Publications by authors named "Julie Wallace"

72 Publications

Impact of a (poly)phenol-rich extract from the brown algae Ascophyllum nodosum on DNA damage and antioxidant activity in an overweight or obese population: a randomized controlled trial.

Am J Clin Nutr 2018 10;108(4):688-700

Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster, Coleraine, United Kingdom.

Background: Epidemiologic evidence suggests that a diet rich in (poly)phenols has beneficial effects on many chronic diseases. Brown seaweed is a rich source of (poly)phenols.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the bioavailability and effect of a brown seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) (poly)phenol extract on DNA damage, oxidative stress, and inflammation in vivo.

Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial was conducted in 80 participants aged 30-65 y with a body mass index (in kg/m2) ≥25. The participants consumed either a 400-mg capsule containing 100 mg seaweed (poly)phenol and 300 mg maltodextrin or a 400-mg maltodextrin placebo control capsule daily for an 8-wk period. Bioactivity was assessed with a panel of blood-based markers including lymphocyte DNA damage, plasma oxidant capacity, C-reactive protein (CRP), and inflammatory cytokines. To explore the bioavailability of seaweed phenolics, an untargeted metabolomics analysis of urine and plasma samples after seaweed consumption was determined by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry.

Results: Consumption of the seaweed (poly)phenols resulted in a modest decrease in DNA damage but only in a subset of the total population who were obese. There were no significant changes in CRP, antioxidant status, or inflammatory cytokines. We identified phlorotannin metabolites that are considered potential biomarkers of seaweed consumption including pyrogallol/phloroglucinol-sulfate, hydroxytrifurahol A-glucuronide, dioxinodehydroeckol-glucuronide, diphlorethol sulfates, C-O-C dimer of phloroglucinol sulfate, and C-O-C dimer of phloroglucinol.

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this work represents the first comprehensive study investigating the bioactivity and bioavailability of seaweed (poly)phenolics in human participants. We identified several potential biomarkers of seaweed consumption. Intriguingly, the modest improvements in DNA damage were observed only in the obese subset of the total population. The subgroup analysis should be considered exploratory because it was not preplanned; therefore, it was not powered adequately. Elucidation of the biology underpinning this observation will require participant stratification according to weight in future studies. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02295878.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy147DOI Listing
October 2018

An evaluation of portion size estimation aids: Consumer perspectives on their effectiveness.

Appetite 2017 07 20;114:200-208. Epub 2017 Mar 20.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, BT52 1SA, Northern Ireland, UK. Electronic address:

Objective: This qualitative study aimed to investigate consumer opinions on the usefulness of portion size estimation aids (PSEA); consumer preferences in terms of format and context for use; and the level of detail of guidance considered necessary for the effective application of PSEA.

Design: Six focus groups (three to eight participants per group) were conducted to elicit views on PSEA. The discussions were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed by two independent researchers using a template approach.

Setting: The focus groups were conducted in 2013 by an experienced moderator in various sites across the island of Ireland (three in the Republic of Ireland and three in Northern Ireland) including local leisure, community and resource centres; the home environment; and a university meeting room.

Participants: General population, males (n = 17) and females (n = 15) aged 18-64 years old. Participants were recruited from both urban and rural locations representing a range of socio-economic groups.

Results: The majority of participants deemed the coloured portion pots and disposable plastic cup (household measures) to be useful particularly for the estimation of amorphous cereal products (e.g. breakfast cereals). Preferences were evident for "visual" PSEA (reference objects, household measures and food packaging) rather than 'quantities and measures' such as weighing in grams or ounces. Participants stated that PS education should be concise, consistent, from a reputable source, initiated at school age and communicated innovatively e.g. mobile app or TV advertisement. Guidance in relation to gender, age and activity level was favoured over a "one size fits all" approach.

Conclusions: This study identified consumer preferences and acceptance of "visual" PSEA such as portion pots/cups to estimate appropriate PS of amorphous grain foods such as breakfast cereals, pasta and rice. Concise information from a reputable source in relation to gender, age and activity level should accompany PSEA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.027DOI Listing
July 2017

Using NMR-Based Metabolomics to Evaluate Postprandial Urinary Responses Following Consumption of Minimally Processed Wheat Bran or Wheat Aleurone by Men and Women.

Nutrients 2016 Feb 17;8(2):96. Epub 2016 Feb 17.

The Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), Ulster University, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK.

Wheat bran, and especially wheat aleurone fraction, are concentrated sources of a wide range of components which may contribute to the health benefits associated with higher consumption of whole-grain foods. This study used NMR metabolomics to evaluate urine samples from baseline at one and two hours postprandially, following the consumption of minimally processed bran, aleurone or control by 14 participants (7 Females; 7 Males) in a randomized crossover trial. The methodology discriminated between the urinary responses of control, and bran and aleurone, but not between the two fractions. Compared to control, consumption of aleurone or bran led to significantly and substantially higher urinary concentrations of lactate, alanine, N-acetylaspartate acid and N-acetylaspartylglutamate and significantly and substantially lower urinary betaine concentrations at one and two hours postprandially. There were sex related differences in urinary metabolite profiles with generally higher hippurate and citrate and lower betaine in females compared to males. Overall, this postprandial study suggests that acute consumption of bran or aleurone is associated with a number of physiological effects that may impact on energy metabolism and which are consistent with longer term human and animal metabolomic studies that used whole-grain wheat diets or wheat fractions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu8020096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772058PMC
February 2016

An evaluation of portion size estimation aids: precision, ease of use and likelihood of future use.

Public Health Nutr 2016 09 9;19(13):2377-87. Epub 2016 Feb 9.

1Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE),School of Biomedical Sciences,University of Ulster,Coleraine Campus,Cromore Road,Coleraine BT52 1SA,UK.

Objective: The present study aimed to evaluate the precision, ease of use and likelihood of future use of portion size estimation aids (PSEA).

Design: A range of PSEA were used to estimate the serving sizes of a range of commonly eaten foods and rated for ease of use and likelihood of future usage.

Setting: For each food, participants selected their preferred PSEA from a range of options including: quantities and measures; reference objects; measuring; and indicators on food packets. These PSEA were used to serve out various foods (e.g. liquid, amorphous, and composite dishes). Ease of use and likelihood of future use were noted. The foods were weighed to determine the precision of each PSEA.

Subjects: Males and females aged 18-64 years (n 120).

Results: The quantities and measures were the most precise PSEA (lowest range of weights for estimated portion sizes). However, participants preferred household measures (e.g. 200 ml disposable cup) - deemed easy to use (median rating of 5), likely to use again in future (all scored either 4 or 5 on a scale from 1='not very likely' to 5='very likely to use again') and precise (narrow range of weights for estimated portion sizes). The majority indicated they would most likely use the PSEA preparing a meal (94 %), particularly dinner (86 %) in the home (89 %; all P<0·001) for amorphous grain foods.

Conclusions: Household measures may be precise, easy to use and acceptable aids for estimating the appropriate portion size of amorphous grain foods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980016000082DOI Listing
September 2016

Type 1 Diabetes--Reaping the Rewards of a Targeted Research Investment.

Diabetes 2016 Feb;65(2):307-13

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) precipitated a major research effort to develop new approaches to achieve near-normal glycemic control in real-world settings in people with type 1 diabetes. Toward that end, a unique funding stream from the U.S. Congress-the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research-has provided nearly $2.5 billion for research into the prevention, cure, and treatment of type 1 diabetes since 1998. This funding generated a targeted, sustained investment in type 1 diabetes research with six specific goals: identifying new therapeutic targets through the understanding of disease etiology and pathogenesis, preventing or reversing the disease, developing cell replacement therapy, improving management and care, preventing or reducing the complications, and attracting new talent and applying new technologies to type 1 diabetes research. This Perspective describes exciting results that have emerged from the investment and further advances on the horizon, including artificial pancreas technologies, new therapies for diabetic retinopathy, and breakthroughs in laboratory production of β-cells. The recent program extension enables us to build on this foundation and pursue key new initiatives to harness emerging technologies and develop the next generation of type 1 diabetes researchers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db15-1030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4876700PMC
February 2016

Noncatalytic PTEN missense mutation predisposes to organ-selective cancer development in vivo.

Genes Dev 2015 Aug;29(16):1707-20

Solid Tumor Biology Program, James Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA; Department of Molecular Genetics, College of Arts and Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA; Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA;

Inactivation of phosphatase and tensin homology deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) is linked to increased PI3K-AKT signaling, enhanced organismal growth, and cancer development. Here we generated and analyzed Pten knock-in mice harboring a C2 domain missense mutation at phenylalanine 341 (Pten(FV)), found in human cancer. Despite having reduced levels of PTEN protein, homozygous Pten(FV/FV) embryos have intact AKT signaling, develop normally, and are carried to term. Heterozygous Pten(FV/+) mice develop carcinoma in the thymus, stomach, adrenal medulla, and mammary gland but not in other organs typically sensitive to Pten deficiency, including the thyroid, prostate, and uterus. Progression to carcinoma in sensitive organs ensues in the absence of overt AKT activation. Carcinoma in the uterus, a cancer-resistant organ, requires a second clonal event associated with the spontaneous activation of AKT and downstream signaling. In summary, this PTEN noncatalytic missense mutation exposes a core tumor suppressor function distinct from inhibition of canonical AKT signaling that predisposes to organ-selective cancer development in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.262568.115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4561480PMC
August 2015

The effect of consuming Palmaria palmata-enriched bread on inflammatory markers, antioxidant status, lipid profile and thyroid function in a randomised placebo-controlled intervention trial in healthy adults.

Eur J Nutr 2016 Aug 8;55(5):1951-62. Epub 2015 Aug 8.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, BT52 1SA, Northern Ireland, UK.

Purpose: Palmaria palmata (P. Palmata) is reported to contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds albeit no study has investigated these effects in humans.

Methods: A randomised parallel placebo-controlled human intervention study was carried out to investigate the effect of consuming P. Palmata (5 g/day) incorporated into a bread on serum markers of inflammation [C-reactive protein (CRP); cytokine analysis] with secondary analysis investigating changes in lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides), thyroid function [thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)] and antioxidant status ferric reducing antioxidant power. ANCOVA with baseline values as covariates, controlling for age, BMI, sex and smoking status, was used to compare differences between treatment groups over time . In vitro studies investigated the inflammatory activity of P. Palmata extracts (hot water, cold water and ethanol extract), protein extracts and associated protein hydrolysates using a Caco-2 inflammation cell model.

Results: Consumption of P. Palmata-enriched bread significantly increased serum CRP (+16.1 %, P = 0.011), triglycerides (+31.9 %, P = 0.001) and TSH (+17.2 %, P = 0.017) when compared to the control group. In vitro evaluation of P. palmata extracts and protein hydrolysates identified a significant induction of IL-8 secretion by Caco-2 cells, and the hot water P. palmata extract was shown to increase adipocyte glycerol release (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Evidence from this human study suggests that P. palmata stimulates inflammation, increases serum triglycerides and alters thyroid function; however, these changes are not likely to impact health as changes remained within the normal clinical range. The data from the in vitro study provided indications that IL-8 may contribute to the apparent immunostimulation noted in the human study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-1011-1DOI Listing
August 2016

Cry protein crystals: a novel platform for protein delivery.

PLoS One 2015 1;10(6):e0127669. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, United States of America.

Protein delivery platforms are important tools in the development of novel protein therapeutics and biotechnologies. We have developed a new class of protein delivery agent based on sub-micrometer-sized Cry3Aa protein crystals that naturally form within the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. We demonstrate that fusion of the cry3Aa gene to that of various reporter proteins allows for the facile production of Cry3Aa fusion protein crystals for use in subsequent applications. These Cry3Aa fusion protein crystals are efficiently taken up and retained by macrophages and other cell lines in vitro, and can be delivered to mice in vivo via multiple modes of administration. Oral delivery of Cry3Aa fusion protein crystals to C57BL/6 mice leads to their uptake by MHC class II cells, including macrophages in the Peyer's patches, supporting the notion that the Cry3Aa framework can be used to stabilize cargo protein against degradation for delivery to gastrointestinal lymphoid tissues.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0127669PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4451076PMC
March 2016

Postprandial plasma betaine and other methyl donor-related responses after consumption of minimally processed wheat bran or wheat aleurone, or wheat aleurone incorporated into bread.

Br J Nutr 2015 Feb 13;113(3):445-53. Epub 2015 Jan 13.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster,Coleraine,UK.

The bran and particularly the aleurone fraction of wheat are high in betaine and other physiological methyl donors, which may exert beneficial physiological effects. We conducted two randomised, controlled, cross-over postprandial studies to assess and compare plasma betaine and other methyl donor-related responses following the consumption of minimally processed bran and aleurone fractions (study A) and aleurone bread (study B). For both studies, standard pharmacokinetic parameters were derived for betaine, choline, folate, dimethylglycine (DMG), total homocysteine and methionine from plasma samples taken at 0, 0·5, 1, 2 and 3 h. In study A (n 14), plasma betaine concentrations were significantly and substantially elevated from 0·5 to 3 h following the consumption of both bran and aleurone compared with the control; however, aleurone gave significantly higher responses than bran. Small, but significant, increases were also observed in DMG measures; however, no significant responses were observed in other analytes. In study B (n 13), plasma betaine concentrations were significantly and substantially higher following consumption of the aleurone bread compared with the control bread; small, but significant, increases were also observed in DMG and folate measures in response to consumption of the aleurone bread; however, no significant responses were observed in other analytes. Peak plasma betaine concentrations, which were 1·7-1·8 times the baseline levels, were attained earlier following the consumption of minimally processed aleurone compared with the aleurone bread (time taken to reach peak concentration 1·2 v. 2·1 h). These results showed that the consumption of minimally processed wheat bran, and particularly the aleurone fraction, yielded substantial postprandial increases in plasma betaine concentrations. Furthermore, these effects appear to be maintained when aleurone was incorporated into bread.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114514003778DOI Listing
February 2015

Parent and child perspectives on family out-of-home eating: a qualitative analysis.

Public Health Nutr 2015 Jan 7;18(1):100-11. Epub 2014 Aug 7.

1School of Biomedical Sciences,Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health,University of Ulster,Cromore Road,Coleraine,BT52 1SA,UK.

Objective: To (i) explore the factors influencing family out-of-home (OH) eating events and (ii) identify possible opportunities for food businesses to support families in making healthier OH choices.

Design: Focus group discussions were conducted with parents (six to eight participants per group) and friendship pair discussions (informal interviews with two children who are friends) were conducted with children (5-12 years) throughout the island of Ireland. Both discussions were audio-recorded and analysed using a thematic content analysis.

Setting: Eight focus groups and sixteen friendship pairs were conducted in Northern Ireland and sixteen focus groups and thirty-two friendship pairs were conducted in the Republic of Ireland.

Subjects: Purposive sampling was used to recruit a sample of non-related parents and children that represented equal numbers of gender, age, socio-economic status and demographic backgrounds.

Results: The main, overarching theme was that families perceived OH eating to be a treat, while health was not currently a key priority for many parents and children. Children were reported to have most responsibility for their own food choice decisions in this environment, with taste and food neophobia having the greatest influences. Parents believed that if food businesses could meet parent and child priorities in addition to health influences, e.g. change cooking methods, and increase flexibility, then families would be more likely to patronise these establishments.

Conclusions: The entire family OH eating experience needs to be considered when developing public health interventions and this research has highlighted key opportunities that caterers could employ to support healthier family OH food choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980014001384DOI Listing
January 2015

Protein kinase C Beta in the tumor microenvironment promotes mammary tumorigenesis.

Front Oncol 2014 23;4:87. Epub 2014 Apr 23.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University , Columbus, OH , USA ; Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University , Columbus, OH , USA.

Protein kinase C beta (PKCβ) expression in breast cancer is associated with a more aggressive tumor phenotype, yet the mechanism for how PKCβ is pro-tumorigenic in this disease is still unclear. Interestingly, while it is known that PKCβ mediates angiogenesis, immunity, fibroblast function and adipogenesis, all components of the mammary tumor microenvironment (TME), no study to date has investigated whether stromal PKCβ is functionally relevant in breast cancer. Herein, we evaluate mouse mammary tumor virus-polyoma middle T-antigen (MMTV-PyMT) induced mammary tumorigenesis in the presence and absence of PKCβ. We utilize two model systems: one where PKCβ is deleted in both the epithelial and stromal compartments to test the global requirement for PKCβ on tumor formation, and second, where PKCβ is deleted only in the stromal compartment to test its role in the TME. MMTV-PyMT mice globally lacking PKCβ live longer and develop smaller tumors with decreased proliferation and decreased macrophage infiltration. Similarly, when PKCβ is null exclusively in the stroma, PyMT-driven B6 cells form smaller tumors with diminished collagen deposition. These experiments reveal for the first time a tumor promoting role for stromal PKCβ in MMTV-PyMT tumorigenesis. In corroboration with these results, PKCβ mRNA (Prkcb) is increased in fibroblasts isolated from MMTV-PyMT tumors. These data were confirmed in a breast cancer patient cohort. Combined these data suggest the continued investigation of PKCβ in the mammary TME is necessary to elucidate how to effectively target this signaling pathway in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2014.00087DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006052PMC
May 2014

Supplementation with calcium and short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides affects markers of bone turnover but not bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.

J Nutr 2014 Mar 22;144(3):297-304. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

This 24-mo randomized, double-blind, controlled trial aimed to examine whether supplementation with a natural marine-derived multi-mineral supplement rich in calcium (Ca) taken alone and in conjunction with short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide (scFOSs) has a beneficial effect on bone mineral density (BMD) and bone turnover markers (BTMs) in postmenopausal women. A total of 300 non-osteoporotic postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to daily supplements of 800 mg of Ca, 800 mg of Ca with 3.6 g of scFOS (CaFOS), or 9 g of maltodextrin. BMD was measured before and after intervention along with BTMs, which were also measured at 12 mo. Intention-to-treat ANCOVA identified that the change in BMD in the Ca and CaFOS groups did not differ from that in the maltodextrin group. Secondary analysis of changes to BTMs over time identified a greater decline in osteocalcin and C-telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX) in the Ca group compared with the maltodextrin group at 12 mo. A greater decline in CTX was observed at 12 mo and a greater decline in osteocalcin was observed at 24 mo in the CaFOS group compared with the maltodextrin group. In exploratory subanalyses of each treatment group against the maltodextrin group, women classified with osteopenia and taking CaFOS had a smaller decline in total-body (P = 0.03) and spinal (P = 0.03) BMD compared with the maltodextrin group, although this effect was restricted to those with higher total-body and mean spinal BMD at baseline, respectively. Although the change in BMD observed did not differ between the groups, the greater decline in BTMs in the Ca and CaFOS groups compared with the maltodextrin group suggests a more favorable bone health profile after supplementation with Ca and CaFOS. Supplementation with CaFOS slowed the rate of total-body and spinal bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteopenia-an effect that warrants additional investigation. This trial was registered at www.controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN63118444.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.113.188144DOI Listing
March 2014

Ets2 in tumor fibroblasts promotes angiogenesis in breast cancer.

PLoS One 2013 16;8(8):e71533. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America.

Tumor fibroblasts are active partners in tumor progression, but the genes and pathways that mediate this collaboration are ill-defined. Previous work demonstrates that Ets2 function in stromal cells significantly contributes to breast tumor progression. Conditional mouse models were used to study the function of Ets2 in both mammary stromal fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Conditional inactivation of Ets2 in stromal fibroblasts in PyMT and ErbB2 driven tumors significantly reduced tumor growth, however deletion of Ets2 in epithelial cells in the PyMT model had no significant effect. Analysis of gene expression in fibroblasts revealed a tumor- and Ets2-dependent gene signature that was enriched in genes important for ECM remodeling, cell migration, and angiogenesis in both PyMT and ErbB2 driven-tumors. Consistent with these results, PyMT and ErbB2 tumors lacking Ets2 in fibroblasts had fewer functional blood vessels, and Ets2 in fibroblasts elicited changes in gene expression in tumor endothelial cells consistent with this phenotype. An in vivo angiogenesis assay revealed the ability of Ets2 in fibroblasts to promote blood vessel formation in the absence of tumor cells. Importantly, the Ets2-dependent gene expression signatures from both mouse models were able to distinguish human breast tumor stroma from normal stroma, and correlated with patient outcomes in two whole tumor breast cancer data sets. The data reveals a key function for Ets2 in tumor fibroblasts in signaling to endothelial cells to promote tumor angiogenesis. The results highlight the collaborative networks that orchestrate communication between stromal cells and tumor cells, and suggest that targeting tumor fibroblasts may be an effective strategy for developing novel anti-angiogenic therapies.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0071533PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3745457PMC
April 2014

Neurodevelopmental outcomes at 5 years in children exposed prenatally to maternal dental amalgam: the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study.

Neurotoxicol Teratol 2013 Sep-Oct;39:57-62. Epub 2013 Jul 13.

Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 705, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box EHSC, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 705, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. Electronic address:

Limited human data are available to assess the association between prenatal mercury vapor (Hg⁰)) exposure from maternal dental amalgam restorations and neurodevelopment of children. We evaluated the association between maternal dental amalgam status during gestation and children's neurodevelopmental outcomes at 5 years in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS). Maternal amalgam status was determined prospectively in a longitudinal cohort study examining the associations of prenatal exposure to nutrients and methylmercury (MeHg) with neurodevelopment. A total of 236 mother-child pairs initially enrolled in the SCDNS in 2001 were eligible to participate. Maternal amalgam status was measured as number of amalgam surfaces (the primary metric) and number of occlusal points. The neurodevelopmental assessment battery was comprised of age-appropriate tests of cognitive, language, and perceptual functions, and scholastic achievement. Linear regression analysis controlled for MeHg exposure, maternal fatty acid status, and other covariates relevant to child development. Maternal amalgam status evaluation yielded an average of 7.0 surfaces (range 0-28) and 11.0 occlusal points (range 0-40) during pregnancy. Neither the number of maternal amalgam surfaces nor occlusal points were associated with any outcome. Our findings do not provide evidence to support a relationship between prenatal exposure to Hg⁰ from maternal dental amalgam and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children at 5 years of age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2013.07.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917122PMC
November 2014

Intracellular cytokine production and cognition in healthy older adults.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2013 Oct 10;38(10):2196-208. Epub 2013 May 10.

School of Psychology, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK. Electronic address:

Elevated concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-6 have been associated with impaired cognitive performance. There are, however, few studies that have examined the relationship between cytokine production and specific aspects of cognition in healthy older individuals. Two-colour flow cytometry was used to determine intracellular cytokine production by activated monocytes, and neuropsychological tests were performed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) in 93 apparently healthy men and women aged 55-70 years. A series of hierarchical regression analyses was carried out to examine the contribution of IL-1β and IL-6 (% expression and production (antibody binding capacity (ABC))) to recognition, attention and working memory, after controlling for socio-demographic variables (age, sex and social class). IL-1β% expression and IL-6 production predicted aspects of working memory. Recognition memory was found to be sensitive to the affects of age and social class. The current study suggests that higher intracellular cytokine production by activated monocytes may be predictive of lower cognitive performance in working memory in healthy older individuals. These findings indicate that utilization of models for in vivo cytokine production upon immune challenge may be useful in studying specific aspects of memory affected during inflammatory responses, for example in individuals at risk for cognitive decline owing to age-related inflammatory disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.04.007DOI Listing
October 2013

Vitamin D status and supplementation in elite Irish athletes.

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2013 Oct 26;23(5):441-8. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

Background: A high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency, which may impact on health and training ability, is evident among athletes worldwide. This observational study investigated the vitamin D status of elite Irish athletes and determined the effect of wintertime supplementation on status.

Methods: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], calcium, and plasma parathyroid hormone were analyzed in elite athletes in November 2010 (17 boxers, 33 paralympians) or March 2011 (34 Gaelic Athletic Association [GAA] players). A subset of boxers and paralympians (n = 27) were supplemented during the winter months with either 5,000 IU vitamin D3/d for 10-12 weeks or 50,000 IU on one or two occasions. Biochemical analysis was repeated following supplementation.

Results: Median 25(OH)D of all athletes at baseline was 48.4 nmol/L. Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency (serum 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L) was particularly evident among GAA players (94%) due to month of sampling. Wintertime supplementation (all doses) significantly increased 25(OH)D (median 62.8 nmol/L at baseline vs. 71.1 nmol/L in April or May; p = .001) and corrected any insufficiencies/deficiencies in this subset of athletes. In contrast, 25(OH)D significantly decreased in those that did not receive a vitamin D supplement, with 74% of athletes classed as vitamin D insufficient/deficient after winter, compared with only 35% at baseline.

Conclusions: This study has highlighted a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/ deficiency among elite Irish athletes and demonstrated that wintertime vitamin D3 supplementation is an appropriate regimen to ensure vitamin D sufficiency in athletes during winter and early spring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.23.5.441DOI Listing
October 2013

Biomedical research: paving a pathway to diabetes prevention.

Am J Prev Med 2013 Apr;44(4 Suppl 4):S317-23

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2012.12.017DOI Listing
April 2013

Influence of nutrition labelling on food portion size consumption.

Appetite 2013 Jun 18;65:153-8. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK.

Nutrition labelling is an important strategic approach for encouraging consumers to make healthier food choices. The availability of highly palatable foods labelled as 'low fat or reduced calorie' may encourage the over-consumption of these products. This study aimed to determine whether the manipulation of nutrition labelling information can influence food portion size consumption. Normal and overweight men (n=24) and women (n=23) were served an identical lunch meal on three separate days, but the information they received prior to consuming the lunch meal was manipulated as follows: "baseline", "high fat/energy" and "low fat/energy". Food and energy intake was significantly increased in the low fat/energy condition compared with both baseline and the high fat/energy condition. An additional 3% (162 kJ) energy was consumed by subjects under the low fat/energy condition compared to baseline. No differences were observed between the baseline and high fat/energy condition. Subjects who consumed most in the low fat/energy condition were found to be mostly men, to have a higher BMI and to be overweight. Low fat/energy information can positively influence food and energy intake, suggesting that foods labelled as 'low fat' or 'low calorie' may be one factor promoting the consumption of large food portions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2013.02.013DOI Listing
June 2013

Choline status and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 5 years of age in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study.

Br J Nutr 2013 Jul 9;110(2):330-6. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, BT52 1SA, UK.

Choline is an essential nutrient that is found in many food sources and plays a critical role in the development of the central nervous system. Animal studies have shown that choline status pre- and postnatally can have long-lasting effects on attention and memory; however, effects in human subjects have not been well studied. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between plasma concentrations of free choline and its related metabolites in children and their neurodevelopment in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study, an ongoing longitudinal study assessing the development of children born to mothers with high fish consumption during pregnancy. Plasma concentrations of free choline, betaine, dimethylglycine (DMG), methionine and homocysteine and specific measures of neurodevelopment were measured in 210 children aged 5 years. The children's plasma free choline concentration (9·17 (sd 2·09) μmol/l) was moderately, but significantly, correlated with betaine (r 0·24; P= 0·0006), DMG (r 0·15; P= 0·03), methionine (r 0·24; P= 0·0005) and homocysteine (r 0·19; P= 0·006) concentrations. Adjusted multiple linear regression revealed that betaine concentrations were positively associated with Preschool Language Scale – total language scores (β = 0·066; P= 0·04), but no other associations were evident. We found no indication that free choline concentration or its metabolites, within the normal physiological range, are associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes in children at 5 years of age. As there is considerable animal evidence suggesting that choline status during development is associated with cognitive outcome, the issue deserves further study in other cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114512005077DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3723412PMC
July 2013

Prenatal exposure to dental amalgam in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study: associations with neurodevelopmental outcomes at 9 and 30 months.

Neurotoxicology 2012 Dec 12;33(6):1511-1517. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box EHSC, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester, 265 Crittenden Blvd., CU 420606, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; Department of Neurology, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 631, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.

Background: Dental amalgam is approximately 50% metallic mercury and releases mercury vapor into the oral cavity, where it is inhaled and absorbed. Maternal amalgams expose the developing fetus to mercury vapor. Mercury vapor can be toxic, but uncertainty remains whether prenatal amalgam exposure is associated with neurodevelopmental consequences in offspring.

Objective: To determine if prenatal mercury vapor exposure from maternal dental amalgam is associated with adverse effects to cognition and development in children.

Methods: We prospectively determined dental amalgam status in a cohort of 300 pregnant women recruited in 2001 in the Republic of Seychelles to study the risks and benefits of fish consumption. The primary exposure measure was maternal amalgam surfaces present during gestation. Maternal occlusal points were a secondary measure. Outcomes were the child's mental (MDI) and psychomotor (PDI) developmental indices of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II (BSID-II) administered at 9 and 30 months. Complete exposure, outcome, and covariate data were available on a subset of 242 mother-child pairs.

Results: The number of amalgam surfaces was not significantly (p>0.05) associated with either PDI or MDI scores. Similarly, secondary analysis with occlusal points showed no effect on the PDI or MDI scores for boys and girls combined. However, secondary analysis of the 9-month MDI was suggestive of an adverse association present only in girls.

Conclusion: We found no evidence of an association between our primary exposure metric, amalgam surfaces, and neurodevelopmental endpoints. Secondary analyses using occlusal points supported these findings, but suggested the possibility of an adverse association with the MDI for girls at 9 months. Given the continued widespread use of dental amalgam, we believe additional prospective studies to clarify this issue are a priority.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2012.10.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3576043PMC
December 2012

Maternal PUFA status but not prenatal methylmercury exposure is associated with children's language functions at age five years in the Seychelles.

J Nutr 2012 Nov 26;142(11):1943-9. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK.

Evidence from the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study suggests that maternal nutritional status can modulate the relationship between prenatal methylmercury (MeHg) exposure and developmental outcomes in children. The aim of this study was to investigate whether maternal PUFA status was a confounding factor in any possible associations between prenatal MeHg exposure and developmental outcomes at 5 y of age in the Republic of Seychelles. Maternal status of (n-3) and (n-6) PUFA were measured in serum collected at 28 wk gestation and delivery. Prenatal MeHg exposure was determined in maternal hair collected at delivery. At 5 y of age, the children completed a comprehensive range of sensitive developmental assessments. Complete data from 225 mothers and their children were available for analysis. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed Preschool Language Scale scores of the children improved with increasing maternal serum DHA [22:6(n-3)] concentrations and decreased with increasing arachidonic acid [20:4(n-6)] concentrations, albeit verbal intelligence improved with increasing (n-6) PUFA concentrations in maternal serum. There were no adverse associations between MeHg exposure and developmental outcomes. These findings suggest that higher fish consumption, resulting in higher maternal (n-3) PUFA status, during pregnancy is associated with beneficial developmental effects rather than detrimental effects resulting from the higher concomitant exposures of the fetus to MeHg. The association of maternal (n-3) PUFA status with improved child language development may partially explain the authors' previous finding of improving language scores, as prenatal MeHg exposure increased in an earlier mother-child cohort in the Seychelles where maternal PUFA status was not measured.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.112.163493DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498972PMC
November 2012

Incremental cholecalciferol supplementation up to 15 μg/d throughout winter at 51-55° N has no effect on biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in healthy young and older adults.

J Nutr 2012 Aug 27;142(8):1519-25. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Vitamin D Research Group, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College, Cork, Ireland.

Two separate, identical, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled intervention studies were carried out in the south and north of Ireland (51-55°N). Men and women aged 20-40 y (n = 202) and ≥64 y (n = 192) received cholecalciferol at doses of 0 (P), 5 (D3-5), 10 (D3-10), or 15 (D3-15) μg/d (0-600 IU) during wintertime. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [s25(OH)D], intact parathyroid hormone, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting lipids, glucose and insulin, HOMA-IR, high-sensitivity CRP, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and its inhibitor (tissue inhibitor metalloproteinase-1) were measured at baseline (October) and 22 wk later at endpoint (March). Vitamin D receptor Fok I and Taq I genotypes were analyzed and dietary intakes of vitamin D and calcium were assessed. In young adults, s25(OH)D decreased from baseline to endpoint (P < 0.001), except in the D3-15 group, who maintained the baseline concentration of ~70 nmol/L. Older adults had lower s25(OH)D at baseline (median, 54.2 nmol/L) and concentrations increased in the D3-10 and D3-15 groups (P < 0.001). There were no significant effects of supplementation on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk biomarkers in either age group. Fasting glucose and total and HDL cholesterol were lower (P < 0.05) in older adults with the Fok 1 ff genotype than in those with FF or Ff. Putative effects of vitamin D on cardio-metabolic health will only be evident at higher intakes than the current RDA and possibly in individuals at particular risk of low s25(OH)D and/or CVD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.111.154005DOI Listing
August 2012

Proximity to major roadways is a risk factor for airway hyper-responsiveness in adults.

Can Respir J 2012 Mar-Apr;19(2):89-95

Firsestone Institute for Respiratory Health, St Joseph's Healthcare and Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

Background: Proximity to major roads is reported to be associated with asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness in children. Similar studies using objective measurements in adults are not available in Canada.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that adult asthmatic patients who live close to major roads and highways in an urban environment are at a risk of moderate to severe airway hyper-responsiveness.

Methods: Airway responsiveness was determined using methacholine bronchial provocation (PC(20)) tests in a cohort of 2625 patients who attended an outpatient clinic in Hamilton, Ontario. Patient addresses were geocoded in a geographic information system to determine proximity to major roads and highways. Multivariate linear and multinomial regression analyses were used to assess whether proximity to roads was a risk factor for airway hyper-responsiveness as measured by PC(20) methacholine.

Results: Patients who lived within 200 m of a major road had increased odds (OR 1.38 [95% CI 1.04 to 1.85]) of having moderate airway hyperresponsiveness (0.25 mg⁄mL 16 mg/mL). Spatial analysis also revealed that the majority of patients with severe airway hyper-responsiveness lived within the urban core of the city while those with moderate to mild hyper-responsiveness were also dispersed in rural areas.

Conclusions: In an adult population of patients attending an outpatient respiratory clinic in Hamilton, living close to major roadways was associated with an increased risk of moderate airway hyper-responsiveness. This correlation suggests that exposure to traffic emissions may provoke the pathology of airway hyper-responsiveness leading to variable airflow obstruction.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3373287PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/471579DOI Listing
September 2012

Intakes and adequacy of potentially important nutrients for cognitive development among 5-year-old children in the Seychelles Child Development and Nutrition Study.

Public Health Nutr 2012 Sep 10;15(9):1670-7. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK.

Objective: To assess the nutritional adequacy of Seychellois children in relation to nutrients reported to be important for cognitive development.

Design: Dietary intakes were assessed by 4 d weighed food diaries and analysed using dietary analysis software (WISP version 3·0; Tinuviel Software, UK). Individual nutrient intakes were adjusted to usual intakes and, in order to investigate adequacy, were compared with the UK Estimated Average Requirements for children aged 4-6 years.

Setting: Children 5 years old were followed up as part of the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS), located in the high-fish-consuming population of Mahé, Republic of Seychelles.

Subjects: Analysis was carried out on a sample of 229 children (118 boys, 111 girls).

Results: Children consumed a diet of which fortified cereal and milk products contributed the most to nutrient intakes. The majority (≥80 %) of children met requirements for several nutrients important for child development including Fe, folate and Se. Adjusted dietary intakes of Cu, Zn, iodine, niacin and vitamin A were below the Estimated Average Requirement or Recommended Nutrient Intake. Mean adjusted energy intakes (boys 4769 kJ/d (1139·84 kcal/d), girls 4759 kJ/d (1137·43 kcal/d)) were lower than the estimated energy requirement (boys 5104 kJ/d (1220 kcal/d), girls 5042 kJ/d (1205 kcal/d)) for 88 % of boys and 86 % of girls.

Conclusions: Nutrition was adequate for most children within the SCDNS cohort. Low intakes of some nutrients (including Zn, niacin and vitamin A) could reflect nutritional database inaccuracies, but may require further investigation. The study provides valuable information on the adequacy of intakes of nutrients which could affect the growth and development of Seychellois children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S136898001200016XDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654211PMC
September 2012

Human health effects of conjugated linoleic acid from milk and supplements.

Nutr Res Rev 2011 Dec;24(2):206-27

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, County Londonderry BT52 1SA, UK.

The primary purpose of the present review was to determine if the scientific evidence available for potential human health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is sufficient to support health claims on foods based on milk naturally enriched with cis-9, trans-11-CLA (c9, t11-CLA). A search of the scientific literature was conducted and showed that almost all the promising research results that have emerged in relation to cancer, heart health, obesity, diabetes and bone health have been in animal models or in vitro. Most human intervention studies have utilised synthetic CLA supplements, usually a 50:50 blend of c9, t11-CLA and trans-10, cis-12-CLA (t10, c12-CLA). Of these studies, the only evidence that is broadly consistent is an effect on body fat and weight reduction. A previous review of the relevant studies found that 3.2 g CLA/d resulted in a modest body fat loss in human subjects of about 0.09 kg/week, but this effect was attributed to the t10, c12-CLA isomer. There is no evidence of a consistent benefit of c9, t11-CLA on any health conditions; and in fact both synthetic isomers, particularly t10, c12-CLA, have been suspected of having pro-diabetic effects in individuals who are already at risk of developing diabetes. Four published intervention studies using naturally enriched CLA products were identified; however, the results were inconclusive. This may be partly due to the differences in the concentration of CLA administered in animal and human studies. In conclusion, further substantiation of the scientific evidence relating to CLA and human health benefits are required before health claims can be confirmed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954422411000114DOI Listing
December 2011

Effective mitigation efforts to reduce road dust near industrial sites: assessment by mobile pollution surveys.

J Environ Manage 2012 May 20;98:112-8. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Centre for Spatial Analysis, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8, Canada.

Assessment of spatial variation of fugitive dust sources, particularly road dust track-out from industrial sites and its subsequent re-suspension is difficult with fixed air quality monitoring stations given their sparse distribution and the highly localized nature of road dust. Mobile monitoring was employed to measure levels of road dust in the industrial area of the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Results of this monitoring were used in a Fugitive Dust Control workshop held for local stakeholders, where fugitive dust control solutions were presented. After the workshop, the City of Hamilton and cooperative industrial groups executed enhanced street cleaning and individual industries and facilities performed on-site control activities. Post-workshop mobile air monitoring was performed for comparison to the initial values to determine effectiveness of these approaches. A regression model testing the difference pre- and post-workshop yielded a statistically significant difference in PM(10) measurements demonstrating improvement. The average value of PM(10) prior to the workshop was 114 μg/m(3). Post-workshop the average value dropped to 73 μg/m(3).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.12.023DOI Listing
May 2012

Evaluation of the effect of wheat aleurone-rich foods on markers of antioxidant status, inflammation and endothelial function in apparently healthy men and women.

Br J Nutr 2012 Nov 16;108(9):1644-51. Epub 2012 Jan 16.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK.

Observational data show an inverse association between the consumption of whole-grain foods, and inflammation and related diseases. Although the underlying mechanisms are unclear, whole grains, and in particular the aleurone layer, contain a wide range of components with putative antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. We evaluated the effects of a diet high in wheat aleurone on plasma antioxidants status, markers of inflammation and endothelial function. In this parallel, participant-blinded intervention, seventy-nine healthy, older, overweight participants (45-65 years, BMI>25 kg/m²) incorporated either aleurone-rich cereal products (27 g aleurone/d), or control products balanced for fibre and macronutrients, into their habitual diets for 4 weeks. Fasting blood samples were taken at baseline and on day 29. Results showed that, compared to control, consumption of aleurone-rich products provided substantial amounts of micronutrients and phytochemicals which may function as antioxidants. Additionally, incorporating these products into a habitual diet resulted in significantly lower plasma concentrations of the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein (P = 0·035), which is an independent risk factor for CVD. However, no changes were observed in other markers of inflammation, antioxidant status or endothelial function. These results provide a possible mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of longer-term whole-grain intake. However, it is unclear whether this effect is owing to a specific component, or a combination of components in wheat aleurone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114511007070DOI Listing
November 2012

Choline supplementation and measures of choline and betaine status: a randomised, controlled trial in postmenopausal women.

Br J Nutr 2012 Oct 15;108(7):1264-71. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Coleraine, County Londonderry, UK.

Choline is an essential nutrient and can also be obtained by de novo synthesis via an oestrogen responsive pathway. Choline can be oxidised to the methyl donor betaine, with short-term supplementation reported to lower plasma total homocysteine (tHcy); however, the effects of longer-term choline supplementation are less clear. We investigated the effect of choline supplementation on plasma concentrations of free choline, betaine and tHcy and B-vitamin status in postmenopausal women, a group more susceptible to low choline status. We also assessed whether supplementation altered plasma lipid profiles. In this randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, forty-two healthy postmenopausal women received 1 g choline per d (as choline bitartrate), or an identical placebo supplement with their habitual diet. Fasting blood samples were collected at baseline, week 6 and week 12. Administration of choline increased median choline and betaine concentrations in plasma, with significant effects evident after 6 weeks of supplementation (P<0·001) and remaining significant at 12 weeks (P<0·001); no effect was observed on folate status or on plasma lipids. Choline supplementation induced a median (25th, 75th percentile) change in plasma tHcy concentration at week 6 of -0·9 (-1·6, 0·2) μmol, a change which, when compared to that observed in the placebo group 0·6 (-0·4, 1·9) μmol, approached statistical significance (P=0·058). Choline supplementation at a dose of 1 g/d significantly increases the circulating concentration of free choline, and can also significantly increase the concentration of the methyl donor, betaine, thereby potentially enhancing the betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase-mediated remethylation of tHcy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S000711451100674XDOI Listing
October 2012

An evaluation of vitamin D status in individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Proc Nutr Soc 2011 Nov 24;70(4):399-407. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multi-system inflammatory disease where genetic susceptibility coupled with largely undefined environmental factors is reported to underlie the aetiology of the disease. One such factor is low vitamin D status. The primary source of vitamin D is endogenous synthesis following exposure of the skin to UVB light. Photosensitivity, sunlight avoidance and the use of sun protection factor in combination with medications prescribed to treat the symptoms of the disease, puts SLE patients at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. Decreased conversion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to the metabolically active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, is possible, due to renal impairment common in SLE putting additional stress on vitamin D metabolism. The majority of studies have identified low 25-hydroxyvitamin D in SLE patients, albeit using varying cut-offs (<25 to <80 nmol/l). Of these studies, fifteen have investigated a link between status and disease activity with conflicting results. Variation with disease activity index measures used alongside methodological limitations within the study design may partially explain these findings. This review discusses the importance of optimal vitamin D status in SLE, critically evaluates research carried out to date that has investigated vitamin D in SLE, and highlights the need for a well-designed observational study that controls for diet, medication use, dietary supplements, UV exposure and seasonality, that uses sensitive methods for measuring vitamin D status and disease activity in SLE to conclusively establish the role of vitamin D in SLE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0029665111001613DOI Listing
November 2011

Effect of adiposity on vitamin D status and the 25-hydroxycholecalciferol response to supplementation in healthy young and older Irish adults.

Br J Nutr 2012 Jan 28;107(1):126-34. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK.

There is increasing epidemiological evidence linking sub-optimal vitamin D status with overweight and obesity. Although increasing BMI and adiposity have also been negatively associated with the change in vitamin D status following supplementation, results have been equivocal. The aim of this randomised, placebo-controlled study was to investigate the associations between anthropometric measures of adiposity and the wintertime serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25(OH)D) response to 15 μg cholecalciferol per d in healthy young and older Irish adults. A total of 110 young adults (20-40 years) and 102 older adults ( ≥ 64 years) completed the 22-week intervention with >85 % compliance. The change in 25(OH)D from baseline was calculated. Anthropometric measures of adiposity taken at baseline included height, weight and waist circumference (WC), along with skinfold thickness measurements to estimate fat mass (FM). FM was subsequently expressed as FM (kg), FM (%), FM index (FMI (FM kg/height m2)) and as a percentage ratio to fat-free mass (FFM). In older adults, vitamin D status was inversely associated with BMI (kg/m2), WC (cm), FM (kg and %), FMI (kg/m2) and FM:FFM (%) at baseline (r - 0·33, - 0·36, - 0·33, - 0·30, - 0·33 and - 0·27, respectively, all P values < 0·01). BMI in older adults was also negatively associated with the change in 25(OH)D following supplementation (β - 1·27, CI - 2·37, - 0·16, P = 0·026); however, no such associations were apparent in younger adults. Results suggest that adiposity may need to be taken into account when determining an adequate wintertime dietary vitamin D intake for healthy older adults residing at higher latitudes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114511002662DOI Listing
January 2012