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Special Issue "Phytochemicals in Health and Disease"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Francesca Giampieri

Department of Odontostomatologic and Specialized Clinical Sciences, Sez-Biochimica, Faculty of Medicine, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Ranieri 65, 60100 Ancona, Italy
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Interests: nutrition; health; bioactive compounds; polyphenols; antioxidants; free radicals; oxidative stress; aging; mitochodrial functionality; apoptosis; strawberry, honey

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few years, the potential role of dietary phytochemicals in the promotion of human health and in the prevention of chronic diseases has generated interest among worldwide researchers. It is widely accepted that the consumption of natural compounds, such as phytochemicals, confers protection against inflammation, oxidative stress, metabolic dysregulation and vascular dysfunction, reducing several risk factors for non-communicable pathologies, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological diseases and certain types of cancer. Nonetheless, many aspects remain to be still elucidated, such as the evaluation of their bioavailability and bioacessibility, the interaction with gut microbiota or the modulation of molecular mechanisms involved in cellular functions and cellular death. Based on these premises, there is an urgent need of studies evaluating the effects of dietary bioactive compounds from different fields of knowledge.

The main aim of the Special Issue on "Phytochemicals in Health and Disease" is to be an open forum where researchers may share their investigations and findings in this promising field and, thanks to the open access platform, increase their visibility and the chances to interact with industries and the production systems. Contributions to this issue, in the form of original research, both in vitro and in vivo, or review articles, may cover all aspects of phytochemicals; studies with multidisciplinary input are particularly welcome.

Dr. Francesca Giampieri
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • polyphenols
  • bioactive compounds
  • functional foods
  • medicinal products
  • health
  • disease prevention
  • bioavailability
  • bioaccesibility
  • molecular targets
  • gut microbiota
  • inflammation
  • oxidative stress
  • vascular dysfunction
  • aging
  • mitochondrial functionality
  • apoptosis

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Momordica charantia Ethanol Extract Attenuates H2O2-Induced Cell Death by Its Antioxidant and Anti-Apoptotic Properties in Human Neuroblastoma SK-N-MC Cells
Nutrients 2018, 10(10), 1368; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101368
Received: 10 September 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 22 September 2018 / Published: 24 September 2018
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Abstract
Oxidative stress, which is induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS), causes cellular damage which contributes to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Momordica charantia (MC), a traditional medicinal plant, is known to have a variety of health benefits, such as antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant
[...] Read more.
Oxidative stress, which is induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS), causes cellular damage which contributes to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Momordica charantia (MC), a traditional medicinal plant, is known to have a variety of health benefits, such as antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. However, it is unknown whether MC has protective effects against oxidative stress-induced neuronal cell death. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential action of MC on oxidative stress induced by H2O2. First, we tested whether the pretreatment of Momordica charantia ethanol extract (MCEE) attenuates H2O2-induced cell death in human neuroblastoma SK-N-MC cells. MCEE pretreatment significantly improved cell viability and apoptosis that deteriorated by H2O2. Further, MCEE ameliorated the imbalance between intracellular ROS production and removal through the enhancement of the intracellular antioxidant system. Intriguingly, the inhibition of apoptosis was followed by the blockage of mitochondria-dependent cell death cascades and suppression of the phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling (MAPKs) pathway by MCEE. Taken together, MCEE was shown to be effective in protecting against H2O2-induced cell death through its antioxidant and anti-apoptotic properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Platycodon grandiflorum Saponins Ameliorate Cisplatin-Induced Acute Nephrotoxicity through the NF-κB-Mediated Inflammation and PI3K/Akt/Apoptosis Signaling Pathways
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1328; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091328
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
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Abstract
Although cisplatin is a potent chemotherapeutic agent against cancers, its clinical application is seriously limited by its severe side effects of nephrotoxicity. Previous studies reported that saponins isolated from the roots of Platycodon grandiflorum (PGS) exerted protective effects in various animal models of
[...] Read more.
Although cisplatin is a potent chemotherapeutic agent against cancers, its clinical application is seriously limited by its severe side effects of nephrotoxicity. Previous studies reported that saponins isolated from the roots of Platycodon grandiflorum (PGS) exerted protective effects in various animal models of renal injury, with no confirmation on cisplatin-induced injury. This study was designed to investigate the protective effect of PGS (15 and 30 mg/kg) on cisplatin-induced kidney injury in mice. The levels of serum creatinine (CRE) and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and renal histopathology demonstrated the protective effect of PGS against cisplatin-induced kidney injury. PGS exerted anti-inflammation effects via suppressing nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation and alleviating the cisplatin-induced increase in inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in kidney tissues. The expressions of phosphorylation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B and its downstream apoptotic factors, such as Bcl-2 and caspase families were regulated by PGS in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, PGS exerted kidney protection effects against cisplatin-induced kidney injury by inhibiting the activation of NF-κB and regulating PI3K/Akt/apoptosis signaling pathways in mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Acute Epigallocatechin 3 Gallate (EGCG) Supplementation Delays Gastric Emptying in Healthy Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081122
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: Epigallocatechin 3 Gallate (EGCG) appears to act in appetite control through hormonal modulation. However, there is a lack of elucidation of EGCG’s action mechanisms, especially in humans. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of acute EGCG supplementation
[...] Read more.
Background: Epigallocatechin 3 Gallate (EGCG) appears to act in appetite control through hormonal modulation. However, there is a lack of elucidation of EGCG’s action mechanisms, especially in humans. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of acute EGCG supplementation on gastric emptying and its relation to blood hormones, glucose and appetite perceptions in healthy women. Methods: 22 healthy adult women were included in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. On two separate occasions, 1 week apart from each other, we offered 800 mg of corn starch (placebo) or 752 mg of EGCG. Appetite was assessed through gastric emptying; perceptions of hunger, desire to eat and satiation; and plasma insulin, adiponectin, leptin and glucose concentrations. The evaluations were carried out in fasting, 30, 90 and 150 min after supplementation. Results: EGCG supplementation induced higher relative gastric volume at 30 and 90 min. Satiation at 90 min was higher in the EGCG group. Adiponectin concentrations at 150 min were higher with EGCG, but no difference was found for glucose, insulin and leptin concentrations. Conclusions: Acute EGCG supplementation is able to delay gastric emptying in healthy women to a small, but statistically significant extent. This study was registered at the Brazilian Registry of Clinical Trials (ReBEC) as RBR-9svwrv. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Discovering Health Benefits of Phytochemicals with Integrated Analysis of the Molecular Network, Chemical Properties and Ethnopharmacological Evidence
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081042
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1621 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Identifying the health benefits of phytochemicals is an essential step in drug and functional food development. While many in vitro screening methods have been developed to identify the health effects of phytochemicals, there is still room for improvement because of high cost and
[...] Read more.
Identifying the health benefits of phytochemicals is an essential step in drug and functional food development. While many in vitro screening methods have been developed to identify the health effects of phytochemicals, there is still room for improvement because of high cost and low productivity. Therefore, researchers have alternatively proposed in silico methods, primarily based on three types of approaches; utilizing molecular, chemical or ethnopharmacological information. Although each approach has its own strength in analyzing the characteristics of phytochemicals, previous studies have not considered them all together. Here, we apply an integrated in silico analysis to identify the potential health benefits of phytochemicals based on molecular analysis and chemical properties as well as ethnopharmacological evidence. From the molecular analysis, we found an average of 415.6 health effects for 591 phytochemicals. We further investigated ethnopharmacological evidence of phytochemicals and found that on average 129.1 (31%) of the predicted health effects had ethnopharmacological evidence. Lastly, we investigated chemical properties to confirm whether they are orally bio-available, drug available or effective on certain tissues. The evaluation results indicate that the health effects can be predicted more accurately by cooperatively considering the molecular analysis, chemical properties and ethnopharmacological evidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Volatile Terpenes and Brain Function: Investigation of the Cognitive and Mood Effects of Mentha × Piperita L. Essential Oil with In Vitro Properties Relevant to Central Nervous System Function
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1029; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081029
Received: 12 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: Extracts of several members of the monoterpene-rich Lamiaceae sub-family Nepetoideae, including those from the Salvia (sage), Melissa (Lemon balm) and Rosmarinus (rosemary) genera, evince cognitive and mood effects in humans that are potentially related to their effects on cholinergic and
[...] Read more.
Background: Extracts of several members of the monoterpene-rich Lamiaceae sub-family Nepetoideae, including those from the Salvia (sage), Melissa (Lemon balm) and Rosmarinus (rosemary) genera, evince cognitive and mood effects in humans that are potentially related to their effects on cholinergic and GABAergic neurotransmission. To date, despite promising in vitro properties, the cognitive and mood effects of the closely related Mentha spicata (spearmint) and Mentha piperita (peppermint) remain unexplored. This study therefore assessed the human cognitive/mood effects of the M. spicata/piperita essential oil with the most promising, brain-relevant in vitro properties according to pre-trial in vitro screening. Design: Organic spearmint and peppermint (Mentha spicata/piperita) essential oils were pre-screened for neurotransmitter receptor binding and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, balanced cross-over study, 24 participants (mean age 25.2 years) consumed single doses of encapsulated placebo and 50 µL and 100 µL of the most promising essential oil (peppermint with nicotinic/GABAA receptor binding and AChE inhibitory properties, that increased calcium influx in a CAD cell neuronal model). Psychological functioning was assessed with mood scales and a range of standardised, cognitively demanding tasks pre-dose and at 1, 3 and 6 h post-dose. Results: The highest (100 µL) dose of essential oil improved performance on the cognitively demanding Rapid Visual Information Processing task (RVIP) at 1 h and 3 h post-dose and both doses attenuated fatigue and improved performance of the Serial 3 s subtraction task at 3 h post-dose. Conclusion: Peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil with high levels of menthol/menthone and characteristic in vitro cholinergic inhibitory, calcium regulatory and GABAA/nicotinic receptor binding properties, beneficially modulated performance on demanding cognitive tasks and attenuated the increase in mental fatigue associated with extended cognitive task performance in healthy adults. Future investigations should consider investigating higher doses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Aqueous Extract of Pepino (Solanum muriactum Ait) Leaves Ameliorate Lipid Accumulation and Oxidative Stress in Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Nutrients 2018, 10(7), 931; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10070931
Received: 15 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Chronic alcohol intake leads to alcoholic fatty liver. The pathogenesis of alcoholic fatty liver is related to abnormal lipid accumulation, oxidative stress, endotoxins, and cytokines. Solanum muricatum Ait. (Pepino) is a plant food commonly cultivated in the Penghu island, Taiwan. Previous studies indicated
[...] Read more.
Chronic alcohol intake leads to alcoholic fatty liver. The pathogenesis of alcoholic fatty liver is related to abnormal lipid accumulation, oxidative stress, endotoxins, and cytokines. Solanum muricatum Ait. (Pepino) is a plant food commonly cultivated in the Penghu island, Taiwan. Previous studies indicated that the aqueous extract of pepino was able to attenuate diabetic progression via its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the mechanisms of the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of pepino leaf in preventing alcoholic fatty liver remain unknown. In this study, Lieber–DeCarli ethanol-containing liquid diet was used to induce alcoholic hepatic injury in C57BL/6 mice. The hepatoprotective effects and the related mechanisms of aqueous extract of pepino leaf (AEPL) were examined. Our results showed that 2% AEPL treatments protected the liver from ethanol-induced injury through reducing serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) (all p < 0.05). AEPL had the effects in improving the ethanol-induced lipid accumulation in mice under histological examination. Molecular data indicated that the anti-lipid accumulation effect of AEPL might be mediated via inducing hepatic levels of phospho-adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (p-AMPK) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α, and reducing the expressions of hepatic lipogenic enzymes, including sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP)-1c, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), and fatty acid synthase (FAS) (all p < 0.05). AEPL also decreased hepatic levels of thiobarbituric acid relative substances (TBARS), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and interleukin (IL)-6, as well as the expression of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) (all p < 0.05). Moreover, AEPL significantly elevated the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione (GSH) content compared to the ethanol-fed group (all p < 0.05). Our present study suggests that AEPL could protect the liver against ethanol-induced oxidative injury and lipid accumulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Caffeic Acid Targets AMPK Signaling and Regulates Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle Anaplerosis while Metformin Downregulates HIF-1α-Induced Glycolytic Enzymes in Human Cervical Squamous Cell Carcinoma Lines
Nutrients 2018, 10(7), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10070841
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 23 June 2018 / Accepted: 25 June 2018 / Published: 28 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2834 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The small molecules, natural antioxidant Caffeic Acid (trans-3,4-Dihydroxycinnamic acid CA) and anti-diabetic drug Metformin (Met), activate 5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and interfere with metabolic reprogramming in human cervical squamous carcinoma cells. Here, to gain more insight into the ability of CA, Met
[...] Read more.
The small molecules, natural antioxidant Caffeic Acid (trans-3,4-Dihydroxycinnamic acid CA) and anti-diabetic drug Metformin (Met), activate 5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and interfere with metabolic reprogramming in human cervical squamous carcinoma cells. Here, to gain more insight into the ability of CA, Met and the combination of both compounds to impair aerobic glycolysis (the “Warburg effect”) and disrupt bioenergetics of cancer cells, we employed the cervical tumor cell lines C-4I and HTB-35/SiHa. In epithelial C-4I cells derived from solid tumors, CA alleviated glutamine anaplerosis by downregulation of Glutaminase (GLS) and Malic Enzyme 1 (ME1), which resulted in the reduction of NADPH levels. CA treatment of the cells altered tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle supplementation with pyruvate via Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex (PDH), increased ROS formation and enhanced cell death. Additionally, CA and CA/Met evoked intracellular energetic stress, which was followed by activation of AMPK and the impairment of unsaturated FA de novo synthesis. In invasive HTB-35 cells, Met inhibited Hypoxia-inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1α) and suppressed the expression of the proteins involved in the “Warburg effect”, such as glucose transporters (GLUT1, GLUT3) and regulatory enzymes of glycolytic pathway Hexokinase 2 (HK2), 6-Phosphofructo-2-Kinase/Fructose-2,6-Biphosphatase 4 (PFKFB4), Pyruvate Kinase (PKM) and Lactate Dehydrogenase A (LDH). Met suppressed the expression of c-Myc, BAX and cyclin-D1 (CCND1) and evoked apoptosis in HTB-35 cells. In conclusion, both small molecules CA and Met are capable of disrupting energy homeostasis, regulating oxidative metabolism/glycolysis in cervical tumor cells in regard to specific metabolic phenotype of the cells. CA and Met may provide a promising approach in the prevention of cervical cancer progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Protective Effects of Ellagitannin-Rich Strawberry Extracts on Biochemical and Metabolic Disturbances in Rats Fed a Diet High in Fructose
Nutrients 2018, 10(4), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10040445
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
The present study compares the effects of two dietary strawberry extracts rich in monomeric (ME) or dimeric (DE) ellagitannins (ETs) on gastrointestinal, blood and tissue biomarkers in Wistar rats fed high-fructose diets. Both strawberry extracts beneficially affect the antioxidant status and lipid profile
[...] Read more.
The present study compares the effects of two dietary strawberry extracts rich in monomeric (ME) or dimeric (DE) ellagitannins (ETs) on gastrointestinal, blood and tissue biomarkers in Wistar rats fed high-fructose diets. Both strawberry extracts beneficially affect the antioxidant status and lipid profile of the liver and serum. The ME extract shows a greater ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation in kidneys, more effectively decreases serum and liver triglycerides, and exerts greater anti-inflammatory effects in blood serum than the DE extract. The DE extract significantly reduces the activity of microbial enzymes in the cecum. These effects might be associated with higher cecum and urine levels of ET metabolites in rats fed with ME than in rats fed with DE. In conclusion, the diet-induced fructose-related disturbances observed in biochemical parameters are regulated by both extracts; nevertheless, the beneficial effects of the ME extract are mostly associated with systemic parameters, while those of the DE extracts are associated with local microbial activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Chemical Composition and Biological Activities of Essential Oils of Curcuma Species
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1196; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091196
Received: 4 August 2018 / Revised: 27 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
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Abstract
Members of the genus Curcuma L. have been used in traditional medicine for centuries for treating gastrointestinal disorders, pain, inflammatory conditions, wounds, and for cancer prevention and antiaging, among others. Many of the biological activities of Curcuma species can be attributed to nonvolatile
[...] Read more.
Members of the genus Curcuma L. have been used in traditional medicine for centuries for treating gastrointestinal disorders, pain, inflammatory conditions, wounds, and for cancer prevention and antiaging, among others. Many of the biological activities of Curcuma species can be attributed to nonvolatile curcuminoids, but these plants also produce volatile chemicals. Essential oils, in general, have shown numerous beneficial effects for health maintenance and treatment of diseases. Essential oils from Curcuma spp., particularly C. longa, have demonstrated various health-related biological activities and several essential oil companies have recently marketed Curcuma oils. This review summarizes the volatile components of various Curcuma species, the biological activities of Curcuma essential oils, and potential safety concerns of Curcuma essential oils and their components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessReview Anti-Cancer Natural Products and Their Bioactive Compounds Inducing ER Stress-Mediated Apoptosis: A Review
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081021
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 4 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer is the second biggest cause of death worldwide. Despite a number of studies being conducted, the effective mechanism for treating cancer has not yet been fully understood. The tumor-microenvironment such as hypoxia, low nutrients could disturb function of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to
[...] Read more.
Cancer is the second biggest cause of death worldwide. Despite a number of studies being conducted, the effective mechanism for treating cancer has not yet been fully understood. The tumor-microenvironment such as hypoxia, low nutrients could disturb function of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to maintain cellular homeostasis, ultimately leading to the accumulation of unfolded proteins in ER, so-called ER stress. The ER stress has a close relation with cancer. ER stress initiates unfolded protein response (UPR) to re-establish ER homeostasis as an adaptive pathway in cancer. However, persistent ER stress triggers the apoptotic pathway. Therefore, blocking the adaptive pathway of ER stress or facilitating the apoptotic pathway could be an anti-cancer strategy. Recently, natural products and their derivatives have been reported to have anti-cancer effects via ER stress. Here, we address mechanisms of ER stress-mediated apoptosis and highlight strategies for cancer therapy by utilizing ER stress. Furthermore, we summarize anti-cancer activity of the natural products via ER stress in six major types of cancers globally (lung, breast, colorectal, gastric, prostate and liver cancer). This review deepens the understanding of ER stress mechanisms in major cancers as well as the suppressive impact of natural products against cancers via ER stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals in Health and Disease)
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