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1.  Absorption and bioeffects of an isoflavone-based supplementation in postmenopausal women 
Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of isoflavones rich diets can improve several postmenopausal complications. The aim of this study was to investigate the absorption and the efficacy of isoflavonic supplementation in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
36 postmenopausal women received 75 mg/day of isoflavones in the form of tablets, for six months. 21 subjects concluded the treatment. Plasmatic and urinary samples were collected before and after the treatment, along with a dietary interview. Isoflavones were determined in biological samples and in commercial administered supplements by a HPLC/DAD system.
Results showed the presence of genistein (from 0.043 to 1.820 micromol/L) in plasma samples, and of genistein (from 2.486 to 20.363 micromol/24h) and daidzein (from 11.106 to 98.091 micromol/24h) in the urines of the treated women. In the 21 completers the Greene Climateric scale value for hot flushes changed from 3 to 1 or 0. No changes of the endometrial thickness and of the breast tissue were detected. The analysis of the supplement content in the tablets was in agreement with what declared by the producer.
Administration of isoflavone supplements produced a decrease of symptoms in this cohort of postmenopausal women monitored for isoflavone absorption.
PMCID: PMC2811359  PMID: 22461255
phytoestrogens, isoflavones, HPLC analysis, menopause, hot flushes.
2.  Isolation and functional characterization of a cDNA coding a hydroxycinnamoyltransferase involved in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis in Cynara cardunculus L 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:14.
Cynara cardunculus L. is an edible plant of pharmaceutical interest, in particular with respect to the polyphenolic content of its leaves. It includes three taxa: globe artichoke, cultivated cardoon, and wild cardoon. The dominating phenolics are the di-caffeoylquinic acids (such as cynarin), which are largely restricted to Cynara species, along with their precursor, chlorogenic acid (CGA). The scope of this study is to better understand CGA synthesis in this plant.
A gene sequence encoding a hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HCT) involved in the synthesis of CGA, was identified. Isolation of the gene sequence was achieved by using a PCR strategy with degenerated primers targeted to conserved regions of orthologous HCT sequences available. We have isolated a 717 bp cDNA which shares 84% aminoacid identity and 92% similarity with a tobacco gene responsible for the biosynthesis of CGA from p-coumaroyl-CoA and quinic acid. In silico studies revealed the globe artichoke HCT sequence clustering with one of the main acyltransferase groups (i.e. anthranilate N-hydroxycinnamoyl/benzoyltransferase). Heterologous expression of the full length HCT (GenBank accession DQ104740) cDNA in E. coli demonstrated that the recombinant enzyme efficiently synthesizes both chlorogenic acid and p-coumaroyl quinate from quinic acid and caffeoyl-CoA or p-coumaroyl-CoA, respectively, confirming its identity as a hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA: quinate HCT. Variable levels of HCT expression were shown among wild and cultivated forms of C. cardunculus subspecies. The level of expression was correlated with CGA content.
The data support the predicted involvement of the Cynara cardunculus HCT in the biosynthesis of CGA before and/or after the hydroxylation step of hydroxycinnamoyl esters.
PMCID: PMC1847684  PMID: 17374149

Results 1-2 (2)