We investigated the vascular responses and the blood pressure reducing effects of different fractions obtained from the methanol extract of Loranthus ferrugineus Roxb. (F. Loranthaceae). By means of solvent-solvent extraction, L. ferrugineus methanol extract (LFME) was successively fractionated with chloroform, ethyl acetate and n-butanol. The ability of these LFME fractions to relax vascular smooth muscle against phenylephrine (PE)- and KCl-induced contractions in isolated rat aortic rings was determined. In another set of experiments, LFME fractions were tested for blood pressure lowering activity in anesthetized adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (250-300 g, 14-18 weeks). The n-butanol fraction of LFME (NBF-LFME) produced a significant concentration-dependent inhibition of PE- and KCl-induced aortic ring contractions compared to other fractions. Moreover, NBF-LFME had a significantly higher relaxant effect against PE- than against high K+-induced contractions. In anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats, NBF-LFME significantly lowered blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner and with a relatively longer duration of action compared to the other fractions. HPLC, UV and IR spectra suggested the presence of terpenoid constituents in both LFME and NBF-LFME. Accordingly, we conclude that NBF-LFME is the most potent fraction producing a concentration-dependent relaxation in vascular smooth muscle in vitro and a dose-dependent blood pressure lowering activity in vivo. The cardiovascular effects of NBF-LFME are most likely attributable to its terpenoid content.
The common variants in the fat mass- and obesity-associated (FTO) gene have been previously found to be associated with obesity in various adult populations. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and linkage disequilibrium (LD) blocks in various regions of the FTO gene are associated with predisposition to obesity in Malaysian Malays. Thirty-one FTO SNPs were genotyped in 587 (158 obese and 429 non-obese) Malaysian Malay subjects. Obesity traits and lipid profiles were measured and single-marker association testing, LD testing, and haplotype association analysis were performed. LD analysis of the FTO SNPs revealed the presence of 57 regions with complete LD (D' = 1.0). In addition, we detected the association of rs17817288 with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The FTO gene may therefore be involved in lipid metabolism in Malaysian Malays. Two haplotype blocks were present in this region of the FTO gene, but no particular haplotype was found to be significantly associated with an increased risk of obesity in Malaysian Malays.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that involves the inflammation of various organs upon deposition of immune complexes and is characterized by uncontrolled B cell hyperactivity. Despite intensive research on the etiology of the disease, the exact cause of the onset of SLE is unknown. The pathogenesis of the disease has been proposed to be associated with the imbalance of T helper type 1 (Th1) and Th2 cytokine activities. Elevated serum levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a Th2 cytokine with various functions in the regulation of human biological systems, are observed in SLE patients. In the present study, 100 Malaysian SLE patients and 100 controls were evaluated in order to determine the association of polymorphisms existing in the promoter region of the IL-6 gene with the onset of SLE. The homozygous G genotype was found to be significant in SLE patients (chi(2) = 33.754; P = 0.00000000625), whereas the heterozygous G/C genotype was significant in the controls (chi(2)= 25.087; P = 0.000000548). We suggest that the C allele might have a masking effect on the G allele when both alleles are present in heterozygous individuals. However, we did not observe any significant association of the homozygous C allele with the onset of SLE or with protection from the disease (chi(2) = 1.684; P = 0.194366).
The current in vitro study was designed to investigate the anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic and antioxidant activities of boesenbergin A (BA), a chalcone derivative of known structure isolated from Boesenbergia rotunda. Human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2), colon adenocarcinoma (HT-29), non-small cell lung cancer (A549), prostate adenocarcinoma (PC3), and normal hepatic cells (WRL-68) were used to evaluate the cytotoxicity of BA using the MTT assay. The antioxidant activity of BA was assessed by the ORAC assay and compared to quercetin as a standard reference antioxidant. ORAC results are reported as the equivalent concentration of Trolox that produces the same level of antioxidant activity as the sample tested at 20 µg/mL. The toxic effect of BA on different cell types, reported as IC50, yielded 20.22 ± 3.15, 10.69 ± 2.64, 20.31 ± 1.34, 94.10 ± 1.19, and 9.324 ± 0.24 µg/mL for A549, PC3, HepG2, HT-29, and WRL-68, respectively. BA displayed considerable antioxidant activity, when the results of ORAC assay were reported as Trolox equivalents. BA (20 µg/mL) and quercetin (5 µg/mL) were equivalent to a Trolox concentration of 11.91 ± 0.23 and 160.32 ± 2.75 µM, respectively. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory activity of BA was significant at 12.5 to 50 µM and without any significant cytotoxicity for the murine macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 at 50 µM. The significant biological activities observed in this study indicated that BA may be one of the agents responsible for the reported biological activities of B. rotunda crude extract.