Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) are effective treatments for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the extent of treatment depends on hepatic functional reserve. L-Carnitine is a vitamin-like substance and several reports have described the usefulness of L-carnitine supplementation in cases of cirrhosis, with confirmed effectiveness against refractory hepatic encephalopathy. On the other hand, we have previously reported that in patients who underwent TACE or RFA, administration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) pre-intervention significantly reduced inflammatory reactions. We first determined serum levels of total, free, and acyl-carnitine before and at 7 d after performing TACE in 10 HCC patients. We administered levocarnitine (L-carnitine chloride, a biologically active form of carnitine) at 900 mg/d to 69 consecutive HCC patients hospitalized to undergo TACE and/or RFA, and compared changes in blood test values with those in 119 consecutive patients not administered this drug. Sixty-seven patients had a history of using BCAAs at the time of admission. We found that after 7 d of TACE, serum levels of total and acyl-carnitine are significantly decreased. On comparing the four groups, the carnitine+BCAA, carnitine-alone, and BCAA-alone groups showed significantly higher values for changes in NH3 when compared with the non-dosed group. The decrease in albumin (Alb) was significantly suppressed in the carnitine+BCAA and BCAA-alone groups. We also conducted the same examinations in a subset of patients classified as Child-Pugh class A, and noted the same trends. Administration of levocarnitine and/or BCAAs during invasive treatments reduced blood NH3 concentrations and suppressed decreases in Alb.
Asparagine synthetase (ASNS), 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) and serine dehydratase (SDS) in rat liver are expressed in response to protein and amino acid intake. In the present study, we examined the expression of these enzymes in relation to amino acid imbalance caused by leucine. Rats were subjected to leucine administration in the diet or orally between meals. Consumption of more than 2% leucine in a 6% casein diet suppressed food intake and caused growth retardation in a dose-dependent manner, but this was not seen in a 12% or 40% casein diet. ASNS and PHGDH expression in the liver was significantly induced by the 6% casein diet and was suppressed by leucine in a dose-dependent manner, whereas the SDS expression was induced. These effects were leucine specific and not seen with ingestion of isoleucine or valine. However, leucine orally administered between meals did not change the food intake or growth of rats fed a 6% casein die, though it similarly affected the expression of ASNS, PHGDH and SDS in the liver. These results suggest that the growth retardation caused by leucine imbalance was mainly because of the suppression of food intake, and demonstrated that there are no causal relationships between ASNS, PHGDH and SDS expression and amino acid imbalance caused by leucine.
Lignosulfonic acid is a waste lignin produced from the sulfite pulping of softwood. We investigated the effect of lignosulfonic acid on α-glucosidase and found that lignosulfonic acid produced a reversible and non-competitive inhibition of the enzyme activity. Moreover, in human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells, lignosulfonic acid inhibited 2-deoxyglucose uptake, while in vivo studies demonstrated a significant reduction in the blood glycemic response to sucrose or glucose ingestion in rats treated with lignosulfonic acid. Feces of rats fed a diet supplemented with 5% lignosulfonic acid had higher sugar content compared to those of rats fed a control diet. These results suggest that lignosulfonic acid suppresses the rise in blood glucose levels through inhibition of α-glucosidase activity and intestinal glucose absorption.
Folate and related gene variants are significant risk factors in the aetiology of colorectal cancer. Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is critical in the metabolism of synthetic folic acid (pteroylmonoglutamatamic, PteGlu) to tetrahydrofolate following absorption. Therefore, the 19bp deletion variant of DHFR may lead to the alteration of folate-related colorectal disease susceptibility. This study examined the association between PteGlu and 19bp del-DHFR, and adenomatous polyp (AP) occurrence, an antecedent of colorectal cancer. A total of 199 subjects (162 controls and 37 AP cases) were analysed to determine dietary intake of total folate, natural methylfolate and synthetic PteGlu, level of erythrocyte folate and plasma homocysteine (tHcy), and genotype of 19bp del-DHFR. Dietary folate intake, erythrocyte folate, tHcy and 19bp del-DHFR variants did not independently predict the occurrence of AP. However, a gene-nutrient interaction was observed when subjects were stratified according to dietary folate intake. In subjects with a folate intake above the median value due to significant dietary PteGlu content, the presence of the 19bp-deletion allele decreased the risk for AP (OR=0.35, 95% CI: 0.13-0.97). However, such association was not evident in individuals with a folate intake below the median value. In conclusion, the finding suggests that folate nutrition and 19bp del-DHFR variation may interact to modify AP risk.
Hypophosphatemia has been found to be associated with multiple organ dysfunction. In this study we aimed to investigate the association between low serum phosphorus and acute heart failure. A total of 213 subjects, 101 patients with acute heart failure and 112 healthy subjects were included in this case-control study. Serum phosphorus levels, calcium levels, and PTH concentrations were measured. Ejection fraction percentages, pulse rates, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were recorded. The groups were similar in terms of age and gender (p=0.067 and 0.995, respectively). The phosphorus levels and ejection fraction percentages of the patients with heart failure were lower than for the healthy subjects (p<0.001). Frequency of hypophosphatemia was higher in the heart failure group (p<0.001). There was a strong relationship between low serum phosphorus level and acute heart failure (OR 9.85, CI 95% 3.6-26.3, p<0.001). The phosphorus level of patients with acute heart failure was found to be low in this study. Therefore, the phosphorus level should be controlled in patients with acute heart failure and phosphorus supplementation can be a complimentary treatment for these patients.
An efficient purification method for simultaneous recovery of polar saponins, protodioscin (PD) and dioscin (DC), and non-polar aglycon, diosgenin (DG), from plasma of mice fed diets containing seed flours of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) was established for subsequent quantitative analysis by LC-ESI-MS/MS. Mice plasma samples were first deproteinated by addition of acetonitrile, and the supernatant was applied to a carbon-based solid phase extraction tube. After successive washing with methanol and 35% chroloform/methanol (v/v), PD, DC and DG were eluted simultaneously with 80% chroloform/methanol (v/v). The eluate was evaporated to dryness, and re-dissolved in 80% methanol (v/v). The filtered sample was analyzed with an LC-ESI-MS/MS system. After the purification procedure, recovery rates between 89.3 to 117.4% were obtained without notable ion suppression or enhancement. The use of internal standards was therefore not necessary. The utility of the method was demonstrated by analyzing plasma of mice from a fenugreek feeding study.
Vitamin K is essential for bone health, but the effects of low-dose vitamin K intake in Japanese subjects remain unclear. We investigated the effective minimum daily menaquinone-7 dose for improving osteocalcin γ-carboxylation. Study 1 was a double-blind, randomized controlled dose-finding trial; 60 postmenopausal women aged 50-69 y were allocated to one of four dosage group and consumed 0, 50, 100, or 200 μg menaquinone-7 daily for 4 wk, respectively, with a controlled diet in accordance with recommended daily intakes for 2010 in Japan. Study 2 was a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial based on the results of Study 1; 120 subjects aged 20-69 y were allocated to the placebo or MK-7 group and consumed 0 or 100 μg menaquinone-7 daily for 12 wk, respectively. In both studies, circulating carboxylated osteocalcin and undercarboxylated osteocalcin were measured. The carboxylated osteocalcin/undercarboxylated osteocalcin ratio decreased significantly from baseline in the 0 μg menaquinone-7 group, in which subjects consumed the recommended daily intake of vitamin K with vitamin K1 and menaquinone-4 (Study 1). Menaquinone-7 increased the carboxylated osteocalcin/undercarboxylated osteocalcin ratio dose dependently, and significant effects were observed in both the 100 and 200 μg groups compared with the 0 μg group. Undercarboxylated osteocalcin concentrations decreased significantly, and the carboxylated osteocalcin/undercarboxylated osteocalcin ratio increased significantly in the 100 μg menaquinone-7 group compared with the placebo group (Study 2). Daily menaquinone-7 intake ≥100 μg was suggested to improve osteocalcin γ-carboxylation.
Supplements and naturally occurring nutraceuticals effective for maintenance or enhancement of skeletal muscle mass are expected to contribute to prevention of decreased mobility and increased risk of developing metabolic diseases. However, information about available food components remains widely unavailable. In the present study, we investigated the effects of dietary β-carotene on the quantity and quality of skeletal muscle under physiological conditions. Male ddY mice (8 wk old) were orally administered β-carotene (0.5 mg once daily) for 14 d. Dietary β-carotene had no influence on body weight, but increased the soleus muscle/body weight ratio. The cross-sectional area (CSA) in muscle fibers of the soleus muscle was increased, indicating that administration of β-carotene induces muscle hypertrophy. In the soleus muscle of the β-carotene-administered mice, twitch force tended to be increased (p=0.06) and tetanic force was significantly increased, whereas specific force (force per CSA) remained unchanged. Dietary β-carotene increased the mRNA level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf-1) as its splicing variant Igf-1ea, but had no influence on the liver Igf-1 mRNA level or serum IGF-1 level. β-Carotene promoted protein synthesis in the soleus muscle and reduced levels of ubiquitin conjugates, but had no influence on the mRNA levels of two atrogenes, Atrogin-1 and Murf1. On the other hand, β-carotene had no influence on the processing of the autophagy marker protein light chain 3. These results indicate that in mice, administration of β-carotene increases mass and induces functional hypertrophy in the soleus muscle, perhaps by promoting IGF-1-mediated protein synthesis and by reducing ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.
This study was conducted to determine the effects of 50% ethanolic extract from Sasa borealis leaves (SBE) on swimming capacity and oxidative metabolism in mice. The mice were divided into 2 groups with similar swimming times and body weights; Ex-Control and Ex-SBE were orally administered with distilled water and 250 mg/kg body weight/d of SBE. Exhaustive swimming times were prolonged by 1.5-fold in the Ex-SBE group compared to the Ex-Control. The Ex-SBE group displayed lower lactate and higher non-esterified fatty acid levels 15 min after swimming and the hepatic and muscle glycogen levels were significantly higher than that in the Ex-Control. SBE potentially enhanced mRNA expression of citrate synthase (CS), carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT-1), and β-hydroxyacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (β-HAD) in skeletal muscle. The activities and mRNA expression of catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were elevated in the Ex-SBE compared with the Ex-Control after exhaustive swimming. These results suggest that SBE might be used as an effective agent to enhance swimming capacity by utilization of energy substrates and might ameliorate physical exhaustion by facilitating energy-generating metabolic genes and enhancing endogenous antioxidants.
Prostate cancer is one of the most frequently occurring cancers and often acquires the potential of androgen-independent growth as a malignant phenotype. Androgen-independent prostate cancer has severe chemoresistance towards conventional chemotherapeutic agents, so a new treatment approach is required for curing such prostate cancer. In this context, the present study was undertaken to check if annatto tocotrienol (main component δ-tocotrienol) could suppress cell growth in human prostate cancer (PC3, androgen-independent type) cells via the inhibition of Src and Stat3. The tocotrienol showed cytotoxic effects on PC3 cells in a dose-dependent manner, and the effect depended on G1 arrest in the cell cycle and subsequent induction of apoptosis. In a cytotoxic dose, the tocotrienol suppressed cellular growth via the simultaneous inhibition of Src and Stat3. Similarly, the treatment combination of both Src and Stat3 inhibitors induced cytotoxic effects in PC3 cells in an additive manner compared to each by itself. With respect to cell cycle regulation and the induction of apoptosis, the combination treatment showed a similar effect to that of the tocotrienol treatment. These results suggest that annatto tocotrienol effectively induces cytotoxicity in androgen-independent prostate cancer cells via the suppression of Src and Stat3.
Recently, proteoglycan was purified from the nasal cartilage of salmon. Although several physiological effects have been reported, the effect of salmon nasal cartilage proteoglycan (salmon PG) on glucose metabolism remains unclear. We studied the effect of salmon PG on rat plasma glucose levels. Oral administration of 1% salmon PG significantly attenuated the increase in portal plasma glucose levels following an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Additionally 1% salmon PG delayed the increase in peripheral glucose concentration induced by the OGTT. Mucosal administration of 1% salmon PG significantly decreased active glucose transport using the everted jejunal sac method. Furthermore, transmural potential difference (ΔPD) measurements using the everted jejunum revealed that 1% salmon PG significantly decreased glucose-dependent and phlorhizin (inhibitor of sodium-glucose co-transporter 1; SGLT1)-sensitive ΔPD. These results suggest that salmon PG decreases glucose absorption via SGLT1 in the jejunum, thereby attenuating the increase in portal and peripheral plasma glucose levels in rats.
Glycine oxidase, encoded by the thiO gene, participates in the biosynthesis of thiamin by providing glyoxyl imine to form the thiazole moiety of thiamin. We have purified and characterized ThiO from Pseudomonas putida KT2440. It has a monomeric structure that is distinct from the homotetrameric ThiOs from Bacillus subtilis and Geobacillus kaustophilus. The P. putida ThiO is unique in that glycine is its preferred substrate, which differs markedly from the B. subtilis and G. kaustophilus enzymes that use D-proline as the preferred substrate.
Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced in the colonic lumen mainly by bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber. Emerging evidence shows that SCFA has important physiological and pathophysiological effects on colonic and systemic events. Recently, propionate, known as a kind of SCFA, has been shown to lower fatty acid contents in plasma and reduce food intake. However, the detailed mechanism underlying the propionate-mediated lipid metabolism action remains poorly understood. The intestinal lipid metabolism process is critical for systemic energy homeostasis. Therefore, we investigate here the effects of propionate on intestinal lipid metabolism. Results show that propionate induced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) expression time-dependently and concentration-dependently in YAMC (a mouse intestinal epithelial cell line) cells. The expression levels of PPARα-responsive genes such as carnitine palmitoyl transferase II (CPTII) and trifunctional protein α (TFPα) were up-regulated in the presence of propionate, thereby suppressing triglyceride (TG) accumulation. Furthermore, propionate-mediated PPARα induction required phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase. Collectively, these data indicate that propionate regulates intestinal lipid metabolism through the induction of PPARα expression. Results suggest that the inhibitory effect of propionate on TG accumulation partly contributes to the propionate-mediated fatty acid-lowering effect.