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Infant birth weight has increased in Ireland in recent years along with levels of childhood overweight and obesity. The present article reviews the current literature on maternal glycaemia and the role of the dietary glycaemic index (GI) and its impact on pregnancy outcomes. It is known that maternal weight and weight gain significantly influence infant birth weight. Fetal macrosomia (birth weight >4000 g) is associated with an increased risk of perinatal trauma to both mother and infant. Furthermore, macrosomic infants have greater risk of being obese in childhood, adolescence and adulthood compared to normal-sized infants. There is evidence that there is a direct relationship between maternal blood glucose levels during pregnancy and fetal growth and size at birth, even when maternal blood glucose levels are within their normal range. Thus, maintaining blood glucose concentrations within normal parameters during pregnancy may reduce the incidence of fetal macrosomia. Maternal diet, and particularly its carbohydrate (CHO) type and content, influences maternal blood glucose concentrations. However, different CHO foods produce different glycaemic responses. The GI was conceived by Jenkins in 1981 as a method for assessing the glycaemic responses of different CHO. Data from clinical studies in healthy pregnant women have documented that consuming a low-GI diet during pregnancy reduces peaks in postprandial glucose levels and normalises infant birth weight. Pregnancy is a physiological condition where the GI may be of particular relevance as glucose is the primary fuel for fetal growth.
Hypertension is a key feature of the metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle and dietary changes may affect blood pressure (BP), but the knowledge of the effects of dietary fat modification in subjects with the metabolic syndrome is limited. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of an isoenergetic change in the quantity and quality of dietary fat on BP in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. In a 12-week European multi-centre, parallel, randomised controlled dietary intervention trial (LIPGENE), 486 subjects were assigned to one of the four diets distinct in fat quantity and quality: two high-fat diets rich in saturated fat or monounsaturated fat and two low-fat, high-complex carbohydrate diets with or without 1·2 g/d of very long-chain n-3 PUFA supplementation. There were no overall differences in systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP or pulse pressure (PP) between the dietary groups after the intervention. The high-fat diet rich in saturated fat had minor unfavourable effects on SBP and PP in males.
We evaluated the effects of the two main kiwifruit cultivars (gold kiwifruit (GOK) and green kiwifruit (GRK)) and their active phenolic compound, quercetin, on H2O2-induced inhibition of gap-junction intercellular communication (GJIC) in WB-F344 rat liver epithelial cells. We found that both GOK and GRK protect WB-F344 cells from H2O2-induced inhibition of GJIC. The extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2)–connexin 43 (Cx43) signalling pathway is crucial for the regulation of GJIC, and both GOK and GRK blocked the H2O2-induced phosphorylation of Cx43 and ERK1/2 in WB-F344 cells. Quercetin alone attenuated the H2O2-mediated ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling pathway and consequently reversed H2O2-mediated inhibition of GJIC in WB-F344 cells. A free radical-scavenging assay using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl showed that the scavenging activity of quercetin was higher than that of a synthetic antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene, per mol, suggesting that the chemopreventive effect of quercetin on H2O2-mediated inhibition of ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling and GJIC may be mediated through its free radical-scavenging activity. Since the carcinogenicity of reactive oxygen species such as H2O2 is attributable to the inhibition of GJIC, GOK, GRK and quercetin may have chemopreventive potential by preventing the inhibition of GJIC.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the direct action of the phyto-oestrogen genistein (Gen) on vascular endothelial behaviour, either in the presence or absence of proinflammatory agents. In rat aortic endothelial cell (EC) cultures, 24 h of treatment with Gen significantly increased cell proliferation in a wide range of concentration (0·001–10 nm). This mitogenic action was prevented by the oestrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI 182780 or by the presence of the specific NO synthase inhibitor l-nitro-arginine methyl ester. When monocytes adhesion to EC was measured, Gen partially attenuated leucocyte adhesion not only under basal conditions, but also in the presence of bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS). The effect of the phyto-oestrogen on the expression of EC adhesion molecules was evaluated. Gen down-regulated the enhancement in mRNA levels of E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and P-selectin elicited by the proinflammatory agent bacterial LPS. The regulation of EC programmed death induced by the isoflavone was also demonstrated. Incubation with 10 nm Gen prevented DNA fragmentation induced by the apoptosis inductor H2O2. The results presented suggest that Gen would exert a protective effect on vascular endothelium, due to its regulatory action on endothelial proliferation, apoptosis and leucocyte adhesion, events that play a critical role in vascular diseases. The molecular mechanism displayed by the phyto-oestrogen involved the participation of the ER and the activation of the NO pathway.
The antioxidant activity of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) essential oil (LBEO) on 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals and its hypoglycaemic effect in db/db mice were investigated. LBEO scavenged 97 % of DPPH radicals at a 270-fold dilution. Mice administered LBEO (0·015 mg/d) for 6 weeks showed significantly reduced blood glucose (65 %; P < 0·05) and TAG concentrations, improved glucose tolerance, as assessed by an oral glucose tolerance test, and significantly higher serum insulin levels, compared with the control group. The hypoglycaemic mechanism of LBEO was further explored via gene and protein expression analyses using RT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Among all glucose metabolism-related genes studied, hepatic glucokinase and GLUT4, as well as adipocyte GLUT4, PPAR-γ, PPAR-α and SREBP-1c expression, were significantly up-regulated, whereas glucose-6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase expression was down-regulated in the livers of the LBEO group. The results further suggest that LBEO administered at low concentrations is an efficient hypoglycaemic agent, probably due to enhanced glucose uptake and metabolism in the liver and adipose tissue and the inhibition of gluconeogenesis in the liver.
The PUFA metabolism in broiler chicken was studied through the whole body fatty acid balance method. Four dietary lipid sources (palm fat, Palm; soyabean oil, Soya; linseed oil, Lin; fish oil, Fish) were added at 3 % to a basal diet containing 5 % palm fat. Diets were fed to female and male birds from day 1 to either day 21 or day 42 of age. Birds fed the Lin diet showed a significantly higher 18 : 2n-6 accumulation compared with the other diets (85·2 v. 73·6 % of net intake), whereas diet did not affect 18 : 3n-3 accumulation (mean 63 % of net intake). Bioconversion of 18 : 2n-6 significantly decreased in the order Palm>Lin>Soya>Fish (4·7, 3·9, 3·4 and 1 % of net intake, respectively). The 18 : 3n-3 bioconversion on the Palm and Soya diets was similar and significantly higher than in broilers on the Lin diet (9·1 v. 5·8 % of net intake). The β-oxidation of 18 : 2n-6 was significantly lower on the Lin diet than on the other diets (10·8 v. 23·3 % of net intake), whereas β-oxidation of 18 : 3n-3 was significantly higher on the Fish diet than on the other diets (41·5 v. 27·3 % of net intake). Feeding fish oil suppressed apparent elongase and desaturase activity, whereas a higher dietary supply of 18 : 3n-3 and 18 : 2n-6 enhanced apparent elongation and desaturation activity on the PUFA involved in the n-3 and n-6 pathway, respectively. Accumulation of 18 : 2n-6 and 18 : 3n-3 increased and β-oxidation decreased with age. Sex had a marginal effect on the PUFA metabolism.
Although the flavonol quercetin is used as a supplement in commercial dog food, data on quercetin bioavailability in dogs are not available. Thus, we investigated quercetin bioavailability (measured as area under the concentration–time curve) in nine adult beagle dogs at an oral dose of 10 mg/kg body weight (b.w.). The major fraction (>80 %) of flavonols circulating in blood plasma were conjugated metabolites of quercetin. The absolute bioavailability of quercetin (i.e. the fraction that reaches the systemic circulation) was only about 4 %. We also compared the oral bioavailability between the aglycone quercetin and its more often used glucorhamnoside (rutin) and 3-O-glucoside (isoquercitrin) at an equimolar dose of 30 μmol/kg b.w. (corresponding to 10 mg quercetin/kg). Quercetin and isoquercitrin were mainly absorbed in the small intestine with isoquercitrin being one and a half times more bioavailable than quercetin. Maximal plasma concentration after isoquercitrin treatment was 0·89 (sem 0·07) μmol/l. Although quercetin absorption from rutin was delayed, relative bioavailability was not lower than from the aglycone itself. The latter observation is in clear contrast to findings in human subjects, pigs or rats and might indicate that rutin is a better source of quercetin in dogs than in other species. However, potential in vivo quercetin effects beyond the gastrointestinal tract are limited by the intensive metabolism as well as by the rather low bioavailability of this flavonol.
The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of different dietary lipid sources, age and sex on the SFA and MUFA metabolism in broiler chickens using a whole body fatty acid balance method. Four dietary lipid sources (palm fat, Palm; soyabean oil, Soya; linseed oil, Lin; and fish oil, Fish) were added at 3 % to a basal diet containing 5 % Palm. Diets were fed to female and male chickens from day 1 to either day 21 or day 42 of age. The accumulation (percentage of net intake and ex novo production) of SFA and MUFA was significantly lower in broilers fed on Palm than in broilers fed on the other diets (85·7 v. 97·4 %). Conversely, β-oxidation was significantly higher in Palm-fed birds than the average of the other dietary treatments (14·3 v. 2·6 %). On average, 33·1 % of total SFA and MUFA accumulated in the body were elongated, and 13·8 % were Δ-9 desaturated to longer chain or more unsaturated metabolites, with lower proportions being elongated and desaturated for the Palm and Fish diets than for the Soya and Lin diets. Total in vivo apparent elongase activity decreased exponentially in relation to the net intake of SFA and MUFA, while it increased with age. Total in vivo apparent Δ-9 desaturase activity was not significantly affected by dietary treatment or age. Total ex novo production and β-oxidation of SFA and MUFA showed a negative and positive curvilinear relationship with net intake of SFA and MUFA, respectively. Sex had no effect on SFA and MUFA metabolism.
The present study assessed the effect of separate reduction of each energy-delivering nutrient – protein, fat and carbohydrate – on glucose tolerance and insulin response in a strict carnivore: the domestic cat (Felis catus). Three isoenergetic, home-made diets with the following energetic distribution, low protein (LP): protein 28 % of metabolisable energy; fat 43 %; nitrogen-free extract 29 %; low fat: 47, 27 and 25 %; low carbohydrate (LC): 45, 48 and 7 %, were tested in a 3 × 3 Latin square design. Nine healthy normal-weight cats were randomly assigned to each of the diets in a random order at intervals of 3 weeks. At the end of each testing period, intravenous glucose tolerance tests were performed. Plasma glucose concentrations and area under the glucose curve showed no differences. Area under the insulin curve was lower when cats were fed the LP diet, and the second insulin peak tended to be delayed when the LC diet was fed. In contrast to other studies, in which energy sources were elevated instead of being reduced, the present trial contradicts the often suggested negative impact of carbohydrates on insulin sensitivity in carnivores, and shows that reducing the dietary carbohydrate content below common amounts for commercial foods evokes an insulin-resistant state, which can be explained by the cats' strict carnivorous nature. It even points to a negative effect of protein on insulin sensitivity, a finding that corresponds with the highly gluconeogenic nature of amino acids in strict carnivores.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the sex hormonal and metabolic profiles in vegetarians and compare these with the profiles in omnivores. The design of the present study was cross-sectional. The study sample of pre- and post-menopausal women included forty-one omnivores and twenty-one vegetarians. Thereafter we determined: (1) plasma sex hormones, (2) fasting insulin, NEFA as well as apo-A and apo-B, (3) BMI, (4) a dietary profile (3 d dietary records), (5) physical activity and (6) total faecal excretion per 72 h and total urinary excretion per 72 h. Vegetarians showed higher levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), apo-A, total faecal excretion per 72 h and total fibre intake as well as lower levels of apo-B, free oestradiol, free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-s) and BMI. Interestingly, after controlling for BMI, significant differences between groups still persisted except for apo-B. Moreover, stepwise regression analysis showed that total fibre intake explained 15·2 % of the variation in SHBG in our cohort, which accounted for the greatest source of unique variance. Results of the present study indicate that pre- and post-menopausal vegetarians present higher concentrations of SHBG, which could be explained, in part, by higher levels of fibre intake. This may explain, at least in part, the lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Lactic acid bacteria can affect the maturation of immune cells and their products not only in the gut but also on the systemic immune organs such as lymph nodes and spleen. In the present work, we studied the effects of oral administration of Lactobacillus acidophilus on the immune responses of BALB/c mice bearing transplanted breast tumour. Two groups of female inbred BALB/c mice, each containing nine mice as test and control, were used. The L. acidophilus ATCC4356 strain was inoculated in DeMan–Rogosa–Sharpe broth and cultivated for 24 h at 37°C. Then, it was collected by centrifugation, and was washed and suspended in PBS. Afterwards, 0·5 ml/d of this suspension, which contained 2·7 × 108 colony forming units/ml of bacteria, was orally administered to the mice by gavage, 14 d before tumour transplantation and 30 d after that with 3-d intervals. Similar to the test mice, the control mice received an equal volume of PBS. The results showed that oral administration of L. acidophilus increased the production of IL-12 (P < 0·05) and decreased the level of transforming growth factor β (P = 0·05) in the splenocyte culture. Moreover, the growth rate of tumour in the test mice decreased (P < 0·01), and the results of delayed-type hypersensitivity assay after 48 h were risen (P < 0·05) in comparison with the controls. Results suggest that daily consumption of L. acidophilus can improve the production of immunomodulatory cytokine IL-12 in the splenocyte culture, which was stimulated by tumour antigen in BALB/c mice bearing transplanted breast tumour. But further studies are needed to find out some other possible mechanisms of this effect.
The present study aimed to determine the prebiotic effect of fruit and vegetable shots containing inulin derived from Jerusalem artichoke (JA). A three-arm parallel, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was carried out with sixty-six healthy human volunteers (thirty-three men and thirty-three women, age range: 18–50 years). Subjects were randomised into three groups (n 22) assigned to consume either the test shots, pear-carrot-sea buckthorn (PCS) or plum-pear-beetroot (PPB), containing JA inulin (5 g/d) or the placebo. Fluorescent in situ hybridisation was used to monitor populations of total bacteria, bacteroides, bifidobacteria, Clostridium perfringens/histolyticum subgroup, Eubacterium rectale/Clostridium coccoides group, Lactobacillus/Enterococcus spp., Atopobium spp., Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and propionibacteria. Bifidobacteria levels were significantly higher on consumption of both the PCS and PPB shots (10·0 (sd 0·24) and 9·8 (sd 0·22) log10 cells/g faeces, respectively) compared with placebo (9·3 (sd 0·42) log10 cells/g faeces) (P < 0·0001). A small though significant increase in Lactobacillus/Enterococcus group was also observed for both the PCS and PPB shots (8·3 (sd 0·49) and 8·3 (sd 0·36) log10 cells/g faeces, respectively) compared with placebo (8·1 (sd 0·37) log10 cells/g faeces) (P = 0·042). Other bacterial groups and faecal SCFA concentrations remained unaffected. No extremities were seen in the adverse events, medication or bowel habits. A slight significant increase in flatulence was reported in the subjects consuming the PCS and PPB shots compared with placebo, but overall flatulence levels remained mild. A very high level of compliance (>90 %) to the product was observed. The present study confirms the prebiotic efficacy of fruit and vegetable shots containing JA inulin.
Due to little outdoor activity and low dietary intake of vitamin D (VD), Bangladeshi low-income women are at risk for osteoporosis at an early age. The present study assessed the effect of VD, Ca and multiple micronutrient supplementation on VD and bone status in Bangladeshi young female garment factory workers. This placebo-controlled 1-year intervention randomly assigned 200 apparently healthy subjects (aged 16–36 years) to four groups: VD group, daily 10 μg VD; VD and Ca (VD-Ca) group, daily 10 μg VD+600 mg Ca; multiple micronutrient and Ca (MMN-Ca) group, 10 μg VD and other micronutrients+600 mg Ca; a placebo group. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (S-25OHD), intact parathyroid hormone (S-iPTH), Ca, phosphate and alkaline phosphatase were measured. Bone mineral density and bone mineral content were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. All measurements were made at baseline and at 12 months. Significantly (P < 0·001) higher S-25OHD concentrations were observed in the supplemented groups than in the placebo group after the intervention. Supplementation had an effect (P < 0·001) on S-iPTH in the VD-Ca and MMN-Ca groups compared with the placebo group. Bone mineral augmentation increased at the femur in the supplemented groups. Supplementation with VD-Ca should be recommended as a strategic option to reduce the risk of osteomalacia and osteoporosis in these subjects. MMN-Ca may have analogous positive health implications with additional non-skeletal benefits.
Prospective epidemiological studies have reported that a higher fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a lower risk of CHD. The aim of the present study was to examine associations between fruit and vegetable consumption, in particular the subgroupings citrus fruits, apples and cruciferous vegetables, and the risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). During a median follow-up of 7·7 years, 1075 incident ACS cases were identified among 53 383 men and women, aged 50–64 years at recruitment into the Diet, Cancer and Health cohort study in 1993–7. Fruit and vegetable intake was estimated from a validated FFQ, and ACS incidence rate ratios (IRR) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models. Overall, a tendency towards a lower risk of ACS was observed for both men and women with higher fruit and vegetable consumption. For men, we found an inverse association for apple intake (IRR per 25 g/d: 0·97; 95 % CI 0·94, 0·99). This association was also seen among women, albeit borderline significant. However, a higher risk was seen among women with higher fruit juice intake (IRR per 25 g/d: 1·04; 95 % CI 1·00, 1·08). The present results provide some support for previously observed inverse associations between fresh fruit intake, particularly apples, and ACS risk.
The association of early postnatal growth with diseases in adults such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and CHD has generated interest in studying postnatal growth. Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a useful measure to estimate total body water (TBW) and fat-free mass (FFM). We evaluated three published equations (Fjeld et al. (Pediatr Res (1990) 27, 98–102), Bocage (MSc Thesis (1988) University of West Indies) and Kushner et al. (Am J Clin Nutr (1992) 56, 835–839) to measure TBW and derived FFM based on BIA, using 2H2O dilution as a reference method for suitability in infants in India. In a cross-sectional study in seventy-eight apparently healthy infants aged 6–24 months from the urban poor attending an immunisation clinic at a hospital in Kolkata, we measured their length to the nearest 0·1 cm, weight to the nearest 10 g, resistance at 50 kHz using BIA and TBW using 2H2O dilution. TBW was derived using three published BIA-based equations and compared with TBW using 2H2O dilution. Based on the BIA equations of Fjeld et al., Bocage and Kushner et al., the mean TBW values were 2·46 % (P < 0·001), 4·62 % (P < 0·001) and 9·50 % (P < 0·001) lower than the reference 2H2O method, respectively. All three published BIA-based equations consistently underestimated the TBW and FFM and appeared inadequate for studying infants in India. The equation described by Fjeld et al. gave the smallest deviation from the reference method and may be used for field studies. New equations based on population-specific data are desirable for a more precise measure of TBW.
The prevalence of hypertension has increased over the past decade in many developed and developing countries, including China. This increase may be associated with changes in lifestyle, including dietary patterns. We evaluated the association of dietary patterns with blood pressure (BP) by using data from a large, population-based cohort study of middle-aged and elderly Chinese men, the Shanghai Men's Health Study. The present cross-sectional analysis includes 39 252 men who reported no prior history of hypertension, diabetes, CHD, or stroke nor use of antihypertensive drugs at study enrolment. Three dietary patterns, ‘vegetable’, ‘fruit and milk’ and ‘meat’, were derived using factor analysis. The fruit and milk diet was inversely associated with both systolic and diastolic BP (Ptrend < 0·001). The adjusted mean systolic BP was 2·9 mmHg lower (95 % CI − 3·4, − 2·4), and diastolic BP was 1·7 mmHg lower (95 % CI − 2·0, − 1·4) for men in the highest quintile of the ‘fruit and milk’ pattern compared with men in the lowest quintile. This inverse association was more evident among heavy drinkers; the highest quintile of the ‘fruit and milk’ pattern was associated with a 4·1 mmHg reduction in systolic BP v. a 2·0 mmHg reduction among non-drinkers (Pinteraction = 0·003) compared to the lowest quintile. The corresponding reductions in diastolic BP were 2·0 v. 1·3 mmHg (Pinteraction = 0·011). The ‘fruit and milk’ pattern was associated with a lower prevalence of both pre-hypertension and hypertension, and the associations appeared to be stronger among drinkers. Results of the present study suggest an important role for diet in the prevention of hypertension.
In the UK, South Asian adults have increased risks of CHD, type 2 diabetes and central obesity. Black African-Caribbeans, in contrast, have increased risks of type 2 diabetes and general obesity but lower CHD risk. There is growing evidence that these risk differences emerge in early life and that nutritional factors may be important. We have therefore examined the variations in nutritional composition of the diets of South Asian, black African-Caribbean and white European children, using 24 h recalls of dietary intake collected during a cross-sectional survey of cardiovascular health in eighty-five primary schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester. In all, 2209 children aged 9–10 years took part, including 558 of South Asian, 560 of black African-Caribbean and 543 of white European ethnicity. Compared with white Europeans, South Asian children reported higher mean total energy intake; their intakes of total fat, polyunsaturated fat and protein (both absolute and as proportions of total energy intake) were higher and their intakes of carbohydrate as a proportion of energy (particularly sugars), vitamin C and D, Ca and haem Fe were lower. These differences were especially marked for Bangladeshi children. Black African-Caribbean children had lower intakes of total and saturated fat (both absolute and as proportions of energy intake), NSP, vitamin D and Ca. The lower total and saturated fat intakes were particularly marked among black African children. Appreciable ethnic differences exist in the nutritional composition of children's diets, which may contribute to future differences in chronic disease risk.
Glycomacropeptide (GMP) is the hydrophilic 64-amino acid C-terminal glycopeptide released into cheese whey when κ-casein is cleaved by chymosin. GMP exists as a mixture of different glycoforms due to the carbohydrates sialic acid (N-acetylneuraminic acid, NeuNAc), galactose (Gal), galactosamine and glucosamine attached by O-glycosidic linkages. GMP reportedly stimulates the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), which may promote satiety. The objectives of the present study were to manufacture three glycoforms of GMP, minimally glycosylated GMP (3·5 (sd 0·1) % NeuNAc and 1·5 (sd 0·1) % Gal), glycosylated GMP (12·0 (sd 0·3) % NeuNAc and 4·2 (sd 0·2) % Gal) and a GMP-depleted whey protein concentrate, and to assess the effects of these fractions relative to glucose on CCK, subjective measures of satiety and food intake. In a randomised double-blind acute study, twenty overweight/obese males (56·9 (sd 7·2) years, 97·4 (sd 8·1) kg, 31·5 (sd 3·0) kg/m2) were recruited to consume four 50 g preloads (two GMP preparations, GMP-depleted whey and glucose) containing 895 kJ. Blood samples and subjective measures of satiety were collected before and at 15, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 min after the consumption of preload, and CCK levels were measured. A lunchtime meal of hot food was provided from which subjects ate ad libitum until satisfied. Energy and nutrient intakes from the food consumed were calculated. There was no significant difference in CCK levels, subjective measures of satiety or food intake between treatments at the given preload level. These results suggest that the protein fractions at the dose employed do not influence satiety, CCK levels or energy intake at a subsequent meal.
Both high-fat and high-carbohydrate diets have been considered in association with the impairment of baroreflex sensitivity. However, the mechanisms are unclear. In the present study, the effects of a complex high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet (HFCD) on baroreflex circuitry were investigated. A HFCD emulsion was formulated and orally administered to rats for 30 d. Rats were then anaesthetised and baroreflex sensitivity was measured following intravenous injection of phenylephrine (PE) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) at various doses. Morphological changes of the brainstem were detected by transmission electron microscopy. Baroreflex sensitivity-associated gene and protein expression was determined by quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analysis. We found that: (1) the HFCD significantly attenuated heart rate responses to arterial blood pressure (ABP) increases induced by PE, but had no effect on heart rate responses to ABP decreases induced by SNP; (2) the HFCD induced medullary sheath thickening, myelinated nerve atrophy and hyaloplasm dissolving; (3) protein levels of substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide, GlutR2 and γ-aminobutyric acid A receptors were all markedly decreased in the brainstems of rats administered with the HFCD. These findings conclude that a HFCD could impair the baroreflex sensitivity of rats. Remodelled morphology and decreased neurotransmitters and receptors in the domains of the nucleus tractus solitarii and nucleus ambiguus are participating in this process.
The aim was to establish the relative importance of multiple dietary, activity and other risk factors in determining BMI. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 322 adults (71 % female; aged 18–79 years; BMI 16·5–40·9 kg/m2) using a previously developed, psychometrically tested, seventy-three-item questionnaire covering a wide range of obesity risk factors (consisting of five dietary, five activity and seven other risk factor subscales). Outcome was self-reported weight and height for BMI, cross-validated with items on clothes size and perceived need to lose weight. Stepwise regression analysis predicted 25–55 % of the variance in BMI with physical activity participation, current and past dieting behaviour, amount eaten, and age being the most important predictors. The association of lower BMI and younger age appeared to be due to higher activity levels, as younger participants reported much less healthy eating behaviour than the older age group. Amount eaten and physical activity participation were stronger predictors of BMI than other factors including healthy eating and use of mechanised transport. Results showed that the relationship between various risk factors and obesity may differ by both sex and age group, suggesting that different interventions may need to be targeted at different groups. The higher-risk eating behaviour observed in younger participants is of concern and needs to be addressed, if the current trend of rising obesity levels is to be halted.