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Concept: Vitamin C


This study was conducted with the objective of testing the hypothesis that tomato fruits from organic farming accumulate more nutritional compounds, such as phenolics and vitamin C as a consequence of the stressing conditions associated with farming system. Growth was reduced in fruits from organic farming while titratable acidity, the soluble solids content and the concentrations in vitamin C were respectively +29%, +57% and +55% higher at the stage of commercial maturity. At that time, the total phenolic content was +139% higher than in the fruits from conventional farming which seems consistent with the more than two times higher activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) we observed throughout fruit development in fruits from organic farming. Cell membrane lipid peroxidation (LPO) degree was 60% higher in organic tomatoes. SOD activity was also dramatically higher in the fruits from organic farming. Taken together, our observations suggest that tomato fruits from organic farming experienced stressing conditions that resulted in oxidative stress and the accumulation of higher concentrations of soluble solids as sugars and other compounds contributing to fruit nutritional quality such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds.

Concepts: Protein, Agriculture, Antioxidant, Vitamin C, Fruit, Tomato, Vegetable, Organic farming


Glucose and glucose metabolites are able to adversely modify proteins through a non-enzymatic reaction called glycation, which is associated with the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and is a characteristic of the hyperglycaemia induced by diabetes. However, the precise protein glycation profile that characterises AD is poorly defined and the molecular link between hyperglycaemia and AD is unknown. In this study, we define an early glycation profile of human brain using fluorescent phenylboronate gel electrophoresis and identify early glycation and oxidation of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in AD brain. This modification inhibits MIF enzyme activity and ability to stimulate glial cells. MIF is involved in immune response and insulin regulation, hyperglycaemia, oxidative stress and glycation are all implicated in AD. Our study indicates that glucose modified and oxidised MIF could be a molecular link between hyperglycaemia and the dysregulation of the innate immune system in AD.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Neuron, Molecular biology, Enzyme, Glucose, Innate immune system, Vitamin C


Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) are a widespread disease. Thus, blocking stone formation and finding new therapeutic methods is an important area of study. Diosmin (a major component of the bile) is known to have antioxidant as well as renoprotective effects. The present investigation aimed to evaluate the effect of diosmin on renal tissue protection in rats with ethylene glycol-induced nephrolithiasis.

Concepts: Kidney, Nephrology, Vitamin D, Urinary bladder, Vitamin C, Uric acid, Kidney stone, Oxalate


Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) programs targeted at children aged 6-59 months are implemented in many countries. By improving immune function, vitamin A (VA) reduces mortality associated with measles, diarrhea, and other illnesses. There is currently a debate regarding the relevance of VAS, but amidst the debate, researchers acknowledge that the majority of nationally-representative data on VA status is outdated. To address this data gap and contribute to the debate, we examined data from 82 countries implementing VAS programs, identified other VA programs, and assessed the recentness of national VA deficiency (VAD) data. We found that two-thirds of the countries explored either have no VAD data or data that were >10 years old (i.e., measured before 2006), which included twenty countries with VAS coverage ≥70%. Fifty-one VAS programs were implemented in parallel with at least one other VA intervention, and of these, 27 countries either had no VAD data or data collected in 2005 or earlier. To fill these gaps in VAD data, countries implementing VAS and other VA interventions should measure VA status in children at least every 10 years. At the same time, the coverage of VA interventions can also be measured. We identified three countries that have scaled down VAS, but given the lack of VA deficiency data, this would be a premature undertaking in most countries without appropriate status assessment. While the global debate about VAS is important, more attention should be directed towards individual countries where programmatic decisions are made.

Concepts: Immune system, Measurement, Vitamin, Vitamin C, Implementation, Intervention, Vitamin A, Internet Explorer


The role of the skin microbiota in human health is poorly understood. Here, we identified and characterized a novel antioxidant enzyme produced by the skin microbiota, designated RoxP for radical oxygenase of Propionibacterium acnes. RoxP is uniquely produced by the predominant skin bacterium P. acnes, with no homologs in other bacteria; it is highly expressed and strongly secreted into culture supernatants. We show that RoxP binds heme, reduces free radicals, and can protect molecules from oxidation. Strikingly, RoxP is crucial for the survival of P. acnes in oxic conditions and for skin colonization of P. acnes ex vivo. Taken together, our study strongly suggests that RoxP facilitates P. acnes' survival on human skin, and is an important beneficial factor for the host-commensal interaction. Thus, RoxP is the first described skin microbiota-derived mutualistic factor that potentially can be exploited for human skin protection.

Concepts: Cell, Bacteria, Microbiology, Radical, Skin, Vitamin C, Propionibacterium acnes, Propionibacterium


Thin-film elastomers (elastic polymers) have a number of technologically significant applications ranging from sportswear to medical devices. In this work, we demonstrate that graphene can be used to reinforce 20 micron thin elastomer films, resulting in over 50% increase in elastic modulus at a very low loading of 0.1 wt%, while also increasing the elongation to failure. This loading is below the percolation threshold for electrical conductivity. We demonstrate composites with both graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide, the reduction being undertaken in-situ or ex-situ using a biocompatible reducing agent in ascorbic acid. The ultrathin films were cast by dip moulding. The transparency of the elastomer films allows us to use optical microscopy image and confirm the uniform distribution as well as the conformation of the graphene flakes within the composite.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Hydrogen, Redox, Oxidizing agent, Electrochemistry, Nitrogen, Vitamin C, Reducing agent


Epigenetic memory, in particular DNA methylation, is established during development in differentiating cells and must be erased to create naïve (induced) pluripotent stem cells. The ten-eleven translocation (TET) enzymes can catalyze the oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) and further oxidized derivatives, thereby actively removing this memory. Nevertheless, the mechanism by which the TET enzymes are regulated, and the extent to which they can be manipulated, are poorly understood. Here we report that retinoic acid (RA) or retinol (vitamin A) and ascorbate (vitamin C) act as modulators of TET levels and activity. RA or retinol enhances 5hmC production in naïve embryonic stem cells by activation of TET2 and TET3 transcription, whereas ascorbate potentiates TET activity and 5hmC production through enhanced Fe(2+) recycling, and not as a cofactor as reported previously. We find that both ascorbate and RA or retinol promote the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells synergistically and enhance the erasure of epigenetic memory. This mechanistic insight has significance for the development of cell treatments for regenenerative medicine, and enhances our understanding of how intrinsic and extrinsic signals shape the epigenome.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Epigenetics, Stem cell, Vitamin, Embryonic stem cell, DNA methylation, Vitamin C


Shelf life is an important quality trait for many fruit, including tomatoes. We report that enrichment of anthocyanin, a natural pigment, in tomatoes can significantly extend shelf life. Processes late in ripening are suppressed by anthocyanin accumulation, and susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea, one of the most important postharvest pathogens, is reduced in purple tomato fruit. We show that reduced susceptibility to B. cinerea is dependent specifically on the accumulation of anthocyanins, which alter the spreading of the ROS burst during infection. The increased antioxidant capacity of purple fruit likely slows the processes of overripening. Enhancing the levels of natural antioxidants in tomato provides a novel strategy for extending shelf life by genetic engineering or conventional breeding.

Concepts: Bacteria, Antioxidant, Vitamin C, Fruit, Tomato, Ethylene, Anthocyanin, Raspberry


More than half of human colorectal cancers (CRCs) carry either KRAS or BRAF mutations, and are often refractory to approved targeted therapies. We report that cultured CRC cells harboring KRAS or BRAF mutations are selectively killed when exposed to high levels of vitamin C. This effect is due to increased uptake of the oxidized form of vitamin C, dehydroascorbate (DHA), via the GLUT1 glucose transporter. Increased DHA uptake causes oxidative stress as intracellular DHA is reduced to vitamin C, depleting glutathione. Thus, ROS accumulates and inactivates glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). Inhibiting GAPDH in highly glycolytic KRAS or BRAF mutant cells leads to an energetic crisis and cell death not seen in KRAS and BRAF wild-type cells. High-dose vitamin C impaired tumor growth in Apc/Kras(G12D) mutant mice. These results provide a mechanistic rationale for exploring the therapeutic use of vitamin C for CRCs with KRAS or BRAF mutations.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Cancer, Adenosine triphosphate, Glucose, Redox, Colorectal cancer, Vitamin C, Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate


Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been consumed worldwide for various health-related reasons and some of its benefits have been scientifically evaluated. Medium-chain fatty acids were found to be a potential antidepressant functional food; however, this effect had not been evaluated in VCO, which is rich in polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antistress and antioxidant effects of VCO in vivo, using mice with stress-induced injury. The antistress effect of VCO (administered per os, at a dose of 10 ml/kg body weight) was evaluated using the forced swim test and chronic cold restraint stress models. VCO was able to reduce immobility time and restore oxidative stress in mice post-swim test. Furthermore, mice treated with VCO were found to exhibit higher levels of brain antioxidants, lower levels of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine and reduced weight of the adrenal glands. Consequently, the serum cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose and corticosterone levels were also lower in VCO-treated mice. These results suggest the potential value of VCO as an antistress functional oil.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Antioxidant, Triglyceride, Aldosterone, Vitamin C, Saturated fat