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Concept: Olive


BACKGROUND: Alternate bearing is a widespread phenomenon among crop plants, defined as the tendency of certain fruit trees to produce a high-yield crop one year (“on-year”), followed by a low-yield or even no crop the following year (“off-year”). Several factors may affect the balance between such developmental phase-transition processes. Among them are the microRNA (miRNA), being gene-expression regulators that have been found to be involved as key determinants in several physiological processes. RESULTS: Six olive (Olea europaea L. cv. Ayvalik variety) small RNA libraries were constructed from fruits (ripe and unripe) and leaves (“on year” and “off year” leaves in July and in November, respectively) and sequenced by high-throughput Illumina sequencing. The RNA was retrotranscribed and sequenced using the high-throughput Illumina platform. Bioinformatics analyses of 93,526,915 reads identified 135 conserved miRNA, belonging to 22 miRNA families in the olive. In addition, 38 putative novel miRNAs were discovered in the datasets. Expression of olive tree miRNAs varied greatly among the six libraries, indicating the contribution of diverse miRNA in balancing between reproductive and vegetative phases. Predicted targets of miRNA were categorized into 108 process ontology groups with significance abundance. Among those, potential alternate bearing-associated processes were found, such as development, hormone-mediated signaling and organ morphogenesis. The KEGG analyses revealed that the miRNA-targeted genes are involved in seven main pathways, belonging to carbohydrate metabolism and hormone signal-transduction pathways. CONCLUSION: A comprehensive study on olive miRNA related to alternate bearing was performed. Regulation of miRNA under different developmental phases and tissues indicated that control of nutrition and hormone, together with flowering processes had a noteworthy impact on the olive tree alternate bearing. Our results also provide significant data on the miRNA-fruit development interaction and advance perspectives in the miRNA profile of the olive tree.

Concepts: Gene, RNA, MicroRNA, Fruit, Olive, Oleaceae, Olea


The traditional Mediterranean diet (MD) is associated with long life and lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease and cancers. The main components of this diet include high intake of fruit, vegetables, red wine, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and fish, low intake of dairy and red meat. Olive oil has gained support as a key effector of health benefits and there is evidence that this relates to the polyphenol content. Olive leaf extract (OLE) contains a higher quantity and variety of polyphenols than those found in EVOO. There are also important structural differences between polyphenols from olive leaf and those from olive fruit that may improve the capacity of OLE to enhance health outcomes. Olive polyphenols have been claimed to play an important protective role in cancer and other inflammation-related diseases. Both inflammatory and cancer cell models have shown that olive leaf polyphenols are anti-inflammatory and protect against DNA damage initiated by free radicals. The various bioactive properties of olive leaf polyphenols are a plausible explanation for the inhibition of progression and development of cancers. The pathways and signaling cascades manipulated include the NF-κB inflammatory response and the oxidative stress response, but the effects of these bioactive components may also result from their action as a phytoestrogen. Due to the similar structure of the olive polyphenols to oestrogens, these have been hypothesized to interact with oestrogen receptors, thereby reducing the prevalence and progression of hormone related cancers. Evidence for the protective effect of olive polyphenols for cancer in humans remains anecdotal and clinical trials are required to substantiate these claims idea. This review aims to amalgamate the current literature regarding bioavailability and mechanisms involved in the potential anti-cancer action of olive leaf polyphenols.

Concepts: Disease, Antioxidant, Olive, Polyphenol antioxidant, Olive oil, Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, Olive leaf


The Mediterranean olive tree (Olea europaea subsp. europaea) was one of the first trees to be domesticated and is currently of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil. The molecular bases underlying the phenotypic differences among domesticated cultivars, or between domesticated olive trees and their wild relatives, remain poorly understood. Both wild and cultivated olive trees have 46 chromosomes (2n).

Concepts: Fruit, Olive, Mediterranean climate, Olive oil, Greece, Mediterranean Basin, Olive leaf, Oleaceae


Ash trees (genus Fraxinus, family Oleaceae) are widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but are being devastated in Europe by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, causing ash dieback, and in North America by the herbivorous beetle Agrilus planipennis. Here we sequence the genome of a low-heterozygosity Fraxinus excelsior tree from Gloucestershire, UK, annotating 38,852 protein-coding genes of which 25% appear ash specific when compared with the genomes of ten other plant species. Analyses of paralogous genes suggest a whole-genome duplication shared with olive (Olea europaea, Oleaceae). We also re-sequence 37 F. excelsior trees from Europe, finding evidence for apparent long-term decline in effective population size. Using our reference sequence, we re-analyse association transcriptomic data, yielding improved markers for reduced susceptibility to ash dieback. Surveys of these markers in British populations suggest that reduced susceptibility to ash dieback may be more widespread in Great Britain than in Denmark. We also present evidence that susceptibility of trees to H. fraxineus is associated with their iridoid glycoside levels. This rapid, integrated, multidisciplinary research response to an emerging health threat in a non-model organism opens the way for mitigation of the epidemic.

Concepts: Gene, Organism, Virus, Genome, Olive, Fraxinus, Oleaceae, Fraxinus excelsior


Although some studies have reported potential associations of dietary patterns with depression risk, a consistent perspective hasn’t been estimated to date. Therefore, we conducted this meta-analysis to evaluate the relation between dietary patterns and the risk of depression. A literature research was conducted searching MEDLINE and EMBASE databases up to September 2016. In total, 21 studies from ten countries met the inclusion criteria and were included in the present meta-analysis. A dietary pattern characterized by a high intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression. A dietary pattern characterized by a high consumption of red and/or processed meat, refined grains, sweets, high-fat dairy products, butter, potatoes and high-fat gravy, and low intakes of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of depression. The results of this meta-analysis suggest that healthy pattern may decrease the risk of depression, whereas western-style may increase the risk of depression. However, more randomized controlled trails and cohort studies are urgently required to confirm this findings.

Concepts: Nutrition, Mathematics, Milk, Cereal, Fruit, Tomato, Olive, Whole grain


Recent studies show that the elderly have increased oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defense systems. Our study aims to evaluate the effects of daily consumption of EVOO in the healthy institutionalized elderly. We studied anthropometric, biochemical and antioxidant parameters in 62 subjects aged 65-96 years after a 6-week daily intake of polyphenol-rich EVOO with high oleuropein derivative contents. Subjects were divided into a control group (CG) who maintained their dietary habits (n=39) and an olive group (OG) who consumed EVOO as the only added fat, plus a daily dose of 50ml (n=23). We found a significant reduction of total cholesterol (TC), HDL, LDL and TGs in OG subjects and a significant increase of HDL levels. There was no significant variation in the CG parameters. In OG the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in plasma increased with significant differences over CG. Plasma hydroxytyrosol (OH-Tyr) concentration showed a significant increase after EVOO intervention. Daily consumption of EVOO was found to have positive effects on lipid profiles, OH-Tyr levels and TAC. The results also show a significant increase of catalase (CAT) in erythrocytes and a decrease (p<0.05) in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GH-PX) activity after EVOO intake. To our knowledge, no other study has examined the effects of EVOO consumption on biochemical parameters, antioxidant capacity and antioxidant enzyme activity in healthy elderly subjects. In conclusion, our results show that nutritional intervention with EVOO improves antioxidant status in healthy elderly people.

Concepts: Nutrition, Death, Antioxidant, Superoxide dismutase, Olive, Olive oil, Hydroxytyrosol, Oleuropein


Olive plant leaves (Olea europaea L.) have been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat diabetes, but there are very limited data examining the effects of olive polyphenols on glucose homeostasis in humans.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Fern, Epidermis, Plant morphology, Olive


The use of the products derived from the olive tree on human health dates back centuries. In several civilizations, the olive tree had and still has a very strong cultural and religious symbolism. Notably, the official seal and emblem of the World Health Organization features the rod of Asclepius over a world map surrounded by olive tree branches, chosen as a symbol of peace and health. Recently, accumulating experimental, clinical and epidemiological data have provided support to the traditional beliefs of the beneficial effect provided by olive derivates. In particular, the polyphenols present in olive leaves, olives, virgin (unrefined) olive oil and olive mill waste are potent antioxidant and radical scavengers with anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Here, we review the positive impact on human health of oleuropein, the most prevalent polyphenol present in olives. In addition, we provide data collected in our laboratory on the role of oleuropein in counteracting lipid accumulation in a mouse model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Olive, Olive oil, Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, Olive leaf, Olives


In the present article, ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) of polyphenols from agricultural and industrial waste of olive oil and table oil productions, olive tree (Olea europaea) leaves were investigated. The aim of the study is to examine the extraction parameters such as solvent concentration (0-100% ethanol (EtOH), v/v), the ratio of solid to solvent (25-50mg/mL) and extraction time (20-60 min), and to obtain the best possible combinations of these parameters through response surface methodology (RSM). The extract yield was stated as mg extract per g of dried leaf (DL). Total phenolic content was expressed in gallic acid equivalent (GAE) per g of dried leaf. Free radical scavenging activity for the antioxidant capacity was tested by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH) radical. The second order polynomial model gave a satisfactory description of the experimental data. 201.2158 mg extract/g DL, 25.0626 mg GAE/g DL, and 95.5610% in respect to inhibition of DPPH radical were predicted at the optimum operating conditions (500 mg solid to 10 mL solvent ratio, 60 min of extraction time and 50% EtOH composition), respectively.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Olive, Medicinal plants, Olive oil, Oleuropein, Olive leaf, Oleaceae, Olives


Over the past decade, intense focus has been dedicated on investigating processes involved in the proteolysis of amyloid precursor protein (AβPP) and β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide metabolism, as possible targets for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) therapy. To this goal, considerable research has been targeted on potential therapeutic use of compounds promoting non-amyloidogenic processing of AβPP. One of these compounds, oleuropein, a polyphenol constituent of extra virgin olive oil exhibiting a wide range of pharmacological properties, was shown to interact non-covalently with Aβ, an interaction that might be related to a potential protective role of oleuropein against Aβ aggregation. In the present study, it was demonstrated that oleuropein treatment of HEK293 cells stably transfected with the isoform 695 of human AβPP (APP695) leads to markedly elevated levels of sAPPα and to significant reduction of Aβ oligomers. These effects were associated with increased activity of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), whereas no significant alterations in the expression of secretases TACE, ADAM-10 or BACE-1 were observed. Similar results were obtained using the human neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-SH. The experimental data reveal an anti-amyloidogenic effect of oleuropein and suggest a possible protective role for oleuropein against AD, extending the spectrum of beneficial properties of this naturally occurring polyphenol.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Protein, Antioxidant, Cell culture, Peptide, Olive, Olive oil, Oleuropein