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Concept: Reactive oxygen species


Thirdhand smoke (THS) is the accumulation of secondhand smoke on environmental surfaces. THS is found on the clothing and hair of smokers as well as on surfaces in homes and cars of smokers. Exposure occurs by ingestion, inhalation and dermal absorption. Children living in homes of smokers are at highest risk because they crawl on the floor, touch parents' clothing/hair and household objects. Using mice exposed to THS under conditions that mimic exposure of humans, we show that THS increases cellular oxidative stress by increasing superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) levels while reducing the activity of antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) that break down H2O2 into H2O and O2. This results in lipid peroxidation, protein nitrosylation and DNA damage. Consequences of these cell and molecular changes are hyperglycemia and insulinemia. Indeed, we found reduced levels of insulin receptor, PI3K, AKT, all important molecules in insulin signaling and glucose uptake by cells. To determine whether these effects on THS-induced insulin resistance are due to increase in oxidative stress, we treated mice exposed to THS with the antioxidants N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and alpha-tocopherol (alpha-toc) and showed that the oxidative stress, the molecular damage, and the insulin resistance, were significantly reversed. Conversely, feeding the mice with chow that mimics “western diet”, which is known to increase oxidative stress, while exposing the mice to THS, further increased the oxidative stress and aggravated hyperglycemia and insulinemia. In conclusion, THS exposure results in insulin resistance in the form of non-obese type II diabetes (NODII) through oxidative stress. If confirmed in humans, these studies could have a major impact on how people view exposure to environmental tobacco toxins, in particular to children, elderly and workers in environments where tobacco smoke has taken place.

Concepts: Protein, Antioxidant, Redox, Oxidative stress, Reactive oxygen species, Superoxide dismutase, Hydrogen peroxide, Glutathione


MtDNA mutator mice exhibit marked features of premature aging. We find that these mice treated from age of ≈100 days with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 showed a delayed appearance of traits of aging such as kyphosis, alopecia, lowering of body temperature, body weight loss, as well as ameliorated heart, kidney and liver pathologies. These effects of SkQ1 are suggested to be related to an alleviation of the effects of an enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) level in mtDNA mutator mice: the increased mitochondrial ROS released due to mitochondrial mutations probably interact with polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiolipin, releasing malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal that form protein adducts and thus diminishes mitochondrial functions. SkQ1 counteracts this as it scavenges mitochondrial ROS. As the results, the normal mitochondrial ultrastructure is preserved in liver and heart; the phosphorylation capacity of skeletal muscle mitochondria as well as the thermogenic capacity of brown adipose tissue is also improved. The SkQ1-treated mice live significantly longer (335 versus 290 days). These data may be relevant in relation to treatment of mitochondrial diseases particularly and the process of aging in general.

Concepts: Oxygen, Nutrition, Mitochondrion, Obesity, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Muscle, Ageing


Ionizing radiation-induced oxidative stress is attributed to generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) due to radiolysis of water molecules and is short lived. Persistent oxidative stress has also been observed after radiation exposure and is implicated in the late effects of radiation. The goal of this study was to determine if long-term oxidative stress in freshly isolated mouse intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) is dependent on radiation quality at a dose relevant to fractionated radiotherapy. Mice (C57BL/6J; 6 to 8 weeks; female) were irradiated with 2 Gy of γ-rays, a low-linear energy transfer (LET) radiation, and intestinal tissues and IEC were collected 1 year after radiation exposure. Intracellular ROS, mitochondrial function, and antioxidant activity in IEC were studied by flow cytometry and biochemical assays. Oxidative DNA damage, cell death, and mitogenic activity in IEC were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Effects of γ radiation were compared to (56)Fe radiation (iso-toxic dose: 1.6 Gy; energy: 1000 MeV/nucleon; LET: 148 keV/µm), we used as representative of high-LET radiation, since it’s one of the important sources of high Z and high energy (HZE) radiation in cosmic rays. Radiation quality affected the level of persistent oxidative stress with higher elevation of intracellular ROS and mitochondrial superoxide in high-LET (56)Fe radiation compared to unirradiated controls and γ radiation. NADPH oxidase activity, mitochondrial membrane damage, and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential were greater in (56)Fe-irradiated mice. Compared to γ radiation oxidative DNA damage was higher, cell death ratio was unchanged, and mitotic activity was increased after (56)Fe radiation. Taken together our results indicate that long-term functional dysregulation of mitochondria and increased NADPH oxidase activity are major contributing factors towards heavy ion radiation-induced persistent oxidative stress in IEC with potential for neoplastic transformation.

Concepts: Oxygen, Bacteria, Adenosine triphosphate, Mitochondrion, Cell biology, Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species


Since gastrointestinal mucosa is constantly exposed to reactive oxygen species from various sources, the presence of antioxidants may contribute to the body’s natural defenses against inflammatory diseases. HYPOTHESIS: To define the polyphenols extracted from dried apple peels (DAPP) and determine their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential in the intestine. Caco-2/15 cells were used to study the role of DAPP preventive actions against oxidative stress (OxS) and inflammation induced by iron-ascorbate (Fe/Asc) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), respectively. RESULTS: The combination of HPLC with fluorescence detection, HPLC-ESI-MS TOF and UPLC-ESI-MS/MS QQQ allowed us to characterize the phenolic compounds present in the DAPP (phenolic acids, flavonol glycosides, flavan-3-ols, procyanidins). The addition of Fe/Asc to Caco-2/15 cells induced OxS as demonstrated by the rise in malondialdehyde, depletion of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and alterations in the activity of endogenous antioxidants (SOD, GPx, G-Red). However, preincubation with DAPP prevented Fe/Asc-mediated lipid peroxidation and counteracted LPS-mediated inflammation as evidenced by the down-regulation of cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6), and prostaglandin E2. The mechanisms of action triggered by DAPP induced also a down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 and nuclear factor-κB, respectively. These actions were accompanied by the induction of Nrf2 (orchestrating cellular antioxidant defenses and maintaining redox homeostasis), and PGC-1α (the “master controller” of mitochondrial biogenesis). CONCLUSION: Our findings provide evidence of the capacity of DAPP to reduce OxS and inflammation, two pivotal processes involved in inflammatory bowel diseases.

Concepts: Inflammation, Antioxidant, Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Superoxide dismutase, Quercetin, Prostaglandin


BACKGROUND: This study examined the effects of bovine colostrum on exercise –induced modulation of antioxidant parameters in the skeletal muscles in mice. Adult male BALB/c mice were randomly divided into four groups (control, colostrum alone, exercise and exercise with colostrum) and each group had three subgroups (day 0, 21 and 42). Colostrum groups of mice were given a daily oral supplement of 50 mg/kg body weight of bovine colostrum and the exercise group of mice were made to exercise on the treadmill for 30 minutes per day. Total antioxidants, lipid hydroperoxides, xanthine oxidase and super oxide dismutase level was assayed from the homogenate of hind limb skeletal muscles. RESULTS: Exercise—induced a significant oxidative stress in skeletal muscles as evidenced by the elevated lipid hydroperoxides and xanthine oxidase levels. There was a significant decrease in skeletal muscle total antioxidants and superoxide dismutase levels. Daily colostrum supplement significantly reduced the lipid hydroperoxides and xanthine oxidase enzyme level and increased the total antioxidant levels in the leg muscle. CONCLUSION: Thus, the findings of this study showed that daily bovine colostrum supplementation was beneficial to the skeletal muscle to reduce the oxidant-induced damage during muscular exercise.

Concepts: Metabolism, Antioxidant, Oxidative stress, Reactive oxygen species, Superoxide dismutase, Glycogen, Muscular system, Superoxide


Limited uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation could be beneficial for cells by preventing excessive generation of reactive oxygen species. Typical uncouplers are weak organic acids capable of permeating across membranes with a narrow gap between efficacy and toxicity. Aimed at designing a nontoxic uncoupler, the protonatable amino acid residue Glu was substituted for Val at the N-terminus of the pentadecapeptide gramicidin A (gA). The modified peptide [Glu1]gA exhibited high uncoupling activity in isolated mitochondria, in particular, abolishing membrane potential at the inner mitochondrial membrane with the same or even larger efficacy as gA. With mitochondria in cell culture, the depolarizing activity of [Glu1]gA was observed at concentrations by an order of magnitude lower than those of gA. On the contrary, [Glu1]gA was much less potent in forming proton channels in planar lipid bilayers than gA. Remarkably, at uncoupling concentrations, [Glu1]gA did not alter cell morphology and was nontoxic in MTT test, in contrast to gA showing high toxicity. The difference in the behavior of [Glu1]gA and gA in natural and artificial membranes could be ascribed to increased capability of [Glu1]gA to permeate through membranes and/or redistribute between different membranes. Based on the protective role of mild uncoupling, [Glu1]gA and some other proton-conducting gA analogues may be considered as prototypes of prospective therapeutic agents.

Concepts: Protein, Oxygen, Acid, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Mitochondrion, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species


Clonal growth allows plants to spread horizontally and to establish ramets in sites of contrasting resource status. If ramets remain physiologically integrated, clones in heterogeneous environments can act as cooperative systems - effects of stress on one ramet can be ameliorated by another connected ramet inhabiting benign conditions. But little is known about the effects of patch contrast on physiological integration of clonal plants and no study has addressed its effects on physiological traits like osmolytes, reactive oxygen intermediates and antioxidant enzymes. We examined the effect of physiological integration on survival, growth and stress indicators such as osmolytes, reactive oxygen intermediates (ROIs) and antioxidant enzymes in a clonal plant, Fragaria orientalis, growing in homogenous and heterogeneous environments differing in patch contrast of water availability (1 homogeneous (no contrast) group; 2 low contrast group; 3 high contrast group). Drought stress markedly reduced the survival and growth of the severed ramets of F. orientalis, especially in high contrast treatments. Support from a ramet growing in benign patch considerably reduced drought stress and enhanced growth of ramets in dry patches. The larger the contrast between water availability, the larger the amount of support the depending ramet received from the supporting one. This support strongly affected the growth of the supporting ramet, but not to an extent to cause increase in stress indicators. We also found indication of costs related to maintenance of physiological connection between ramets. Thus, the net benefit of physiological integration depends on the environment and integration between ramets of F. orientalis could be advantageous only in heterogeneous conditions with a high contrast.

Concepts: Oxygen, Antioxidant, Effect, Water, Reactive oxygen species, Heterogeneity, Homogeneity, Clonal colony


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to screen various solvent extracts of whole plant of Torilis leptophylla to display potent antioxidant activity in vitro and in vivo, total phenolic and flavonoid contents in order to find possible sources for future novel antioxidants in food and pharmaceutical formulations. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A detailed study was performed on the antioxidant activity of the methanol extract of whole plant of Torilis leptophylla (TLM) and its derived fractions {n-hexane (TLH), chloroform (TLC) ethyl acetate (TLE) n-butanol (TLB) and residual aqueous fraction (TLA)} by in vitro chemical analyses and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced hepatic injuries (lipid peroxidation and glutathione contents) in male Sprague-Dawley rat. The total yield, total phenolic (TPC) and total flavonoid contents (TFC) of all the fractions were also determined. TLM was also subjected to preliminary phytochemical screening test for various constituents. RESULTS: The total phenolic contents (TPC) (121.9+/-3.1 mg GAE/g extract) of TLM while total flavonoid contents (TFC) of TLE (60.9 +/-2.2 mg RTE/g extract) were found significantly higher as compared to other solvent fractions. Phytochemical screening of TLM revealed the presence of alkaloids, anthraquinones, cardiac glycosides, coumarins, flavonoids, saponins, phlobatannins, tannins and terpenoids. The EC50 values based on the DPPH (41.0+/-1 mug/ml), ABTS (10.0+/-0.9 mug/ml) and phosphomolybdate (10.7+/-2 mug/ml) for TLB, hydroxyl radicals (8.0+/-1 mug/ml) for TLC, superoxide radicals (57.0+/-0.3 mug/ml) for TLM and hydrogen peroxide radicals (68.0+/-2 mug/ml) for TLE were generally lower showing potential antioxidant properties. A significant but marginal positive correlation was found between TPC and EC50 values for DPPH, hydroxyl, phosphomolybdate and ABTS, whereas another weak and positive correlation was determined between TFC and EC50 values for superoxide anion and hydroxyl radicals. Results of in vivo experiment revealed that administration of CCl4 caused a significant increase in lipid peroxidation (TBARS) while decrease in GSH contents of liver. In contrast, TLM (200 mg/kg bw) and silymarin (50 mg/kg bw) co-treatment effectively prevented these alterations and maintained the antioxidant status. CONCLUSION: Data from present results revealed that Torilis leptophylla act as an antioxidant agent due to its free radical scavenging and cytoprotective activity.

Concepts: Oxygen, Antioxidant, Reactive oxygen species, Flavonoid, Chloroform, Methane, Hydroxyl radical, Lipid peroxidation


Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is the causative agent of Lyme disease (LD). Recent studies have shown that recognition of the spirochete is mediated mainly by TLR2 and NOD2. The latter receptor has been associated with the induction of the intracellular degradation process called autophagy. The present study demonstrated for the first time the induction of autophagy by exposure to B. burgdorferi and that autophagy modulates the B. burgdorferi-dependent cytokine production. Human PBMCs treated with autophagy inhibitors showed an increased IL-1β and IL-6 production in response to the exposure of the spirochete, while TNFα production was unchanged. Autophagy induction against B. burgdorferi was dependent on reactive oxygen species (ROS) since cells from patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), which are defective in ROS production, also produced elevated IL-1β. Further, the enhanced production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines was because of the elevated mRNA expression in the absence of autophagy. Our results thus demonstrate the induction of autophagy, which in-turn modulates cytokine production, by B. burgdorferi for the first time.

Concepts: Bacteria, Cytokine, Reactive oxygen species, Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia, Spirochaetes, Spirochaete


The Ayurvedic medicinal system claims Mucuna pruriens (MP) to possess pro-male fertility, aphrodisiac and adaptogenic properties. Some scientific evidence also supports its pro-male fertility properties; however, the mechanism of its action is not yet clear. The present study aimed at demonstrating spermatogenic restorative efficacy of MP and its major constituent L-DOPA (LD), and finding the possible mechanism of action thereof in a rat model.

Concepts: Present, Mitochondrion, Organelle, Reactive oxygen species, Alternative medicine, Cytochrome c, Mucuna pruriens