Background: Emerging evidence indicates that maternal oxidative stress during pregnancy could impair fetal growth and that antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamins A, E and C) have a significant role in miantaining physiological processes of pregnancy and growth. Aims: To determine the concentrations of vitamins A, E, and C in pair-matched maternal and cord serum samples of neonate, and thus to investigate the relationship between maternal serum levels of these vitamins at delivery and birth outcomes. Methods: A total of 143 mother-neonate pairs were recruited into the cross-sectional descriptive study. Demographic information was investigated by questionnaire. After delivery, both cord and maternal blood were collected for quantification of serum levels of vitamins A, E and C by HPLC. Results: Maternal serum levels of vitamins A and E were significantly higher than those in cord serum. In contrast, vitamin C level in cord serum was significantly higher than that in maternal serum. Further, we found that maternal vitamin A status was significantly correlated to both birth weight (r=0.19, p=0.0419) and birth height (r=0.21, p=0.0311), and these were manifested by these findings: (i) per 250.2 g reduction in birth weight concomitant with 1 μmol/L increase in maternal serum vitamin A level (p<0.01; 95% CI: 56.9-451.5); and (ii) per 1% increase in the ratio of serum vitamin A level of neonate to mother concomitant with 0.8 cm increase in birth height (p=0.049; 95% CI: 0.004-1.639). Conclusion: Maternal vitamin A, but not vitamins E and C, during pregnancy had a significant effect on birth outcomes. Further studies are necessary to investigate the role of these antioxidant vitamins in fetal growth at various gestation stages.
The ferric-xylenol orange (FOX) method for measurement of hydroperoxides is based on a technique that employs reduction of peroxides in an acidic condition by Fe2+ and formation of the colored ferric-xylenol orange (XO/Fe3+) product with a peak at 560 nm. The 560 nm absorbance peak of XO/Fe3+ shifts to a 610 nm peak with high absorption intensity in the presence of phosphatidylcholine. This is useful for quantification of peroxides such as phospholipid hydroperoxides. Based on this finding, we recently reported a modified FOX method. We now show by measurements of absorbance, broadening of the electron paramagnetic resonance spectrum, changes in the vesicle size and their zeta potentials, the effects of detergents, and manipulation of the membrane lipid composition that the XO/Fe3+-phosphatidylcholine complex forms only in the presence of intact phosphatidylcholine membranes. The phosphate group on the phospholipid plays a role in this interaction which may involve an electron transfer from the phosphate to the Fe3+. A positively charged quaternary amine on the phosphatidylcholine is also necessary to give a peak absorbance at 610 nm. Our observations are consistent with binding of one XO/Fe3+ complex to about 3 molecules of the egg yolk phosphatidylcholine carrying a zero net charge.
It has been reported that treatment with a pharmacological dose (45 mg/d) of menaquinone-4 (MK-4) prevents bone loss in postmenopausal women. However, it is not known whether supplementation with low dose MK-4 has beneficial effects on bone metabolism in healthy women. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of the supplementation of 1.5 mg/d MK-4 for 4 wk on bone and lipid metabolism in healthy postmenopausal Japanese women. The study was performed as a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. The participants aged 53-65 y were randomly assigned to 2 groups and supplemented with 1.5 mg/d of MK-4 or a placebo for 4 wk (n=20 for each group). The most marked effects of MK-4 intake were observed on serum osteocalcin (OC) concentrations. Serum undercarboxylated OC (ucOC) concentration decreased, and the γ-carboxylated OC (GlaOC) and GlaOC/GlaOC+ucOC ratio that indicates the degree of OC γ-carboxylation increased significantly at 2 and 4 wk compared with that at baseline in the MK-4 group. The serum ucOC and GlaOC concentrations in the MK-4 group were significantly different from those in the placebo group at 2 wk. These results suggest that supplementation with 1.5 mg/d MK-4 accelerated the degree of OC γ-carboxylation. The concentrations of serum lipids and other indices were not different between the groups at either intervention period. Thus, the additional intake of MK-4 might be beneficial in the maintenance of bone health in postmenopausal Japanese women.
Experiments were conducted to clarify the relationship between dietary protein level and plasma homocysteine concentration in rats. Male Wistar rats were fed diets differing in casein level from 5 to 50% for 14 d (Expt. 1). Plasma total homocysteine concentration was positively correlated with dietary casein level in the range of 5 to 10% but inversely correlated with dietary casein level in the range of 10 to 50%. Hepatic cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) and betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT) activities and renal CBS activity increased in response to dietary casein level in the range of 10 to 50%, whereas hepatic serine and betaine concentrations decreased with increasing dietary casein levels. When rats were fed the 10% casein diet or 10% casein+17.2% amino acid mixture diet for 14 d, plasma homocysteine concentration was significantly lower in rats fed the amino acid mixture-added diet than in rats fed the 10% casein diet (Expt. 2), indicating that the hypohomocysteinemic effect of high casein diets was elicited by amino acids, not by casein contaminants. The degree of increase in plasma homocysteine concentration caused by dietary supplementation with 0.75% L-methionine was significantly lower in rats fed the 40% casein diet than in rats fed the 10% casein diet (Expt. 3). These results indicate that high casein diets do not increase but rather decrease plasma homocysteine concentration and cause resistance to hyperhomocysteinemic treatment, and suggest that such effects of high casein diets are mediated at least by increased activities of CBS and BHMT.
The impact of sesamin, episesamin and sesamolin (sesame lignans) on hepatic gene expression profiles was compared with a DNA microarray. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed experimental diets containing 0.2% sesamin, episesamin or sesamolin, and a control diet free of lignans for 15 d. Compared to a lignan-free diet, a diet containing sesamin, episesamin and sesamolin caused 1.5- and 2-fold changes in the expression of 128 and 40, 526 and 152, and 516 and 140 genes, respectively. The lignans modified not only the mRNA levels of many enzymes involved in hepatic fatty acid oxidation, but also those of proteins involved in the transportation of fatty acids into hepatocytes and their organelles, and regulating hepatic concentrations of carnitine, CoA and malonyl-CoA. It is apparent that sesame lignans stimulate hepatic fatty acid oxidation by affecting the gene expression of various proteins regulating hepatic fatty acid metabolism. We also observed that lignans modified the gene expression of various proteins involved in hepatic lipogenesis, cholesterogenesis and glucose metabolism. The changes were generally greater with episesamin and sesamolin than with sesamin. In terms of the amounts accumulated in serum and the liver, the lignans ranked in the order sesamolin, episesamin and sesamin. The differences in bio-availability among these lignans appear to be important to their divergent physiological activities.
Amino acids in enterocytes are thought to be absorbed in the intestinal epithelium via various types of amino acid transport, although the regulation of these amino acid transport systems has not been elucidated. We examined in the present study the effect of several inhibitors involved in mRNA and protein synthesis, and of protein translocation on the L-leucine (Leu) uptake in human intestinal epithelial-like Caco-2 cells. Culturing Caco-2 cells with cycloheximide (CHX) enabled the L-Leu uptake to be significantly increased in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The uptake of L-lysine (Lys) was also increased by the CHX treatment, whereas the uptake of L-glutamate, taurine, and Gly-Gln was not changed. Among the two transport systems, b0,+ and y+, which are known to be involved in L-Lys uptake by Caco-2, the system b0,+ component was greatly increased by the CHX treatment, suggesting that system b0,+ was mainly responsible for the increase in L-Leu and L-Lys uptake. The mRNA levels of rBAT and b0,+AT, whose molecules comprise system b0,+, were both significantly increased by the CHX treatment in a time-dependent manner. These results strongly suggest that the CHX treatment increased the Leu and Lys uptake by activating system b0,+ and inducing rBAT and b0,+AT mRNA expression in human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells.
The effects of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation on the lactate threshold (LT) were investigated as an index of endurance exercise capacity. Eight trained male subjects (21±2 y) participated in a double-blind crossover placebo-controlled study. The subjects were randomly assigned to two groups and were provided either a BCAA drink (0.4% BCAA, 4% carbohydrate; 1,500 mL/d) or an iso-caloric placebo drink for 6 d. On the 7th day, the subjects performed an incremental loading exercise test with a cycle ergometer until exhaustion in order to measure the LT. The test drink (500 mL) was ingested 15-min before the test. Oxygen consumption VO2) and the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) during the exercise test were measured with the breath-by-breath method. Blood samples were taken before and during the exercise test to measure the blood lactate and plasma BCAA concentrations. The same exercise test was performed again 1 wk later. BCAA supplementation increased the plasma BCAA concentration during the exercise test, while plasma BCAA concentration decreased in the placebo trial. The RER during the exercise test in the BCAA trial was lower than that in the placebo trial (p<0.05). The VO2 and workload levels at LT point in the BCAA trial were higher than those in the placebo trial (VO2: 29.8±6.8 vs. 26.4±5.4 mL/kg/min; workload: 175±42 vs. 165±38 W, p<0.05, respectively). The VO2max in the BCAA trial was higher than that in the placebo trial (47.1±5.7 vs. 45.2±5.0 mL/kg/min, p<0.05). These results suggest that BCAA supplementation may be effective to increase the endurance exercise capacity.
Matrix Gla protein (MGP) is a key regulator of vascular calcification. Genetic variation at the MGP locus could modulate the development of coronary artery calcification (CAC). Our aim was to examine the cross-sectional association between MGP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) [rs1800802 (T-138C), rs1800801 (G-7A), and rs4236 (Ala102Thr)] and CAC. CAC was measured by multidetector computed tomography (MDCT), in older men and women of European descent, (n=386; 60 to 80 y of age). Serum MGP was measured by radioimmunoassay. Linear, Tobit and Ordinal regression analyses all revealed that in men, homozygous carriers of the minor allele of rs1800802, rs1800801, or rs4236 (minor allele frequency: 21, 38, and 40%, respectively) were associated with a decreased quantity of CAC, relative to major allele carriers. This association was not found in women. Although genetic variation in MGP was associated with serum MGP concentrations, there were no associations between serum MGP and CAC. The results of this study suggest a role for MGP genetic variants in coronary atherosclerosis among men that is not reflected in serum MGP concentrations.
Rats were fed diets with and without 0.5% L-cysteine supplement for 14 d or shorter periods to clarify the mechanism by which dietary cysteine elicits its hypohomocysteinemic effect. Cysteine supplementation significantly decreased plasma homocysteine concentration with an increase in plasma cysteine concentration in rats fed 10% casein diet (10C) or 15% soybean protein diet (15S) but not in rats fed 25% casein diet (25C) or 25% soybean protein diet. Cysteine supplementation also significantly suppressed hyperhomocysteinemia induced by choline-deprived 10C with an increase in plasma cysteine concentration but not that induced by 25C+0.65% methionine or 25C+0.4% guanidinoacetic acid. Hepatic S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and homocysteine concentrations were significantly decreased by cysteine supplementation of 15S. These decreases in plasma homocysteine concentration and hepatic SAM and homocysteine concentrations due to cysteine supplementation disappeared when 15S was fortified with 0.3% methionine. The plasma homocysteine concentration significantly decreased with an increase in plasma cysteine concentration only 1 d after diet change from 15S to cysteine-supplemented 15S, while hepatic cystathionine β-synthase and betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase activities were not altered. Unlike cysteine, cysteic acid and 2-mercaptoethylamine did not decrease plasma homocysteine concentration. These results indicate that cysteine markedly decreases plasma homocysteine concentration only when added to diets low in both protein and methionine levels and suggest that increased plasma cysteine concentration and decreased flow of methionine toward homocysteine formation, but not alteration of homocysteine-metabolizing enzyme activities, are associated with the hypohomocysteinemic effect of cysteine.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) affects the rate of brain protein synthesis in ovariectomized female rats. Experiments were done on two groups of 24-wk-old ovariectomized female rats given 0 or 0.5% GABA added to the 20% casein diet. The concentrations of plasma growth hormone (GH) increased significantly with the 20% casein+0.5% GABA compared with the 20% casein diet alone. In the brain regions, GABA treatment to the basal diet elevated significantly the fractional and absolute rates of protein synthesis. In brain regions, the RNA activity [g protein synthesized/(g RNA·d)] significantly correlated with the fractional rate of protein synthesis. The RNA concentration (mg RNA/g protein) was not related to the fractional rate of protein synthesis. The results suggest that the administration of GABA to ovariectomized female rats is likely to increase the concentrations of plasma GH and the rate of protein synthesis in the brain, and that RNA activity is at least partly related to the fractional rate of brain protein synthesis.
In earlier studies we showed that dietary whey protein increased skeletal muscle and liver glycogen content in exercise-trained rats. However, little is known about whether ingredients of whey protein stimulate skeletal muscle glycogen accumulation. The aim of this study was to identify bioactive peptides in whey protein hydrolysates (WPH) which stimulated glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis rate in skeletal muscles. Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA)-containing dipeptides in WPH were identified using LC/MS/MS. L6 myotubes and isolated epitrochlearis muscles were used for the glucose uptake assays. The myotubes and muscles were incubated with or without 1 mM dipeptides, LY294002 a phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) inhibitor, or GF102903X an atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) inhibitor, followed by measurement of 2-deoxyglucose uptake. Isolated muscles were incubated for 3 h with or without 1 mM Ile-Leu to determine glycogen synthesis rate. The BCAA-containing dipeptides, Ile-Val, Leu-Val, Val-Leu, Ile-Ile, Leu-Ile, Ile-Leu, and Leu-Leu were detected in the WPH by LC/MS/MS. These dipeptides caused significant stimulation in glucose uptake rate in the L6 myotubes. Ile-Leu, the main component in WPH, also stimulated glucose uptake in isolated skeletal muscles. Stimulation of glucose uptake by Ile-Leu was completely inhibited by treatment with either LY294002, or GF109203X in both L6 cells and isolated muscles. Ile-Leu increased glycogen contents in isolated muscles. These results suggest that BCAA-containing bioactive dipeptides in WPH stimulate glucose uptake in skeletal muscles via the PI3-kinase and aPKC pathways, resulting in increased skeletal muscle glycogen contents.
Sesamin, one of the lignans contained in sesame, has been considered to have medicinal effects. It has been reported that sesamin suppressed the development of hypertension in rats. In this study, using a double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled trial, we investigated the effect of 4-wk administration of sesamin on blood pressure (BP) in mildly hypertensive humans. Twenty-five middle-aged subjects with mild hypertension were divided into two groups, matched by age and body mass index. Twelve subjects were allocated to 4-wk intake of capsules with 60 mg sesamin per day and 13 subjects to 4-wk intake of a placebo (period 1). After a 4-wk washout period, the subjects received the alternative administration for 4 wk (period 2). BP decreased with statistical significance with the administration of sesamin (systolic: 137.6±2.2 to 134.1±1.7 mmHg, p=0.044, diastolic: 87.7±1.3 to 85.8±1.0 mmHg, p=0.045), but little changed with the placebo (systolic: 135.0±1.8 to 135.1±1.7 mmHg, diastolic: 85.9±1.2 to 86.6±1.2 mmHg). In conclusion, 4-wk administration of 60 mg sesamin significantly decreased BP by an average of 3.5 mmHg systolic BP and 1.9 mmHg diastolic BP. These results suggest that sesamin has an antihypertensive effect in humans. Epidemiological studies suggested that a 2-3 mmHg decrease in BP reduces the rate of cardiovascular diseases; therefore, it is considered that BP reduction achieved by sesamin may be meaningful to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
The ferric-xylenol orange (FOX) method has been used for quantification of hydroperoxides by measuring the colored ferric-xylenol orange (XO/Fe3+) product with a peak absorbance at 560 nm. We recently reported a modified FOX method, the sensitivity of which was increased in the presence of membranous phosphatidylcholine (PC) by forming a XO/Fe3+-PC complex with a peak absorbance at 610 nm. Lipoxygenases (LOXs) and their metabolites have been implicated in a wide range of disease states. We applied our newly developed FOX method to the assay of human 15-lipoxygenase-2 (15-LOX-2) and soybean lipoxygenase (SLOX) as typical animal and plant lipoxygenases, respectively. The amounts of 15-S-hydroperoxyeicosa-5,8,10,14-tetraenoic acid (15-HPETE) produced by 15-LOX-2 measured by UV-absorption at 237 nm attributed to the conjugated diene, coincided with the results of our FOX method measuring absorbance at 610 nm. The 15-HPETE production time courses measured by the two methods also correlated well. SLOX rapidly oxidized unesterified linoleic acids (LA) and slowly esterified fatty acids in egg yolk PC (EYPC). Availability of EYPC was increased if the membrane structure was moderately disturbed by MeOH and Triton X-100, but LA oxidation was readily decreased by them. These results indicate that our method is useful for lipoxygenase assay. Furthermore, our method was applicable to assaying the inhibitory effect of 5,8,11,14-eicosatetraynoic acid (ETYA) on SLOX activity using LA and EYPC as substrates. The inhibition dose-dependency of ETYA was almost the same in the LA and EYPC systems, although the enzyme concentrations differed by a factor of 1,000, suggesting that ETYA functioned as a competitive inhibitor. These results indicate that our method may be useful as a screen for the identification of novel inhibitors of lipoxygenases.