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Dietary intake and tissue levels of carotenoids have been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, brain-related diseases and some types of cancer. However, intervention trials with isolated carotenoid supplements have mostly failed to confirm the postulated health benefits. It has thereby been speculated that dosing, matrix and synergistic effects, as well as underlying health and the individual nutritional status plus genetic background do play a role. It appears that our knowledge on carotenoid-mediated health benefits may still be incomplete, as the underlying mechanisms of action are poorly understood in relation to human relevance. Antioxidant mechanisms – direct or via transcription factors such as NRF2 and NF-κB – and activation of nuclear hormone receptor pathways such as of RAR, RXR or also PPARs, via carotenoid metabolites, are the basic principles which we try to connect with carotenoid-transmitted health benefits as exemplified with described common diseases including obesity/diabetes and cancer. Depending on the targeted diseases, single or multiple mechanisms of actions may play a role. In this review and position paper, we try to highlight our present knowledge on carotenoid metabolism and mechanisms translatable into health benefits related to several chronic diseases.
Food matrix is known to interact with some dietary constituents and microconstituents during digestion. These interactions may potentially affect the metabolism and bioavailability of some compounds, and as a consequence modulate their biological effects. In this context, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of apple food matrix on the bioavailability of flavan-3-ols and on the ability of these compounds to modulate the nutrigenomic response to a high fat challenge in minipigs.
Adult male Yucatan minipigs (n = 5) were assigned to a random treatment sequence of high-fat meals non supplemented or supplemented with 250 g of raw apple, 250 g of apple puree or 1.4 g of apple polyphenols extract, with a 7-days washout period between each treatment. Each supplementation provided 155 mg flavan-3-ol monomers. At each treatment period, fasting- and 1h-, 2h-, 3h-postprandial blood samples were collected, and the concentration in flavan-3-ol monomers was measured on hydrolyzed serum, using UPLC-Q-TOF MS. The ability of apple-derived products to modulate the postprandial gene expression profile was assessed and compared in circulating PBMCs collected at 3 h after consumption of the four tested meals using a microarray analysis.
Results show that the apple matrix did not affect the kinetic of the postprandial absorption of flavan-3-ol monomers. The total flavan-3-ols concentrations measured at peak were significantly higher in the extract (x1.75), suggesting an impact of the apple matrix on flavan-3-ols absorption. However, no significant difference in total flavanols was observed between raw apple and apple puree.
Principal Component Analysis of the microarray data from PBMCs identified three distinct clusters of gene expression patterns: one corresponding to gene expression profiles after the high-fat meal, one for meal supplemented with raw apples or apple puree, and a third cluster for meal supplemented with polyphenol extract. A set of 309 genes was identified as differentially expressed by apple-derived products compared to high-fat meal alone, including 93 modulated with the three apple products. The variations in gene expression were similar for only 75% of the 93 genes, suggesting that the apple matrix affects the nutrigenomic response to flavan-3-ols. A bioinformatics analysis revealed that genes affected by apple-derived products are involved in inflammation and leukocyte transendothelial migration, suggesting a beneficial impact of apple-derived products.
In conclusion, these results raise awareness for considering the impact of food matrix on the biological responsiveness of polyphenols in future nutritional studies.
β-Carotene intake and tissue/blood concentrations have been associated with reduced incidence of several chronic diseases. Further bioactive carotenoid-metabolites can modulate the expression of specific genes mainly via the nuclear hormone receptors: retinoic acid receptor- and retinoid X receptor-mediated signalling. To better understand the metabolic conversion of β-carotene, inter-individual differences regarding β-carotene bioavailability and bioactivity are key steps that determine its further metabolism and bioactivation and mediated signalling. Major carotenoid metabolites, the retinoids, can be stored as esters or further oxidised and excreted via phase 2 metabolism pathways. In this review, we aim to highlight the major critical control points that determine the fate of β-carotene in the human body, with a special emphasis on β-carotene oxygenase 1. The hypothesis that higher dietary β-carotene intake and serum level results in higher β-carotene-mediated signalling is partly questioned. Alternative autoregulatory mechanisms in β-carotene / retinoid-mediated signalling are highlighted to better predict and optimise nutritional strategies involving β-carotene-related health beneficial mediated effects.
Lycopene (LYC) bioavailability is relatively low and highly variable, because of the influence of several factors. Recent in vitro data have suggested that dietary Ca can impair LYC micellarisation, but there is no evidence whether this can lead to decreased LYC absorption efficiency in humans. Our objective was to assess whether a nutritional dose of Ca impairs dietary LYC bioavailability and to study the mechanism(s) involved. First, in a randomised, two-way cross-over study, ten healthy adults consumed either a test meal that provided 19-mg (all-E)-LYC from tomato paste or the same meal plus 500-mg calcium carbonate as a supplement. Plasma LYC concentration was measured at regular time intervals over 7 h postprandially. In a second approach, an in vitro digestion model was used to assess the effect of increasing Ca doses on LYC micellarisation and on the size and zeta potential of the mixed micelles produced during digestion of a complex food matrix. LYC bioavailability was diminished by 83 % following the addition of Ca in the test meal. In vitro, Ca affected neither LYC micellarisation nor mixed micelle size but it decreased the absolute value of their charge by 39 %. In conclusion, a nutritional dose of Ca can impair dietary LYC bioavailability in healthy humans. This inhibition could be due to the fact that Ca diminishes the electrical charge of micelles. These results call for a thorough assessment of the effects of Ca, or other divalent minerals, on the bioavailability of other carotenoids and lipophilic micronutrients.
The xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin probably play a role in visual function and may participate in the prevention of age-related eye diseases. Although a minimum amount of TAG is required for an optimal bioavailability of these carotenoids, the effect of the type of TAG fatty acids (FA) is less clear. The aim was to assess the effect of the type of TAG FA on bioavailability of these xanthophylls. A total of three complementary models were used: an in vitro digestion model to study bioaccessibility, Caco-2 cells to study uptake efficiency and orally administered rats to study in vivo bioavailability. Results showed that lutein and zeaxanthin bioaccessibility was greater (about 20–30 %, P< 0·05) with butter and palm oil than with olive and fish oils. Mixed micelle size, which was significantly lower (about 8 %, P< 0·05) with SFA than with unsaturated FA, was inversely related to lutein and zeaxanthin bioaccessibility. There was no significant effect of the type of TAG FA on xanthophyll uptake by Caco-2 cells, but some compounds present in natural oils significantly affected xanthophyll uptake. Oral administration of rats with spinach and butter over 3 d led to a higher fasting plasma lutein concentration than oral administration with olive or fish oils. In conclusion, dietary fats rich in SFA lead to a higher bioavailability of lutein and zeaxanthin, as compared with fats rich in MUFA and PUFA. This is due partly to the higher bioaccessibility of these xanthophylls in the smaller mixed micelles produced when SFA are incorporated into mixed micelles.
Dietary lycopene consists mostly of the (all-E) isomer. Upon absorption, (all-E) lycopene undergoes isomerisation into various (Z)-isomers. Because these isomers offer potentially better health benefits than the (all-E) isomer, the aim of the present study was to investigate if the profile of lycopene isomers in intestinal lipoproteins is affected by the profile of lycopene isomers in the meal and by the tomato preparation. Six postprandial, crossover tests were performed in healthy men. Three meals provided about 70 % of the lycopene as (Z)-isomers, either mainly as 5-(Z) or 13-(Z), or as a mixture of 9-(Z) and 13-(Z) lycopene, while three tomato preparations provided lycopene mainly as the (all-E) isomer. Consumption of the 5-(Z) lycopene-rich meal led to a high (60 %) proportion of this isomer in TAG-rich lipoproteins (TRL), indicating a good absorption and/or a low intestinal conversion of this isomer. By contrast, consumption of meals rich in 9-(Z) and 13-(Z) lycopene isomers resulted in a low level of these isomers but high amounts of the 5-(Z) and (all-E) isomers in TRL. This indicates that the 9-(Z) and 13-(Z) isomers were less absorbed or were converted into 5-(Z) and (all-E) isomers. Dietary (Z)-lycopene isomers were, therefore, differently isomerised and released in TRL during their intestinal absorption in men. Consuming the three meals rich in (all-E) lycopene resulted in similar proportions of lycopene isomers in TRL: 60 % (all-E), 20 % 5-(Z), 9 % 13-(Z), 2 % 9-(Z) and 9 % unidentified (Z)-isomers. These results show that the tomato preparation has no impact on the lycopene isomerisation occurring during absorption in humans.
Plasma concentrations of vitamin E and carotenoids are governed by several factors, including genetic factors. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in some genes involved in lipid metabolism have recently been associated with fasting plasma concentrations of these fat-soluble micronutrients. To further investigate the role of genetic factors that modulate the plasma concentrations of these micronutrients, we assessed whether SNP in five candidate genes (apo C-III, CETP, hepatic lipase, I-FABP and MTP) were associated with the plasma concentrations of these micronutrients. Fasting plasma vitamin E and carotenoid concentrations were measured in 129 French Caucasian subjects (forty-eight males and eighty-one females). Candidate SNP were genotyped by PCR amplification followed by restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Plasma γ-tocopherol, α-carotene and β-carotene concentrations were significantly different (P < 0·05) in subjects who carried different SNP variants in hepatic lipase. Plasma α-tocopherol concentrations were significantly different in subjects who had different SNP variants in apo C-III and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP). Plasma lycopene concentrations were significantly different (P < 0·05) in women who had different SNP variants in intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP). Finally, there was no effect of SNP variants in microsomal TAG transfer protein upon the plasma concentrations of these micronutrients. Most of the observed differences remained significant after the plasma micronutrients were adjusted for plasma TAG and cholesterol. These results suggest that apo C-III, CETP and hepatic lipase play a role in determining the plasma concentrations of tocopherols while hepatic lipase and I-FABP may modulate plasma concentrations of carotenoids.
β-Cryptoxanthin (β-CX), a provitaminic carotenoid of potential interest for health, is found principally in Citrus fruit in both free and esterified forms. Little is known about the intestinal absorption of β-CX especially with regard to the esterified forms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the absorption of free and esterified β-CX using simulated digestion coupled with the Caco-2 model. Bioaccessibility was investigated by measuring the transfer of carotenoids from different citrus juices into micelles using an in vitro digestion system. Then, carotenoid uptake was evaluated by adding carotenoid-rich micelles (from the in vitro digestion) or synthetic micelles (made from synthetic lipids and carotenoids purified from citrus juice) to human intestinal cells (Caco-2 TC7 clone). Our results showed that β-cryptoxanthin esters (β-CXE) were partially hydrolysed during the in vitro digestion. The bioaccessibility of free β-CX measured was significantly higher (40 (sd 1·05) %) than that of β-carotene (30 (sd 1·9) %) and β-CXE (16 (sd 1·5) %). In the same way, the incorporation of free β-CX (27 (sd 1·01) %) into synthetic micelles exceeded (P < 0·05) that of β-carotene (10 (sd 0·7) %) and β-CXE (8·8 (sd 0·4) %). In the case of micelles from in vitro digestion, the uptake of β-carotene, free β-CX and β-CXE forms by Caco-2 cells was 14·3 (sd 1·8), 3·9 (sd 1·3), and 0·7 (sd 0·08) % respectively. These results showed a preferential uptake by Caco-2 cells of β-carotene and free β-CX compared with the two esters of β-CX.
Lutein is assumed to protect the human retina from blue light and oxidative stress and diminish the incidence of age-related macular degeneration. This antioxidant is commonly ingested with other dietary antioxidants. The aim of the present study was to assess whether the main dietary antioxidants, i.e. carotenoids, polyphenols and vitamins C and E, affect lutein absorption. We measured the effect of adding a mixture of antioxidants (500 mg vitamin C, 67 mg (100 IU) vitamin E and 1 g polyphenols) to a lutein-containing meal (18 mg) on the postprandial lutein response in the chylomicron-rich fraction in eight healthy men. Lutein response was weakest ( − 23 %; P = 0·07) after ingestion of the meal containing antioxidants (21·9 (sem 4·6) v. 28·4 (sem 7·2) nmol × h/l). To assess the effect of each class of antioxidants and potential interactions, we subsequently evaluated the effect of various combinations of antioxidants on lutein uptake by human intestinal Caco-2 TC-7 cells. A full factorial design showed that both a mixture of polyphenols (gallic acid, caffeic acid, (+)-catechin and naringenin) and a mixture of carotenoids (lycopene plus β-carotene) significantly (P < 0·05) impaired lutein uptake by ( − 10 to − 30 %), while vitamins C and E had no significant effect. Subsequent experiments showed that the aglycone flavanone naringenin was the only polyphenol responsible for the effect of the polyphenol mixture, and that the carotenoid effect was not carotenoid species-dependent. Taken together, the present results suggest that lutein absorption is not markedly affected by physiological concentrations of vitamins C and E but can be impaired by carotenoids and naringenin.
The aim of the present study was to assess the influence of age on plasma concentration of α-tocopherol, retinol and carotenoids with a special attention paid to natural differences in body composition. Forty healthy subjects were recruited: twenty were less than 35 years old and twenty above 60 years old. Males and females were equally represented in each age group. Subjects were kept in energy balance and received controlled diets for 36 h. Fat mass and fat-free mass were determined with the 180-enriched water dilution technique. Plasma vitamins A and E, and carotenoid levels were determined after 12 h fasting and were shown to be similar in women and men. Plasma α-tocopherol concentration increased with age (+44 % elderly v. young), and correlated with % fat mass and plasma cholesterol. After adjustment for plasma cholesterol, the effect of age and % fat mass disappeared. In contrast, plasma lycopene level was 2-fold lower in the elderly than in the young group, and was inversely correlated with fat mass. When lycopene values were adjusted for fat mass, the effect of age disappeared. These results suggest that plasma levels of vitamin E and lycopene differed in the two age groups and that differences in plasma cholesterol and fat mass might participate in such an effect. Short-term vitamin intake did not appear to influence plasma vitamin concentrations.
1. Four groups of adult male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed for 6 weeks on a diet with a low-fat content (50 g/kg) and another four groups were given a diet rich in fat (250 g/kg) and cholesterol (12 g/kg). In both cases, the basal diets were either fibre-depleted or supplemented with cellulose (60 g/kg), wheat bran (100 g/kg) or low-methoxyl pectin (100 g/kg).
2. Low-methoxyl pectin displayed the most hypocholesterolaemic effect and decreased the cholesterol content of the very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), when the low-fat diet was given. When rats were fed on the high-fat diet, pectin no longer had a hypocholesterolaemic effect but still decreased the VLDL-cholesterol content. Pectin lowered serum triglyceride and VLDL-trigylceride levels only when the low-fat diet was given.
3. Wheat bran exerted no hypocholesterolaemic effect in rats fed on the low- and high-fat diets, but decreased the cholesterol content of VLDL and lowered serum triglycerides and VLDL-tryglycerides when the high-fat diet was given.
4. Purified cellulose had no significant effect on plasma lipids.
5. As shown by multivariance analysis, low-methoxyl pectin and wheat bran both beneficially modified the serum triglyceride and cholesterol variables except VLDL-triglycerides. However, the magnitude of the effect of each individual type of fibre was dependent on the fat and cholesterol content of the diet, suggesting the existence of different mechanisms of action.
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