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1.  Dietary Polyphenols Promote Growth of the Gut Bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila and Attenuate High-Fat Diet–Induced Metabolic Syndrome 
Diabetes  2015;64(8):2847-2858.
Dietary polyphenols protect against metabolic syndrome, despite limited absorption and digestion, raising questions about their mechanism of action. We hypothesized that one mechanism may involve the gut microbiota. To test this hypothesis, C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) containing 1% Concord grape polyphenols (GP). Relative to vehicle controls, GP attenuated several effects of HFD feeding, including weight gain, adiposity, serum inflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]α, interleukin [IL]-6, and lipopolysaccharide), and glucose intolerance. GP lowered intestinal expression of inflammatory markers (TNFα, IL-6, inducible nitric oxide synthase) and a gene for glucose absorption (Glut2). GP increased intestinal expression of genes involved in barrier function (occludin) and limiting triglyceride storage (fasting-induced adipocyte factor). GP also increased intestinal gene expression of proglucagon, a precursor of proteins that promote insulin production and gut barrier integrity. 16S rRNA gene sequencing and quantitative PCR of cecal and fecal samples demonstrated that GP dramatically increased the growth of Akkermansia muciniphila and decreased the proportion of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, consistent with prior reports that similar changes in microbial community structure can protect from diet-induced obesity and metabolic disease. These data suggest that GP act in the intestine to modify gut microbial community structure, resulting in lower intestinal and systemic inflammation and improved metabolic outcomes. The gut microbiota may thus provide the missing link in the mechanism of action of poorly absorbed dietary polyphenols.
PMCID: PMC4512228  PMID: 25845659
2.  Innovations in Health Value and Functional Food Development of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) 
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd., Amaranthaceae) is a grain-like, stress-tolerant food crop that has provided subsistence, nutrition, and medicine for Andean indigenous cultures for thousands of years. Quinoa contains a high content of health-beneficial phytochemicals, including amino acids, fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, saponins, phytosterols, phytoecdysteroids, phenolics, betalains, and glycine betaine. Over the past 2 decades, numerous food and nutraceutical products and processes have been developed from quinoa. Furthermore, 4 clinical studies have demonstrated that quinoa supplementation exerts significant, positive effects on metabolic, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal health in humans. However, vast challenges and opportunities remain within the scientific, agricultural, and development sectors to optimize quinoa's role in the promotion of global human health and nutrition.
PMCID: PMC4957693  PMID: 27453695
biological activity; cereal products; dietary supplements; nutritional quality; quinoa
3.  Isothiocyanate-rich Moringa oleifera extract reduces weight gain, insulin resistance and hepatic gluconeogenesis in mice 
Molecular nutrition & food research  2015;59(6):1013-1024.
Moringa oleifera (moringa) is tropical plant traditionally used as an antidiabetic food. It produces structurally unique and chemically stable moringa isothiocyanates (MICs) that were evaluated for their therapeutic use in vivo.
Methods and results
C57BL/6L mice fed very high fat diet (VHFD) supplemented with 5% moringa concentrate (MC, delivering 66 mg/kg/d of MICs) accumulated fat mass, had improved glucose tolerance and insulin signaling, and did not develop fatty liver disease compared to VHFD-fed mice. MC-fed group also had reduced plasma insulin, leptin, resistin, cholesterol, IL-1β, TNFα, and lower hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase (G6P) expression. In hepatoma cells, MC and MICs at low micromolar concentrations inhibited gluconeogenesis and G6P expression. MICs and MC effects on lipolysis in vitro and on thermogenic and lipolytic genes in adipose tissue in vivo argued these are not likely primary targets for the anti-obesity and anti- diabetic effects observed.
Data suggest that MICs are the main anti-obesity and anti-diabetic bioactives of MC, and that they exert their effects by inhibiting rate-limiting steps in liver gluconeogenesis resulting in direct or indirect increase in insulin signaling and sensitivity. These conclusions suggest that MC may be an effective dietary food for the prevention and treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4456298  PMID: 25620073
diabetes; insulin resistance; isothiocyanates; Moringa oleifera; obesity
4.  Direct and Indirect Antioxidant Activity of Polyphenol- and Isothiocyanate-Enriched Fractions from Moringa oleifera 
Moringa oleifera Lam. is a fast-growing, tropical tree with various edible parts used as nutritious food and traditional medicine. This study describes an efficient preparatory strategy to extract and fractionate moringa leaves by fast centrifugal partition chromatography (FCPC) to produce polyphenol and isothiocyanate (ITC) rich fractions. Characterization and further purification of these fractions showed that moringa polyphenols were potent direct antioxidants assayed by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), whereas moringa ITCs were effective indirect antioxidants assayed by induction of NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) activity in Hepa1c1c7 cells. In addition, purified 4-[(α-l-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]-isothiocyanate and 4-[(4′-O-acetyl-α-l-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate were further evaluated for their ORAC and NQO1 inducer potency in comparison with sulforaphane (SF). Both ITCs were as potent as SF in inducing NQO1 activity. These findings suggest that moringa leaves contain a potent mixture of direct and indirect antioxidants that can explain its various health-promoting effects.
PMCID: PMC4798254  PMID: 25605589
Moringa oleifera; isothiocyanates; 4-[(α-l-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate; 4-[(4′-O-acetyl-α-l-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate; polyphenols; NQO1; FCPC; antioxidants
5.  Quinoa seeds leach phytoecdysteroids and other compounds with anti-diabetic properties 
Food chemistry  2014;163:178-185.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) contains high levels of biologically active phytoecdysteroids, which have been implicated in plant defense from insects, and have shown a range of beneficial pharmacological effects in mammals. We demonstrated that the most prevalent phytoecdysteroid, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20HE), was secreted (leached) from intact quinoa seeds into water during the initial stages of seed germination. Leaching efficiency was optimized by ethanol concentration (70% ethanol), temperature (80°C), time (4 h), and solvent ratio (5 ml/g seed). When compared to extraction of macerated seeds, the leaching procedure released essentially all the 20HE available in the seeds (491 μg/g seed). The optimized quinoa leachate (QL), containing 0.86% 20HE, 1.00% total phytoecdysteroids, 2.59% flavonoid glycosides, 11.9% oil, and 20.4% protein, significantly lowered fasting blood glucose in obese, hyperglycemic mice. Leaching effectively releases and concentrates bioactive phytochemicals from quinoa seeds, providing an efficient means to produce a food-grade mixture that may be useful for anti-diabetic applications.
PMCID: PMC4116738  PMID: 24912714
ecdysterone; flavonoids; metabolic syndrome; nutraceutical; phytoecdysteroids
6.  Anti-inflammatory Activity of Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta Schum) Extract 
The ethanolic extract of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta Schum, Zingiberaceae) has been evaluated for inhibitory activity on cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme, in vivo for the anti-inflammatory activity and expression of several pro-inflammatory genes. Bioactivity-guided fractionation showed that the most active COX-2 inhibitory compound in the extract was [6]-paradol. [6]-Shogaol, another compound from the extract, was the most active inhibitory compound in pro-inflammatory gene expression assays. In a rat paw edema model, the whole extract reduced inflammation by 49% at 1000 mg/kg. Major gingerols from the extract [6]-paradol, [6]-gingerol, and [6]-shogaol reduced inflammation by 20, 25 and 38%. respectively when administered individually at a dose of 150 mg/kg. [6]-Shogaol efficacy was at the level of aspirin, used as a positive control. Grains of paradise extract has demonstrated an anti-inflammatory activity, which is in part due to the inhibition of COX-2 enzyme activity and expression of pro-inflammatory genes.
PMCID: PMC4212708  PMID: 25293633
anti-inflammatory; grains of paradise; Aframomum melegueta Schum; Zingiberaceae; gingerols; COX-2; paw edema
7.  Novel value-added uses for sweet potato juice and flour in polyphenol- and protein-enriched functional food ingredients 
Food Science & Nutrition  2015;3(5):415-424.
Blackcurrant, blueberry, and muscadine grape juices were efficiently sorbed, concentrated, and stabilized into dry granular ingredient matrices which combined anti-inflammatory and antioxidant fruit polyphenols with sweet potato functional constituents (carotenoids, vitamins, polyphenols, fibers). Total phenolics were highest in blackcurrant-orange sweet potato ingredient matrices (34.03 mg/g), and lowest in muscadine grape-yellow sweet potato matrices (10.56 mg/g). Similarly, anthocyanins were most concentrated in blackcurrant-fortified orange and yellow sweet potato matrices (5.40 and 6.54 mg/g, respectively). Alternatively, other protein-rich edible matrices (defatted soy flour, light roasted peanut flour, and rice protein concentrate) efficiently captured polyphenols (6.09–9.46 mg/g) and anthocyanins (0.77–1.27 mg/g) from purple-fleshed sweet potato juice, with comparable efficiency. Antioxidant activity correlated well with total phenolic content. All formulated ingredient matrices stabilized and preserved polyphenols for up to 24 weeks, even when stored at 37°C. Complexation with juice-derived polyphenols did not significantly alter protein or carbohydrate profiles of the matrices. Sensory evaluation of the ingredient matrices suggested potential uses for a wide range of functional food products.
PMCID: PMC4576965  PMID: 26405527
Anti-inflammatory; antioxidant; berries; polyphenols; stability; sweet potato
8.  In Vitro and in Vivo Anti-Diabetic Effects of Anthocyanins from Maqui Berry (Aristotelia chilensis) 
Food chemistry  2011;131(2):387-396.
We used a murine model of type II diabetes, which reproduces the major features of the human disease, and a number of cellular models to study the antidiabetic effect of ANC, a standardised anthocyanin-rich formulation from maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis). We also isolated delphinidin 3-sambubioside-5-glucoside (D3S5G), a characteristic anthocyanin from maqui berry, and studied its antidiabetic properties. We observed that oral administration of ANC improved fasting blood glucose levels and glucose tolerance in hyperglycaemic obese C57BL/6J mice fed a high fat diet. In H4IIE rat liver cells, ANC decreased glucose production and enhanced the insulin-stimulated down regulation of the gluconeogenic enzyme, glucose-6-phosphatase. In L6 myotubes ANC treatment increased both insulin and non-insulin mediated glucose uptake. As with the ACN, oral administration of pure D3S5G dose-dependently decreased fasting blood glucose levels in obese C57BL/6J mice, and decreased glucose production in rat liver cells. D3S5G also increased glucose uptake in L6 myotubes and is at least partially responsible for ANC’s anti-diabetic properties.
PMCID: PMC4535716  PMID: 26279603
Dietary Anthocyanins; Metabolic Syndrome; Glucose Metabolism; Maqui Berry
9.  Stable, water extractable isothiocyanates from Moringa oleifera leaves attenuate inflammation in vitro 
Phytochemistry  2014;103:114-122.
Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) is an edible plant used as food and medicine throughout the tropics. A moringa concentrate (MC) made by extracting fresh leaves with water utilized naturally occurring myrosinase to convert four moringa glucosinolates (1–4) into moringa isothiocyanates (5–8). Optimum conditions maximizing MC yield, compound 5 (4-[(α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate), and compound 8 (4-[(4’-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate) content were established (1:5 fresh leaf weight to water ratio at room temperature). The optimized MC contained 1.66% isothiocyanates and 3.82% total polyphenols. Compound 8 exhibited 80% stability at 37 °C for 30 days. MC, 5, and 8 significantly decreased gene expression and production of inflammatory markers in RAW macrophages. Specifically, 5 and 8 attenuated expression of iNOS and IL-1β and production of nitric oxide and TNFβ at 1 and 5 µM. Our results suggest a potential for stable and concentrated moringa isothiocyanates (5–8), delivered in MC as a food-grade product, to alleviate low-grade inflammation associated with chronic diseases.
PMCID: PMC4071966  PMID: 24731259
Moringa oleifera; Moringaceae; chronic inflammation; isothiocyanates; 4-[(α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate; 4-[(4'-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate
10.  Bioactives of Artemisia dracunculus L. enhance insulin sensitivity by modulation of ceramide metabolism in rat skeletal muscle cells 
An increase in ectopic lipids in peripheral tissues has been implicated in attenuating insulin action. The botanical extract of Artemisia dracunculus L. (PMI-5011) improves insulin action, yet the precise mechanism is not known. We sought to determine whether the mechanism by which the bioactive compounds in PMI-5011 improve insulin signaling is through regulation of ceramide metabolism
L6 Myotubes were separately preincubated with 250uM palmitic acid with or without PMI-5011 or four bioactive compounds isolated from PMI-5011 and postulated to be responsible for the effect. The effects on insulin signaling, ceramide and glucosylceramide profiles were determined.
Treatment of L6 myotubes with palmitic acid resulted in increased levels of total ceramides and glucosylceramides, and cell surface expression of gangliosides. Palmitic acid also inhibited insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of protein kinase B/Akt and reduced glycogen accumulation. Bioactives from PMI-5011 had no effect on ceramide formation but one active compound (DMC-2) and its synthetic analogue significantly reduced glucosylceramide accumulation and increased insulin sensitivity via restoration of Akt phosphorylation.
The observations suggest that insulin sensitization by PMI-5011 is partly mediated through moderation of glycosphingolipid accumulation.
PMCID: PMC4082801  PMID: 24985108
Glycosphingolipids; Akt phosphorylation; insulin resistance; botanicals
11.  Polyphenol-Rich Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce Improves Glucose Metabolism and Liver Lipid Accumulation in Diet Induced Obese C57BL/6 Mice 
The aims of the following experiments were to characterize anti-diabetic in vitro and in vivo activity of the polyphenol-rich aqueous extract of Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce.
Materials / Methods
Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce (RSL) extract (RSLE) and isolated compounds were evaluated for inhibitory effects on glucose production as well as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα)-dependent inhibition of insulin activity in H4IIE rat hepatoma cells. Additionally, high fat diet-induced obese mice were treated with RSLE (100 or 300 mg/kg), Metformin (250 mg/kg) or vehicle (water) for 28 days by oral administration and insulin and oral glucose tolerance tests were conducted. Tissues were harvested at the end of the study and evaluated for biochemical and physiological improvements in metabolic syndrome conditions.
A polyphenol-rich RSLE, containing chlorogenic acid, cyanidin malonyl-glucoside and quercetin malonyl-glucoside, was produced by simple boiling water extraction at pH 2. In vitro, RSLE and chlorogenic acid demonstrated dose-dependent inhibition of glucose production. In vivo, RSLE treatment improved glucose metabolism measured by oral glucose tolerance tests, but not insulin tolerance tests. RSLE treated groups had a lower ratio of liver weight to body weight as well as decreased total liver lipids compared to control group after 28 days of treatment. No significant differences in plasma glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and triglycerides were observed with RSLE treated groups compared to vehicle control.
RSLE demonstrated anti-diabetic effects in vitro and in vivo and may improve metabolic syndrome conditions of fatty liver and glucose metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4082798  PMID: 24985107
Red lettuce; anthocyanins; flavonols; chlorogenic acid; metabolic syndrome
12.  Food-compatible method for the efficient extraction and stabilization of cranberry pomace polyphenols 
Food chemistry  2013;141(4):10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.06.050.
Cranberry pomace is a byproduct of cranberry processing and is comprised of seeds, skins and stems of the cranberry fruit. While cranberry pomace contains beneficial polyphenols, including proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins, it is not a palatable source of these compounds and is typically discarded. In this study, we have developed and optimized a method to extract polyphenols from cranberry pomace using aqueous ethanol, a food grade solvent. Biochemical characterization of the pomace extract showed the presence of a broad range of polyphenols also present in cranberry juice concentrate. By co-drying cranberry pomace extract with a protein-rich food matrix, such as soy protein isolate (SPI), we have developed a method to produce a cranberry polyphenol-SPI complex (CBP-SPI) containing 10% cranberry polyphenols. Unlike dried cranberry pomace extract alone, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and total polyphenols were found to be highly stable at 37 °C in the CBP-SPI powder. The extraction and stabilization of cranberry pomace polyphenols using SPI provides an innovative approach for utilizing pomace in the development of novel food ingredients.
PMCID: PMC3815467  PMID: 23993534
cranberry pomace; polyphenols; proanthocyanidins; anthocyanins; soy protein isolate
13.  Artemisia scoparia extract attenuates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in diet-induced obesity mice by enhancing hepatic insulin and AMPK signaling independently of FGF21 pathway 
Metabolism: clinical and experimental  2013;62(9):10.1016/j.metabol.2013.03.004.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease which has no standard treatment. In this regard, we sought to evaluate the effects of extracts of Artemisia santolinaefolia (SANT) and Artemisia scoparia (SCO) on hepatic lipid deposition and cellular signaling in a diet-induced obesity (DIO) animal model.
DIO C57/B6J mice were randomly divided into three groups, i.e. HFD, SANT and SCO. Both extracts were incorporated into HFD at a concentration of 0.5% (w/w). Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, adiponectin, and FGF21 concentrations were measured.
At the end of the 4-week intervention, liver tissues were collected for analysis of insulin, AMPK, and FGF21 signaling. SANT and SCO supplementation significantly increased plasma adiponectin levels when compared with the HFD mice (P < 0.001). Fasting insulin levels were significantly lower in the SCO than HFD mice, but not in SANT group. Hepatic H&E staining showed fewer lipid droplets in the SCO group than in the other two groups. Cellular signaling data demonstrated that SCO significantly increased liver IRS-2 content, phosphorylation of IRS-1, IR β, Akt1 and Akt2, AMPK α1 and AMPK activity and significantly reduced PTP 1B abundance when compared with the HFD group. SCO also significantly decreased fatty acid synthase (FAS), HMG-CoA Reductase (HMGR), and Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP1c), but not Carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT-1) when compared with HFD group. Neither SANT nor SCO significantly altered plasma FGF21 concentrations and liver FGF21 signaling.
This study suggests that SCO may attenuate liver lipid accumulation in DIO mice. Contributing mechanisms were postulated to include promotion of adiponectin expression, inhibition of hepatic lipogenesis, and/or enhanced insulin and AMPK signaling independent of FGF21 pathway.
PMCID: PMC3838888  PMID: 23702383
Obesity; Insulin resistance NAFLD; FGF21; AMPK
14.  Acceleration of cutaneous wound healing by brassinosteroids 
Brassinosteroids are plant growth hormones involved in cell growth, division and differentiation. Their effects in animals are largely unknown, although recent studies showed the anabolic properties of brassinosteroids possibly mediated through the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) signaling pathway. Here we examined biological activity of homobrassinolide (HB) and its synthetic analogues on in vitro proliferation and migration assays in murine fibroblast and primary keratinocyte cell culture. HB stimulated fibroblast proliferation and migration, and weakly induced keratinocyte proliferation in vitro. The effects of topical HB administration on progression of wound closure were further tested in the mouse model of cutaneous wound healing. C57BL/6J mice were given a full thickness dermal wound, and the rate of wound closure was assessed daily for 10 d alongside adenosine receptor agonist CGS-21680 as a positive control. Topical application of brassinosteroid significantly reduced wound size and accelerated wound healing in treated animals. mRNA levels of TGF-β and ICAM-1 were significantly lower, while TNF-α was nearly suppressed in the wounds from treated mice. Our data suggest that topical brassinosteroids accelerate wound healing by positively modulating inflammatory and re-epithelialization phases of the wound-repair process, in partby enhancing Akt signaling in the skin at the edges of the wound and enhancing migration of fibroblasts in a wounded area. Targeting this signaling pathway with brassinosteroids may represent a promising approach to the therapy of delayed wound healing.
PMCID: PMC3775972  PMID: 23937635
brassinosteroids; wound healing; inflammation; proliferation; tissue remodeling
15.  Stable Binding of Alternative Protein-enriched Food Matrices with Concentrated Cranberry Bioflavonoids for Functional Food Applications 
Defatted soy flour (DSF), soy protein isolate (SPI), hemp protein isolate (HPI), medium roast peanut flour (MPF) and pea protein isolate (PPI) stably bind and concentrate cranberry (CB) polyphenols, creating protein/polyphenol-enriched matrices. Proanthocyanidins (PAC) in the enriched matrices ranged from 20.75 mg/g (CB-HPI) to 10.68 mg/g (CB-SPI). Anthocyanins (ANC) ranged from 3.19 mg/g (CB-DSF) to 1.68 mg/g (CB-SPI), while total phenolics (TP) ranged from 37.61 mg/g (CB-HPI) to 21.29 mg/g (CB-SPI). LC-MS indicated that the enriched matrices contained all identifiable ANC, PAC and flavonols present in CB juice. Complexation with SPI stabilized and preserved the integrity of the CB polyphenolic components for at least 15 weeks at 37 °C. PAC isolated from enriched matrices demonstrated comparable anti-adhesion bioactivity to PAC isolated directly from CB juice (MIC 0.4 to 0.16 mg/mL), indicating their potential utility for maintenance of urinary tract health. Approximately 1.0 g of polyphenol-enriched matrix delivered the same amount of PAC available in one cup (300 mL) of commercial CB juice cocktail; which has been shown clinically to be the prophylactic dose for reducing recurring urinary tract infections. CB-SPI inhibited gram- positive and gram-negative bacterial growth. Nutritional and sensory analyses indicated that the targeted CB-matrix combinations have high potential for incorporation in functional food formulations.
PMCID: PMC3769697  PMID: 23786629
A-type proanthocyanidins; polyphenols; Vaccinium macrocarpon; anti-adhesion; antimicrobial; shelf-stability
16.  Wound-healing properties of nut oil from Pouteria lucuma 
Journal of cosmetic dermatology  2010;9(3):185-195.
Cell migration, angiogenesis, inflammation, and extracellular matrix remodeling are key events in wound healing. Natural products, including fatty acids (FAs), can accelerate wound healing by modulating the aforementioned events.
This study aims to evaluate the effect of lucuma (Pouteria lucuma O Kezte) nut oil (LNO) on fibroblasts migration, angiogenesis, inflammation, bacterial and fungal growth, and wound healing.
GC–MS analysis of FAs methyl esters (FAMES) was used for chemical characterization of LNO. In vitro studies were carried out with LNO investigating the induction of cell migration, cytoskeleton remodeling of human fibroblasts, inhibition of LPS-induced nitric oxide production in macrophages, and antibacterial and antifungal effects. Two in vivo studies were carried out to study LNO’s effect on angiogenesis and wound healing: (i) tail fin regeneration in transgenic zebrafish larvae expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in vascular endothelial cells was used to study vessel sprouting and wound healing and (ii) the closure of wounds was evaluated in CD-1 mice after topical applications of LNO-containing formulations.
Lucuma nut oil is a mixture of FAs, 99.7% of which were characterized. Major components of LNO (w/w) are linoleic acid (38.9%), oleic acid (27.9%), palmitic acid (18.6%), stearic acid (8.9%), and γ linolenic acid (2.9%). In vitro studies showed that LNO significantly promoted migration and vinculin expression in human fibroblasts. LNO decreased LPS-induced nitric oxide production and did not display significant antibacterial or antifungal effects. LNO induced tail fin regeneration in transgenic zebrafish larvae 48 h after tail fin amputation and significantly accelerated cutaneous wound closure in CD-1 mice.
Natural FAs from P. lucuma nut promote skin regeneration and, thus, may have applications in medicine and skin care.
PMCID: PMC4097019  PMID: 20883291
fatty acids; lucuma; Pouteria lucuma; transgenic zebrafish; wound healing
17.  Effects of a high fat meal matrix and protein complexation on the bioaccessibility of blueberry anthocyanins using the TNO gastrointestinal model (TIM-1) 
Food chemistry  2013;142:349-357.
The TNO intestinal model (TIM-1) of the human upper gastrointestinal tract was used to compare intestinal absorption/bioaccessibility of blueberry anthocyanins under different digestive conditions. Blueberry polyphenol-rich extract was delivered to TIM-1 in the absence or presence of a high-fat meal. HPLC analysis of seventeen anthocyanins showed that delphinidin-3-glucoside, delphinidin-3-galactoside, delphinidin-3-arabinoside and petunidin-3-arabinoside were twice as bioaccessible in fed state, whilst delphinidin-3-(6″-acetoyl)-glucoside and malvidin-3-arabinoside were twice as bioaccessible under fasted conditions, suggesting lipid-rich matrices selectively effect anthocyanin bioaccessibility. TIM-1 was fed blueberry juice (BBJ) or blueberry polyphenol-enriched defatted soybean flour (BB-DSF) containing equivalent amounts of free or DSF-sorbed anthocyanins, respectively. Anthocyanin bioaccessibility from BB-DSF (36.0 ± 10.4) was numerically, but not significantly, greater than that from BBJ (26.3 ± 10.3). Ileal efflux samples collected after digestion of BB-DSF contained 2.8-fold more anthocyanins than same from BBJ, suggesting that protein-rich DSF protects anthocyanins during transit through upper digestive tract for subsequent colonic delivery/metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4072317  PMID: 24001852
Blueberry; Anthocyanins; Bioavailability; Bioaccessibility; Gastrointestinal model; TIM-1; Soybean flour; Nutrition
18.  Determination of Tripdiolide in Root Extracts of Tripterygium wilfordii by Solid-phase Extraction and Reversed-phase High-performance Liquid Chromatography 
Phytochemical analysis : PCA  2008;19(4):348-352.
Extracts of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. have been widely used in China to treat a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The diterpenoids triptolide and tripdiolide are two major active components in the T. wilfordii ethyl acetate extract. An efficient solid-phase extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography (SPE-HPLC) method to measure triptolide content in the extract has been previously reported. However, a suitable means of tripdiolide quantification is not available because of interfering compounds in the extract that co-elute with tripdiolide. Therefore, this paper describes a method wherein tripdiolide content can be measured from a small amount of the extract. The extract solution (600 µL) was applied into an aminopropyl SPE tube. Triptolide was eluted with dichloromethane:methanol (1 mL, 49:1 v/v), followed by tripdiolide elution with dichloromethane:methanol (3 mL, 17:3 v/v). The tripdiolide eluate was analysed by HPLC using an isocratic solvent system and was quantified by measuring the peak area at 219 nm. The contents of triptolide and tripdiolide in the extract were determined to be 807.32 ± 51.94 and 366.13 ± 17.21 µg/g of extract, respectively. Since tripdiolide is biologically active and makes up a considerable portion of the extract, for extract quality control and standardisation purposes, it should be measured along with triptolide using the proposed SPE-HPLC method.
PMCID: PMC4041272  PMID: 18288676
SPE; HPLC; triptolide; tripdiolide; Tripterygium wilfordii
19.  An Extract of Artemisia dracunculus L. Enhances Insulin Receptor Signaling and Modulates Gene Expression in Skeletal Muscle in KKay Mice 
An ethanolic extract of Artemisia dracunculus L. (PMI-5011) has been observed to decrease glucose and insulin levels in animal models, but the cellular mechanisms by which insulin action is enhanced in vivo is not precisely known. In this study, we evaluated the effects of PMI-5011 to modulate gene expression and cellular signaling through the insulin receptor in skeletal muscle of KK-Ay mice. Eighteen male KK-Ay mice were randomized to a diet (W/W) mixed with PMI-5011 (1%) or diet alone for 8 weeks. Food intake, adiposity, glucose and insulin were assessed over the study, and at study completion, vastus lateralis muscle was obtained to assess insulin signaling parameters and gene expression. Animals randomized to PMI 5011 were shown to have enhanced insulin sensitivity and increased insulin receptor signaling, i.e. IRS-associated PI-3 kinase activity, Akt-1 activity and Akt phosphorylation in skeletal muscle when compared to control animals (P<0.01, P<0.01 and P<0.01 respectively). Gene expression for insulin signaling proteins, i.e. IRS-1, PI-3 Kinase, Glut-4, were not increased although a relative increase in protein abundance was noted with PMI 5011 treatment. Gene expression for specific ubiquitin proteins and specific 20S proteasome activity, in addition to skeletal muscle phosphatase activity, i.e. PTP1B activity, were significantly decreased in mice randomized to PMI 5011 relative to control. Thus, the data demonstrate that PMI 5011 increases insulin sensitivity and enhances insulin receptor signaling in an animal model of insulin resistance. PMI 5011 may modulate skeletal muscle protein degradation and phosphatase activity as a possible mode of action.
PMCID: PMC4020631  PMID: 20447816
muscle; insulin signaling; nutrition; botanicals
20.  Pregnane Glycosides Interfere With Steroidogenic Enzymes to Down-Regulate Corticosteroid Production in Human Adrenocortical H295R Cells 
Journal of cellular physiology  2013;228(5):1120-1126.
A group of bioactive steroidal glycosides (pregnanes) with anorectic activity in animals was isolated from several genera of milkweeds including Hoodia and Asclepias. In this study, we investigated the effects, structure-activity relationships, and mechanism of action of pregnane glycosides on steroidogenesis in human adrenocortical H295R cells. Administration of pregnane glycosides for 24 h suppressed the basal and forskolin-stimulated release of androstenedione, corticosterone, and cortisone from H295R cells. The conversion of progesterone to 11-deoxycorticosterone and 17-hydroxyprogesterone to either androstenedione or 11-deoxycortisol was most strongly affected, with 12-cinnamoyl-, benzoyl-, and tigloyl-containing pregnanes showing the highest activity. Incubation of pregnane glycosides for 24 h had no effect on mRNA transcripts of CYP11A1, CYP21A1, CYP11B1 cytochrome enzymes and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StaR) protein, yet resulted in twofold decrease in HSD3B1 mRNA levels. At the same time, pregnane glycosides had no effect on the CYP1, 2, or 3 drug and steroid metabolism enzymes and showed weak Na+/K+ ATPase and glucocorticoid receptor binding. Taken together, these data suggest that pregnane glycosides specifically suppress steroidogenesis through strong inhibition of 11β-hydroxylase and steroid 17-alpha-monooxygenase, and weak inhibition of cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage enzyme and 21β-hydroxylase, but not 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/isomerase.
PMCID: PMC3796370  PMID: 23065845
21.  Development and Phytochemical Characterization of High Polyphenol Red Lettuce with Anti-Diabetic Properties 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91571.
Polyphenol-rich Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce (RSL) (Lactuca sativa L.) was developed through somaclonal variation and selection in tissue culture. RSL may contain among the highest reported contents of polyphenols and antioxidants in the category of common fruits and vegetables (95.6 mg/g dry weight and 8.7 mg/g fresh weight gallic acid equivalents and 2721 µmol/g dry weight and 223 µmol/g fresh weight Trolox equivalents). Three main compounds accumulate at particularly high levels in RSL: chlorogenic acid, up to 27.6 mg/g dry weight, cyanidin malonyl-glucoside, up to 20.5 mg/g dry weight, and quercetin malonyl-glucoside, up to 35.7 mg/g dry weight. Major polyphenolic constituents of RSL have been associated with health promotion as well as anti-diabetic and/or anti-inflammatory activities. Daily oral administration of RSL (100 or 300 mg/kg) for up to eight days acutely reduced hyperglycemia and improved insulin sensitivity in high fat diet-induced obese hyperglycemic mice compared to vehicle (water) control. Data presented here support possible use of RSL as a functional food for the dietary management of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3956610  PMID: 24637790
22.  Effects of Pregnane Glycosides on Food Intake Depend on Stimulation of the Melanocortin Pathway and BDNF in an Animal Model 
Pregnane glycosides appear to modulate food intake by possibly affecting the hypothalamic feeding circuits; however, the mechanisms of the appetite-regulating effect of pregnane glycosides remain obscure. Here, we show that pregnane glycoside-enriched extracts from swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata at 25–100 mg/kg daily attenuated food intake (up to 47.1 ± 8.5% less than controls) and body weight gain in rats (10% for males and 9% for females, respectively) by activating melanocortin signaling and inhibiting gastric emptying. The major milkweed pregnane glycoside, ikemagenin, exerted its appetite-regulating effect by decreasing levels of agouti-related protein (0.6-fold) but not NPY satiety peptides. Ikemagenin treatment also increased secretion of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) downstream of melanocortin receptors in the hypothalamus (1.4-fold) and in the C6 rat glioma cell culture in vitro (up to 6-fold). These results support the multimodal effects of pregnane glycosides on feeding regulation, which depends on the activity of the melanocortin signaling pathway and BDNF.
PMCID: PMC3805381  PMID: 23308358
appetite; satiety; body weight; milkweed; Asclepias
23.  Blueberry polyphenol-enriched soybean flour reduces hyperglycemia, body weight gain and serum cholesterol in mice 
Defatted soybean flour (DSF) can sorb and concentrate blueberry anthocyanins and other polyphenols, but not sugars. In this study blueberry polyphenol-enriched DSF (BB-DSF) or DSF were incorporated into very high fat diet (VHFD) formulations and provided ad libitum to obese and hyperglycemic C57BL/6 mice for 13 weeks to investigate anti-diabetic effects. Compared to the VHFD containing DSF, the diet supplemented with BB-DSF reduced weight gain by 5.6%, improved glucose tolerance, and lowered fasting blood glucose levels in mice within 7 weeks of intervention. Serum cholesterol of mice consuming the BB-DSF-supplemented diet was 13.2% lower than mice on the diet containing DSF. Compounds were eluted from DSF and BB-DSF for in vitro assays of glucose production and uptake. Compared to untreated control, doses of BB-DSF eluate containing 0.05 – 10 μg/μL of blueberry anthocyanins significantly reduced glucose production by 24% - 74% in H4IIE rat hepatocytes, but did not increase glucose uptake in L6 myotubes. The results indicate that delivery of blueberry polyphenols stabilized in a high-protein food matrix may be useful for the dietary management of pre-diabetes and/or diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3833590  PMID: 23220243
metabolic syndrome; diabetes; blueberry; soybean; anthocyanins; polyphenols
24.  Medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of genus Tripterygium (Celastraceae) 
Phytochemistry  2007;68(6):10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.11.029.
Plants in the genus Tripterygium, such as Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f., have a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. In recent years there has been considerable interest in the use of Tripterygium extracts and of the main bioactive constituent, the diterpene triepoxide triptolide (1), to treat a variety of autoimmune and inflammation-related conditions. The main mode of action of the Tripterygium extracts and triptolide (1) is the inhibition of expression of proinflammatory genes such as those for interleukin-2 (IL-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ). The efficacy and safety of certain types of Tripterygium extracts were confirmed in human clinical trials in the US and abroad. Over 300 compounds have been identified in the genus Tripterygium, and many of these have been evaluated for biological activity. The overall activity of the extract is based on the interaction between its components. Therefore, the safety and efficacy of the extract cannot be fully mimicked by any individual constituent. This review discusses the biochemical composition and biological and pharmacological activities of Tripterygium extracts, and their main bioactive components.
PMCID: PMC3867260  PMID: 17250858
Tripterygium; Celastraceae; Thunder god vine; Terpenoids; Triptolide; Inflammation; Antiinflammatory drugs; Immunosuppression
25.  In vivo and in vitro antidiabetic effects of aqueous cinnamon extract and cinnamon polyphenol-enhanced food matrix 
Food chemistry  2012;135(4):2994-3002.
Cinnamon has a long history of medicinal use and continues to be valued for its therapeutic potential for improving metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. In this study, a phytochemically-enhanced functional food ingredient that captures water soluble polyphenols from aqueous cinnamon extract (CE) onto a protein rich matrix was developed. CE and cinnamon polyphenol-enriched defatted soy flour (CDSF) were effective in acutely lowering fasting blood glucose levels in diet-induced obese hyperglycemic mice at 300 and 600 mg/kg, respectively. To determine mechanisms of action, rat hepatoma cells were treated with CE and eluates of CDSF at a range of 1–25 µg/ml. CE and eluates of CDSF demonstrated dose-dependent inhibition of hepatic glucose production with significant levels of inhibition at 25 µg/ml. Furthermore, CE decreased the gene expression of two major regulators of hepatic gluconeogenesis, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and glucose-6-phosphatase. The hypoglycemic and insulin-like effects of CE and CDSF may help to ameliorate type 2 diabetes conditions.
PMCID: PMC3444749  PMID: 22980902
Cinnamomum burmannii; cinnamon; diabetes; fasting blood glucose; glucose production

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