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The present report describes the presentations delivered at the 7th International Yakult Symposium, ‘The Intestinal Microbiota and Probiotics: Exploiting Their Influence on Health’, in London on 22–23 April 2013. The following two themes associated with health risks were covered: (1) the impact of age and diet on the gut microbiota and (2) the gut microbiota's interaction with the host. The strong influence of the maternal gut microbiota on neonatal colonisation was reported, as well as rapid changes in the gut microbiome of older people who move from community living to residential care. The effects of dietary changes on gut metabolism were described and the potential influence of inter-individual microbiota differences was noted, in particular the presence/absence of keystone species involved in butyrate metabolism. Several speakers highlighted the association between certain metabolic disorders and imbalanced or less diverse microbiota. Data from metagenomic analyses and novel techniques (including an ex vivo human mucosa model) provided new insights into the microbiota's influence on coeliac, obesity-related and inflammatory diseases, as well as the potential of probiotics. Akkermansia muciniphila and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii were suggested as targets for intervention. Host–microbiota interactions were explored in the context of gut barrier function, pathogenic bacteria recognition, and the ability of the immune system to induce either tolerogenic or inflammatory responses. There was speculation that the gut microbiota should be considered a separate organ, and whether analysis of an individual's microbiota could be useful in identifying their disease risk and/or therapy; however, more research is needed into specific diseases, different population groups and microbial interventions including probiotics.
The aim of the present study was to determine whether early weaning-induced growth retardation could be attenuated by increased consumption of methionine as dl-methionine (DLM) or dl-2-hydroxy-4-methylthiobutyrate (HMTBA) in both lactating sows and weaned piglets. Therefore, diets containing DLM and HMTBA at 25 % of the total sulphur-containing amino acids (AA) present in the control (CON) diet were fed to lactating sows and weaned piglets and their responses were evaluated. Compared with the CON diet-fed sows, the HMTBA diet-fed sows exhibited a tendency (P< 0·10) towards higher plasma taurine concentrations and the DLM diet-fed sows had higher (P< 0·05) plasma taurine concentrations, but lower (P< 0·05) isoleucine concentrations. Suckling piglets in the HMTBA treatment group had higher (P< 0·05) intestinal reduced glutathione (GSH) content, lower (P< 0·05) oxidised glutathione (GSSG):GSH ratio, and higher (P< 0·05) plasma cysteine and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity than those in the CON and DLM treatment groups. The feed intake (P< 0·05) and body weight of piglets averaged across post-weaning (PW) days were higher (P< 0·05) in the HMTBA treatment group than in the DLM treatment group and were higher (P< 0·05) and tended (P< 0·10) to be higher, respectively, in the HMTBA treatment group than in the CON treatment group. Increased (P< 0·05) GSSG content and GSSG:GSH ratio and down-regulated (P< 0·05) expression of nutrient transport genes were observed in the jejunum of piglets on PW day 7 than on PW day 0. On PW day 14, the HMTBA diet-fed piglets had higher (P< 0·05) intestinal GSH content than the CON diet-fed piglets and higher (P< 0·05) plasma GPx activity, villus height and goblet cell numbers than the CON diet- and DLM diet-fed piglets. In conclusion, early weaning-induced growth retardation appears to be attenuated through changes in plasma AA profiles and elevation of growth performance and intestinal antioxidant capacity in piglets following increased consumption of methionine as HMTBA.
The effect of tea intake on blood pressure (BP) is controversial. We performed a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials to determine the changes in systolic and diastolic BP due to the intake of black and green tea. A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register up to May 2014. The weighted mean difference was calculated for net changes in systolic and diastolic BP using fixed-effects or random-effects models. Previously defined subgroup analyses were performed to explore the influence of study characteristics. A total of twenty-five eligible studies with 1476 subjects were selected. The acute intake of tea had no effects on systolic and diastolic BP. However, after long-term tea intake, the pooled mean systolic and diastolic BP were lower by − 1·8 (95 % CI − 2·4, − 1·1) and − 1·4 (95 % CI − 2·2, − 0·6) mmHg, respectively. When stratified by type of tea, green tea significantly reduced systolic BP by 2·1 (95 % CI − 2·9, − 1·2) mmHg and decreased diastolic BP by 1·7 (95 % CI − 2·9, − 0·5) mmHg, and black tea showed a reduction in systolic BP of 1·4 (95 % CI − 2·4, − 0·4) mmHg and a decrease in diastolic BP of 1·1 (95 % CI − 1·9, − 0·2) mmHg. The subgroup analyses showed that the BP-lowering effect was apparent in subjects who consumed tea more than 12 weeks (systolic BP − 2·6 (95 % CI − 3·5, − 1·7) mmHg and diastolic BP − 2·2 (95 % CI − 3·0, − 1·3) mmHg, both P< 0·001). The present findings suggest that long-term ( ≥ 12 weeks) ingestion of tea could result in a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic BP.
Different dietary interventions have been identified as potential modifiers of adiponectin concentrations, and they may be influenced by lipid intake. We identified studies investigating the effect of dietary lipids (type/amount) on adiponectin concentrations in a systematic review with meta-analysis. A literature search was conducted until July 2013 using databases such as Medline, Embase and Scopus (MeSH terms: ‘adiponectin’, ‘dietary lipid’, ‘randomized controlled trials (RCT)’). Inclusion criteria were RCT in adults analysing adiponectin concentrations with modification of dietary lipids. Among the 4930 studies retrieved, fifty-three fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were grouped as follows: (1) total dietary lipid intake; (2) dietary/supplementary n-3 PUFA; (3) conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation; (4) other dietary lipid interventions. Diets with a low fat content in comparison to diets with a high-fat content were not associated with positive changes in adiponectin concentrations (twelve studies; pooled estimate of the difference in means: − 0·04 (95 % CI − 0·82, 0·74) μg/ml). A modest increase in adiponectin concentrations with n-3 PUFA supplementation was observed (thirteen studies; 0·27 (95 % CI 0·07, 0·47) μg/ml). Publication bias was found by using Egger's test (P= 0·01) and funnel plot asymmetry. In contrast, CLA supplementation reduced the circulating concentrations of adiponectin compared with unsaturated fat supplementation (seven studies; − 0·74 (95 % CI − 1·38, − 0·10) μg/ml). However, important sources of heterogeneity were found as revealed by the meta-regression analyses of both n-3 PUFA and CLA supplementation. Results of new RCT would be necessary to confirm these findings.
Intestinal serotonin (5-hydroxytrypamine, 5-HT) metabolism is thought to play a role in gut functions by regulating motility, permeability and other functions of the intestine. In the present study, we investigated the effect of tryptophan (TRP), the precursor of 5-HT, supplementation on intestinal barrier functions and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). An established mouse model of NAFLD induced by feeding a fructose-rich diet (N group) was used in the present study. TRP was administered orally for 8 weeks to C57BL/6J control or NAFLD mice. NAFLD-related liver parameters (hepatic TAG and Oil Red O staining), intestinal barrier parameters (tight-junction protein occludin and portal plasma lipopolysaccharides (LPS)) and 5-HT-related parameters (5-HT, 5-HT transporter (SERT) and motility) were measured. We observed reduced duodenal occludin protein concentrations (P= 0·0007), high portal plasma LPS concentrations (P= 0·005) and an elevated liver weight:body weight ratio (P= 0·01) in the N group compared with the parameters in the control group. TRP supplementation led to an increase in occludin concentrations (P= 0·0009) and consecutively reduced liver weight:body weight ratio (P= 0·009) as well as overall hepatic fat accumulation in the N group (P= 0·05). In addition, the N group exhibited reduced SERT protein expression (P= 0·002), which was normalised by TRP supplementation (P= 0·02). For the first time, our data indicate that oral TRP supplementation attenuates experimental NAFLD in mice. The underlying mechanisms are not clear, but probably involve stabilisation of the intestinal barrier in the upper small intestine and amelioration of the dysregulated intestinal serotonergic system.
Obesity is considered to be accompanied by a chronic low-grade inflammatory state that contributes to the occurrence of many chronic diseases. Our previous study has demonstrated that histidine supplementation significantly ameliorates inflammation and oxidative stress in obese women. However, the in vivo potential mechanisms are not known. The present study was conducted to investigate the mechanisms underlying the effects of histidine on inflammation in a high-fat diet (HFD)-induced female obese rat model. An obese model was established in female Sprague–Dawley rats by HFD feeding for 8 weeks and followed by histidine supplementation for another 4 weeks. The results revealed that HFD-increased body weight and HFD-lowered serum histidine concentrations were significantly reversed by histidine supplementation (P< 0·05). In addition, the serum concentrations of TNF-α, IL-6, C-reactive protein (CRP) and malondialdehyde were significantly reduced and those of superoxide dismutase (SOD) were significantly increased by histidine supplementation when compared with those in obese rats (P< 0·05). Correspondingly, the mRNA expressions of TNF-α, IL-6 and CRP in the adipose tissue were significantly down-regulated and that of CuZnSOD was significantly up-regulated by histidine supplementation (P< 0·05). Histidine supplementation significantly reduced the HFD-induced translocation of NF-κB p65 into the nucleus (P= 0·032) by reducing the phosphorylation of the inhibitor of κBα in the adipose tissue. The results also revealed that the expression of adiponectin was markedly increased both in the serum and in the adipose tissue after histidine supplementation, accompanied by the activation of PPARγ (P= 0·021). These findings indicate that histidine is an effective candidate for ameliorating inflammation and oxidative stress in obese individuals via the NF-κB- and PPARγ-involved pathways.
The pulp of jussara açaí (Euterpe edulis Martius) fruit is rich in anthocyanins that exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects similar to those exerted by aerobic exercise. In the present study, we investigated the effects of jussara açaí fruit pulp consumption, either alone or in combination with aerobic exercise, on the hepatic oxidative and inflammatory status of ApoE-deficient (ApoE− / −) mice. Male mice were divided into four groups (control (C), control plus açaí, exercise plus açaí (EXA) and exercise (EX)) and fed the AIN-93M diet or the AIN-93M diet formulated to contain 2 % freeze-dried açaí pulp. Mice in the EX and EXA groups were subjected to a progressive running programme (5 d/week, 60 min/d, 16 m/min) for 12 weeks. Mice that were made to exercise exhibited reduced (40·85 %; P< 0·05) hepatic superoxide dismutase activity when compared with the C mice, independent of the açaí diet. Mice in the EX group exhibited a lower (42 %; P< 0·05) mRNA expression of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in the liver compared with the C mice. Mice in the EXA and EX groups had lower percentages of hepatic lipid droplets (70 % and 56 %, respectively; P< 0·05) when compared with the C mice. Mice in the EX group had smaller (58 %; P< 0·05) area of lesions in the aorta when compared with the C mice. Serum lipid profile was not affected (P>0·05). In conclusion, aerobic exercise training rather than açaí fruit pulp consumption or a combination of both enhances the hepatic oxidative and inflammatory status of ApoE− / − mice.
Various human trials and pre-clinical studies have suggested that dietary plant sterols possess hypotriacylglycerolaemic properties apart from their cholesterol-lowering properties. We hypothesised that phytosterols (PS) might attenuate triacylglycerolaemia by interfering with the deleterious effects of cholesterol overload in the liver. In the present study, twenty hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) with diet-induced combined hyperlipidaemia were fed a high-fat diet (HFD, n 10) or a HFD supplemented with soyabean PS (n 10) for 40 d. In parallel, a healthy group was fed a standard diet (n 10). PS normalised fasting plasma cholesterol concentrations completely after 20 d and were also able to normalise serum TAG and NEFA concentrations after 40 d. HFD feeding caused microvesicular steatosis and impaired the expression of key genes related to fatty acid oxidation such as PPARA, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-Iα (CPT1A) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 (PCK1) in the liver. PS treatment completely protected against HFD-induced steatosis and resulted in a normalised hepatic gene expression profile. The protection of the hepatic function by PS was paralleled by increased faecal cholesterol excretion along with a 2-fold increase in the biliary bile acid (BA):cholesterol ratio. The present study supports the conclusion that long-term consumption of PS can reduce serum TAG and NEFA concentrations and can protect against the development of fatty liver via different mechanisms, including the enhancement of BA synthesis. The results of the present study place these compounds as promising hepatoprotective agents against fatty liver and its derived pathologies.
In May 2012, an oats workshop was held in New York to convene a group of international experts to discuss the implications and applications of oats relative to human health. These diverse experts represented disciplines including, but not limited to, epidemiology, food regulation, nutrition and food science, grain breeding and plant genetics, food processing, medicine and public-health policy. This ensuing series addresses three important aspects pertinent to oats: a brief overview of the dynamics of oats; the spectrum of established and emerging research in agriculture and health; and the options and opportunities for future applications of oats that extend beyond dietary fibre. Oats have many unique chemical properties, potential health benefits, agricultural challenges and nutrition-policy opportunities – but global production of oats appears to be falling. This is occurring despite contemporary research in the development of drought and infestation resistance and climate-adaptive cultivars and assessments of oats’ unique components (such as dietary fibre, lipids, β-glucan and avenanthramides) that may contribute to health benefits. This suggests that oats represent a promising grain in the whole-grains landscape. New insights have been created into benefits beyond cardiovascular health. Modern milling and processing technologies have been developed to retain the nutritive value and functional properties of oats and to assure a consistent foundation for global health policies.
Diets supplemented with fish oil (FO), which is rich in n-3 PUFA, have been shown to modify several key risk factors for CVD. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of FO supplementation on mitochondrial dynamic protein expression in the endothelium and on endothelial cell function. Male apoE-deficient (apoE− / −) mice (8 weeks old, n 12 per group) were fed a high-fat diet containing 45 % fat (HFD group) or a HFD with partial replacement of lard with 10 % (w/w) FO (FO group) (total EPA and DHA content 64·1 g/kg) for 8 weeks. ApoE− / − mice in the FO group had a greater endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation response to acetylcholine (Ach) than those in the HFD group. The atherosclerotic lesion volume in the aortic sinus of mice in the FO group was 54 % lower than that in the HFD group (P< 0·01). In addition, the aortas isolated from mice in the FO group had higher expression levels of Mfn2 and Opa1 but lower expression levels of Fis1 than those from the HFD group. Compared with mice fed the HFD, those fed the FO diet showed significantly lower levels of mitochondrial oxidative stress, cytochrome c release and caspase-3 activity (each P< 0·05). Furthermore, FO-fed mice displayed increased NO release and availability and enhanced endothelial NO synthase activity compared with HFD-fed mice. Taken together, these results reveal a novel mechanism by which FO protects against endothelial cell dysfunction, which may result in improved mitochondrial dynamics.
The water-soluble, mixed-linkage β-glucan, a form of soluble dietary fibre, is considered the main biologically active component responsible for the capacity of many oat products to lower postprandial glycaemia and fasting plasma cholesterol in human subjects. The present review discusses the physical and chemical properties of oat β-glucan that are considered important predictors of these beneficial metabolic effects. In vitro modelling and animal and human studies have provided compelling evidence showing that the ability of oat β-glucan to increase the viscosity of digesta in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a primary determinant of its blood-glucose and cholesterol-lowering properties. Therefore, the chemical structure, molecular weight (MW), the rate and extent of dissolution and solution rheology of oat β-glucan are key factors in determining the physiological function of oat-containing foods. The structure and properties of oat β-glucan vary between species and varieties of oats, and are also affected by the growing and storage conditions and processing of oat grain. In addition, the extraction and analysis methods may also contribute to the variations in the structure, MW, hydration and solution rheology of β-glucan obtained from different laboratories. Recent work has demonstrated that β-glucan solubility in foods depends on the source of the material and processing conditions; solubility may also be subject to changes during food preparation and storage (such as freezing). In conclusion, both the amount and MW of β-glucan that are solubilised in the GIT need to be considered when assessing the blood-glucose and cholesterol-lowering properties of oat-containing foods.
The effects of ruminant (R) trans-fatty acids (TFA) on the risk of CVD are still under debate. It could be argued that the lack of the effect of R-TFA may be the result of the small amount of their intake. Taking into consideration the growing available data from intervention studies, we carried out a systematic review and meta-regression to assess the impact of R-TFA intake levels on changes in the total cholesterol: HDL-cholesterol (TC:HDL-C) ratio. A systematic review of the literature was conducted and thirteen randomised clinical trials were included, yielding a total of twenty-three independent experimental groups of subjects. A univariate random-effects meta-regression approach was used to quantify the relationship between the dose of R-TFA and changes in the TC:HDL-C ratio. To consider several potential modifiers such as subject and dietary characteristics, a multivariate regression analysis was performed. We found no relationship between R-TFA intake levels of up to 4·19 % of daily energy intake (EI) and changes in cardiovascular risk factors such as TC:HDL-C and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C):HDL-C ratios. In addition, a multivariate regression analysis that included other dietary variables, as well as subject baseline characteristics, confirmed that doses of R-TFA did not significantly influence the changes in the lipid ratio. Our findings showed that doses of R-TFA did not influence the changes in the ratios of plasma TC:HDL-C and LDL-C:HDL-C. These data suggest that TFA from natural sources, at least at the current levels of intake and up to 4·19 % EI, have no adverse effects on these key CVD risk markers in healthy people.
High-protein (HP) diets are effective anti-steatotic treatment options for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, but whether these diets also decrease steatosis in hyperlipidaemic conditions is not known. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of a HP diet on hepatic steatosis and inflammation in hyperlipidaemic mice. Hyperlipidaemic male and female APOE2 knock-in (APOE2ki) mice were fed a semi-synthetic low-protein (LP) or HP diet in combination with a low-fat diet or a high-fat diet for 3 weeks. The HP diets reduced hepatic fat and cholesterol concentrations to 40–55 % of those induced by the corresponding LP diets and attenuated hepatic inflammation mildly. The VLDL-associated plasma cholesterol concentrations decreased to 60–80 %, but those of TAG increased 3–4-fold. APOE2-mediated restriction of fat import into the liver did not modify the effects of a HP diet previously observed in wild-type mice. Female APOE2ki mice exhibited a higher expression of lipogenic, cholesterol-synthesising, inflammatory and cell-stress genes than wild-type female or male APOE2ki mice, but a similar response to HP diets. Low Apob expression and unchanged plasma APOB100 concentrations suggest that HP diets increase the plasma concentrations of TAG by slowing their clearance. The decrease in plasma leptin and hepatic fat and glycogen concentrations and the increase in fatty acid-oxidising gene and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 protein expression suggest a HP diet-mediated increase in mitochondrial metabolism. In conclusion, a HP diet reduces hepatic lipid content in dyslipidaemic mice and lowers the activation status of inflammatory cells in the liver.
As the understanding of the nutritional regulation of muscle growth mechanisms in fish is fragmentary, the present study aimed to (1) characterise ontogenetic changes in muscle growth-related genes in parallel to changes in muscle cellularity; (2) determine whether an early decrease in dietary protein:energy ratio by fat addition affects the muscle growth mechanisms of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) alevins; and (3) determine whether this early feeding of a high-fat (HF) diet to alevins had a long-term effect on muscle growth processes in juveniles fed a commercial diet. Developmental regulation of hyperplasia and hypertrophy was evidenced at the molecular (expression of myogenic regulatory factors, proliferating cell nuclear antigen and myosin heavy chains (MHC)) and cellular (number and diameter of white muscle fibres) levels. An early decrease in dietary protein:energy ratio by fat addition stimulated the body growth of alevins but led to a fatty phenotype, with accumulation of lipids in the anterior part, and less caudal muscle when compared at similar body weights, due to a decrease in both the white muscle hyperplasia and maximum hypertrophy of white muscle fibres. These HF diet-induced cellular changes were preceded by a very rapid down-regulation of the expression of fast-MHC. The present study also demonstrated that early dietary composition had a long-term effect on the subsequent muscle growth processes of juveniles fed a commercial diet for 3 months. When compared at similar body weights, initially HF diet-fed juveniles indeed had a lower mean diameter of white muscle fibres, a smaller number of large white muscle fibres, and lower expression levels of MyoD1 and myogenin. These findings demonstrated the strong effect of early feed composition on the muscle growth mechanisms of trout alevins and juveniles.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection represents a serious global health problem and persistent HBV infection is associated with an increased risk of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure. Recently, the study of the role of microRNA (miRNA) in the pathogenesis of HBV has gained considerable interest as well as new treatments against this pathogen have been approved. A few studies have investigated the antiviral activity of vitamin E (VE) in chronic HBV carriers. Herein, we review the possible role of tocopherols in the modulation of host miRNA with potential anti-HBV activity. A systematic research of the scientific literature was performed by searching the MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and EMBASE databases. The keywords used were ‘HBV therapy’, ‘HBV treatment’, ‘VE antiviral effects’, ‘tocopherol antiviral activity’, ‘miRNA antiviral activity’ and ‘VE microRNA’. Reports describing the role of miRNA in the regulation of HBV life cycle, in vitro and in vivo available studies reporting the effects of VE on miRNA expression profiles and epigenetic networks, and clinical trials reporting the use of VE in patients with HBV-related chronic hepatitis were identified and examined. Based on the clinical results obtained in VE-treated chronic HBV carriers, we provide a reliable hypothesis for the possible role of this vitamin in the modulation of host miRNA profiles perturbed by this viral pathogen and in the regulation of some cellular miRNA with a suggested potential anti-HBV activity. This approach may contribute to the improvement of our understanding of pathogenetic mechanisms involved in HBV infection and increase the possibility of its management and treatment.