differentiate the diets, 176 were putatively annotated with compound identifications, with 46 supported by MS/MS fragment evidence. Metabolites more abundant in the F&V diet included markers of dietary intervention (e.g., crucifers, citrus and soy), fatty acids and niacin metabolites. Ions more abundant in the basal diet included riboflavin, several acylcarnitines, and amino acid metabolites. In the cross-sectional study, we compared participants based on tertiles of crucifers, citrus and soy from 3 d food records (3DFR; n=36) and food frequency questionnaires (FFQ; n=57); intake was separately divided into tertiles of total fruit and vegetable intake for FFQ. As a group, ions individually differential between the experimental diets differentiated the observational study participants. However, only 4 ions were significant individually, differentiating the third vs. first tertile of crucifer, citrus and soy intake based on 3FDR. One of these was putatively annotated: proline betaine, a marker of citrus consumption. There were no ions significantly distinguishing tertiles by FFQ. Metabolomics assessment of controlled dietary interventions provides a more accurate and stronger characterization of diet than observational data.
PMCID: PMC3818452  PMID: 23657156
21.  Serum antioxidant status among young, middle-aged and elderly people before and after antioxidant rich diet 
Hippokratia  2012;16(2):118-123.
Background: The influence of factors such as age, sex, life style and smoking on oxidative stress status of the organism remains unclear. There is evidence that dietary intake of antioxidants is thought to enforce the organism ability to counteract free radicals. Administration of synthetic antioxidants as dietary supplements does not seem to have the same beneficial effect as consumption of the same antioxidants as part of food ingredients. This work focuses on the investigation of age and diet effects on oxidative stress and examines the hypotheses of their significant influence.
Methods: Blood samples of 146 volunteers, were collected and allocated in three age groups. All volunteers completed a questionnaire concerning home and working environmental conditions, special habits and dietary preferences. We implemented a thirty days diet rich in antioxidants in 55 volunteers. Antioxidant activity was estimated before and after the special diet by measuring the influence of serum in oxidation of ABTS by the ferryl myoglobinhydrogen peroxide system.
Results: Our findings showed unexpected lower serum total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in younger people (ages 18–35 yrs) 79%, compared to middle aged and elderly individuals and a large increase 62% in serum TAC of all age-groups after the one-month special diet.
Conclusion: These results imply that a diet rich in antioxidants based on antioxidant rich food consumption and not on single antioxidants administration, can increase the antioxidant status of the organism and offer better health. The total serum antioxidant status increases with age and this fact should be taken into account when TAC is measured in different diseases.
PMCID: PMC3738412  PMID: 23935266
antioxidants; serum; age; diet; cortisol
22.  A Genome-Wide Screen for Promoter Methylation in Lung Cancer Identifies Novel Methylation Markers for Multiple Malignancies  
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e486.
Promoter hypermethylation coupled with loss of heterozygosity at the same locus results in loss of gene function in many tumor cells. The “rules” governing which genes are methylated during the pathogenesis of individual cancers, how specific methylation profiles are initially established, or what determines tumor type-specific methylation are unknown. However, DNA methylation markers that are highly specific and sensitive for common tumors would be useful for the early detection of cancer, and those required for the malignant phenotype would identify pathways important as therapeutic targets.
Methods and Findings
In an effort to identify new cancer-specific methylation markers, we employed a high-throughput global expression profiling approach in lung cancer cells. We identified 132 genes that have 5′ CpG islands, are induced from undetectable levels by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine in multiple non-small cell lung cancer cell lines, and are expressed in immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells. As expected, these genes were also expressed in normal lung, but often not in companion primary lung cancers. Methylation analysis of a subset (45/132) of these promoter regions in primary lung cancer (n = 20) and adjacent nonmalignant tissue (n = 20) showed that 31 genes had acquired methylation in the tumors, but did not show methylation in normal lung or peripheral blood cells. We studied the eight most frequently and specifically methylated genes from our lung cancer dataset in breast cancer (n = 37), colon cancer (n = 24), and prostate cancer (n = 24) along with counterpart nonmalignant tissues. We found that seven loci were frequently methylated in both breast and lung cancers, with four showing extensive methylation in all four epithelial tumors.
By using a systematic biological screen we identified multiple genes that are methylated with high penetrance in primary lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers. The cross-tumor methylation pattern we observed for these novel markers suggests that we have identified a partial promoter hypermethylation signature for these common malignancies. These data suggest that while tumors in different tissues vary substantially with respect to gene expression, there may be commonalities in their promoter methylation profiles that represent targets for early detection screening or therapeutic intervention.
John Minna and colleagues report that a group of genes are commonly methylated in primary lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
Editors' Summary
Tumors or cancers contain cells that have lost many of the control mechanisms that normally regulate their behavior. Unlike normal cells, which only divide to repair damaged tissues, cancer cells divide uncontrollably. They also gain the ability to move round the body and start metastases in secondary locations. These changes in behavior result from alterations in their genetic material. For example, mutations (permanent changes in the sequence of nucleotides in the cell's DNA) in genes known as oncogenes stimulate cells to divide constantly. Mutations in another group of genes—tumor suppressor genes—disable their ability to restrain cell growth. Key tumor suppressor genes are often completely lost in cancer cells. But not all the genetic changes in cancer cells are mutations. Some are “epigenetic” changes—chemical modifications of genes that affect the amount of protein made from them. In cancer cells, methyl groups are often added to CG-rich regions—this is called hypermethylation. These “CpG islands” lie near gene promoters—sequences that control the transcription of DNA into RNA, the template for protein production—and their methylation switches off the promoter. Methylation of the promoter of one copy of a tumor suppressor gene, which often coincides with the loss of the other copy of the gene, is thought to be involved in cancer development.
Why Was This Study Done?
The rules that govern which genes are hypermethylated during the development of different cancer types are not known, but it would be useful to identify any DNA methylation events that occur regularly in common cancers for two reasons. First, specific DNA methylation markers might be useful for the early detection of cancer. Second, identifying these epigenetic changes might reveal cellular pathways that are changed during cancer development and so identify new therapeutic targets. In this study, the researchers have used a systematic biological screen to identify genes that are methylated in many lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers—all cancers that form in “epithelial” tissues.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used microarray expression profiling to examine gene expression patterns in several lung cancer and normal lung cell lines. In this technique, labeled RNA molecules isolated from cells are applied to a “chip” carrying an array of gene fragments. Here, they stick to the fragment that represents the gene from which they were made, which allows the genes that the cells express to be catalogued. By comparing the expression profiles of lung cancer cells and normal lung cells before and after treatment with a chemical that inhibits DNA methylation, the researchers identified genes that were methylated in the cancer cells—that is, genes that were expressed in normal cells but not in cancer cells unless methylation was inhibited. 132 of these genes contained CpG islands. The researchers examined the promoters of 45 of these genes in lung cancer cells taken straight from patients and found that 31 of the promoters were methylated in tumor tissues but not in adjacent normal tissues. Finally, the researchers looked at promoter methylation of the eight genes most frequently and specifically methylated in the lung cancer samples in breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Seven of the genes were frequently methylated in both lung and breast cancers; four were extensively methylated in all the tumor types.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results identify several new genes that are often methylated in four types of epithelial tumor. The observation that these genes are methylated in multiple independent tumors strongly suggests, but does not prove, that loss of expression of the proteins that they encode helps to convert normal cells into cancer cells. The frequency and diverse patterning of promoter methylation in different tumor types also indicates that methylation is not a random event, although what controls the patterns of methylation is not yet known. The identification of these genes is a step toward building a promoter hypermethylation profile for the early detection of human cancer. Furthermore, although tumors in different tissues vary greatly with respect to gene expression patterns, the similarities seen in this study in promoter methylation profiles might help to identify new therapeutic targets common to several cancer types.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Cancer Institute, information for patients on understanding cancer
CancerQuest, information provided by Emory University about how cancer develops
Cancer Research UK, information for patients on cancer biology
Wikipedia pages on epigenetics (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
The Epigenome Network of Excellence, background information and latest news about epigenetics
PMCID: PMC1716188  PMID: 17194187
23.  Ligand-Independent Regulation of Transforming Growth Factor β1 Expression and Cell Cycle Progression by the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor▿ † 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(17):6127-6139.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that mediates the toxic effects of its xenobiotic ligands and acts as an environmental checkpoint during the cell cycle. We expressed stably integrated, Tet-Off-regulated AHR variants in fibroblasts from AHR-null mice to further investigate the AHR role in cell cycle regulation. Ahr+/+ fibroblasts proliferated significantly faster than Ahr−/− fibroblasts did, and exposure to a prototypical AHR ligand or deletion of the ligand-binding domain did not change their proliferation rates, indicating that the AHR function in cell cycle was ligand independent. Growth-promoting genes, such as cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinase genes, were significantly down-regulated in Ahr−/− cells, whereas growth-arresting genes, such as the transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) gene, extracellular matrix (ECM)-related genes, and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor genes, were up-regulated. Ahr−/− fibroblasts secreted significantly more TGF-β1 into the culture medium than Ahr+/+ fibroblasts did, and Ahr−/− showed increased levels of activated Smad4 and TGF-β1 mRNA. Inhibition of TGF-β1 signaling by overexpression of Smad7 reversed the proliferative and gene expression phenotype of Ahr−/− fibroblasts. Changes in TGF-β1 mRNA accumulation were due to stabilization resulting from decreased activity of TTP, the tristetraprolin RNA-binding protein responsible for mRNA destabilization through AU-rich motifs. These results show that the Ah receptor possesses interconnected intrinsic cellular functions, such as ECM formation, cell cycle control, and TGF-β1 regulation, that are independent of activation by either exogenous or endogenous ligands and that may play a crucial role during tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC1952156  PMID: 17606626
24.  Oxidative stress in atherogenesis: Basic mechanisms and problems of therapy with antioxidants 
Oxidative stress is recognized as an essential mechanism of atherogenesis and plaque progression. However, the origin of increased free radical production has not yet been well described. Furthermore, therapy with antioxidants has not shown convincing results.
To consider questions concerning the impact of oxidative stress, and the effects and usefulness of antioxidants.
Atherosclerotic plaques were induced in rabbits by feeding them a cholesterol-rich diet (2%) for six weeks. Thereafter a normal diet was given up to 68 weeks. Body weight, food intake, plasma lipid concentration and antioxidative capacity were determined at various time intervals. Aortic plaque size, morphology and radical production were determined in groups of animals killed after six, 14, 21, 29, 40 and 74 weeks, and compared with values in untreated controls. Chemiluminescent methods were used to determine antioxidative capacity of plasma, generation of free radicals and redox reactivity of various antioxidants.
Antioxidative capacity, occurrence of modified low density lipoprotein and generation of free radicals indicated oxidative stress during plaque progression; however, they showed different correlations to cellular components of the plaques. Furthermore it was shown that some antioxidants have both anti- and pro-oxidative properties.
Oxidative stress during atherogenesis seems to correlate with different phases of plaque development and can be associated with different types of reactive species. Because plaque remodelling and stabilization may also be a phase of increased free radical generation, therapeutic antioxidants must exert specific and selective activity; in particular, whether their oxidized form acts pro-oxidatively must be determined.
PMCID: PMC2859009  PMID: 20428267
Antioxidants; Atherogenesis; Modified low density lipoprotein; Oxidative stress
25.  The effect of gold kiwifruit consumed with an iron fortified breakfast cereal meal on iron status in women with low iron stores: A 16 week randomised controlled intervention study 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:36.
Dietary treatment is often recommended as the first line of treatment for women with mild iron deficiency. Although it is well established that ascorbic acid enhances iron absorption, it is less clear whether the consumption of ascorbic acid rich foods (such as kiwifruit) with meals fortified with iron improves iron status. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the consumption of ZESPRI® GOLD kiwifruit (a fruit high in ascorbic acid and carotenoids) with an iron fortified breakfast cereal meal increases iron status in women with low iron stores.
Eighty nine healthy women aged 18-44 years with low iron stores (serum ferritin (SF) ≤ 25 μg/L, haemoglobin (Hb) ≥ 115 g/L) living in Auckland, New Zealand were randomised to receive an iron fortified breakfast cereal (16 mg iron per serve) and either two ZESPRI® GOLD kiwifruit or a banana (low ascorbic acid and carotenoid content) to eat at breakfast time every day for 16 weeks. Iron status (SF, Hb, C-reactive protein (CRP) and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR)), ascorbic acid and carotenoid status were measured at baseline and after 16 weeks. Anthropometric measures, dietary intake, physical activity and blood loss were measured before and after the 16 week intervention.
This randomised controlled intervention study will be the first study to investigate the effect of a dietary based intervention of an iron fortified breakfast cereal meal combined with an ascorbic acid and carotenoid rich fruit on improving iron status in women with low iron stores.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC2823703  PMID: 20102633

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