The present study was conducted in order to (i) characterize the adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) pattern and fatty acids (FAs) intakes and (ii) explore interactions between TNFA -308 G>A polymorphism and adherence to MD and FAs intakes, respectively, on overweight/obesity risk. From 2010 to 2013, 380 healthy women were enrolled, and MD score (MDS) and FAs intakes were evaluated by a Food Frequencies Questionnaire in relation to nutritional status. TNFA -308 G/A polymorphism was characterized using PCR-RFLP. A total of 32.6% of women were overweight or obese. Lower mean MDS values were more observed in the younger age group than in the older age group (3.60 versus 4.45). The risk of being overweight/obese was 3.5-fold increased due to poor adherence to MD and was about twofold increased in less educated women. Furthermore, younger age was associated with poor adherence to MD. No evidence for an independent effect of the polymorphism on overweight/obesity risk was found. There was no evidence of biological interaction from the gene-diet interaction analyses. Young women, less educated and with poor adherence to MD, are a target group for the nutritional interventions that aimed to control the obesity risk, thus improving the adherence to MD and particularly the intake of unsaturated FAs.
The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) 4977-bp deletion is a biomarker of mitochondrial genomic instability. It is frequently detected in a number of sporadic diseases, and it accumulates in many tissues during aging. Folic acid plays an important role in the maintenance of genomic stability in mammals. The aim of the present cross-sectional study was to characterise the levels of the mtDNA deletion in the lymphocytes of healthy young women, taking into account folate intake, red blood cell (RBC) folate levels and the distribution of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene C677T polymorphism. Folate intake was estimated by a food frequency questionnaire. Determination of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and of the mtDNA deletion was performed by real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis. A total of 476 women were enrolled. Low levels of deletion were found (mean ?Ct = 1.24). After multivariate analysis, results did not show any significant relationship between age, smoking habits, pregnancy status, nutritional status, inadequate folate intake, folate deficiency, use of folic acid supplements, MTHFR C677T polymorphism and mtDNA 4977-bp deletions. The lack of association between inadequate folate intake, folate deficiency and mitochondrial genomic instability was confirmed also considering reference values of folate based on DNA damage prevention. Our results indicate that mtDNA 4977-bp deletions are maintained at low levels in lymphocytes of young healthy women despite the wide range of variation of folate intakes and folate status. Future studies, carefully designed to address limits and methodological issues related to variation of this biomarker as an effect of different dietary patterns and of folate status, could provide further insight on the specific mechanisms that are acting in lymphocytes of healthy subjects under observed folate intake.
Modulation of endogenous neurogenesis is regarded as a promising challenge in neuroprotection. In the rat model of hippocampal neurodegeneration obtained by Trimethyltin (TMT) administration (8 mg/kg), characterised by selective pyramidal cell loss, enhanced neurogenesis, seizures and cognitive impairment, we previously demonstrated a proliferative role of exogenous neuropeptide Y (NPY), on dentate progenitors in the early phases of neurodegeneration. To investigate the functional integration of newly-born neurons, here we studied in adult rats the long-term effects of intracerebroventricular administration of NPY (2 µg/2 µl, 4 days after TMT-treatment), which plays an adjuvant role in neurodegeneration and epilepsy. Our results indicate that 30 days after NPY administration the number of new neurons was still higher in TMT+NPY-treated rats than in control+saline group. As a functional correlate of the integration of new neurons into the hippocampal network, long-term potentiation recorded in Dentate Gyrus (DG) in the absence of GABAA receptor blockade was higher in the TMT+NPY-treated group than in all other groups. Furthermore, qPCR analysis of Kruppel-like factor 9, a transcription factor essential for late-phase maturation of neurons in the DG, and of the cyclin-dependent kinase 5, critically involved in the maturation and dendrite extension of newly-born neurons, revealed a significant up-regulation of both genes in TMT+NPY-treated rats compared with all other groups. To explore the early molecular events activated by NPY administration, the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signalling pathway, which participates in the maintenance of the neurogenic hippocampal niche, was evaluated by qPCR 1, 3 and 5 days after NPY-treatment. An early significant up-regulation of Shh expression was detected in TMT+NPY-treated rats compared with all other groups, associated with a modulation of downstream genes. Our data indicate that the neurogenic effect of NPY administration during TMT-induced neurodegeneration involves early Shh pathway activation and results in a functional integration of newly-generated neurons into the local circuit.
Background/Aims: An important public health issue is monitoring folate inadequacy in women of childbearing potential. The aim of the present study was to investigate associations between folate intake, red blood cell (RBC) folate, total homocysteine (tHcy) and the MTHFR 677T allele. Methods: A total of 204 women were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Folate intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire, and RBC folate, tHcy and MTHFR C677T genotype were determined. Results: About half of the women had a decreased RBC folate level (<305 nmol/l) and all were <906 nmol/l, even though 51% of the subjects reported use of supplements. Overall 91.5% had a high Hcy concentration. Notably, younger women, and those with a low level of education, were shown to be at higher risk of inadequate RBC folate levels. Additionally, younger women were also at higher risk of carrying the TT genotype, particularly unfavorable in the setting of a low folate status. Conclusions: Our study revealed significant folate deficiency in our Mediterranean population and higher than ideal Hcy concentrations, thus emphasizing that in these groups an improvement in the folate status is needed via a food-based approach or supplement. Consequently, public health policy strategies aiming at improved supplementation are required.
The effects of intracerebroventricular administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is believed to play an important role in neuroprotection against excitotoxicity and in the modulation of adult neurogenesis, were evaluated in an animal model of hippocampal neurodegeneration and temporal lobe epilepsy represented by trimethyltin (TMT) intoxication. A single TMT injection (8 mg/kg) causes, in the rat brain, massive neuronal death, selectively involving pyramidal neurons, accompanied by glial activation and enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis. Our data indicate that intracerebroventricular administration of exogenous NPY (at the dose of 2 ?g/2 ?L, 4 days after TMT-administration), in adult rats, exerts a protective role in regard to TMT-induced hippocampal damage and a proliferative effect on the hippocampal neurogenic niche through the up-regulation of Bcl-2, Bcl2l1, Bdnf, Sox-2, NeuroD1, Noggin and Doublecortin genes, contributing to delineate more clearly the role of NPY in in vivo neurodegenerative processes.
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