Diabetes mellitus remains a burden worldwide in spite of the availability of numerous antidiabetic drugs. Honey is a natural substance produced by bees from nectar. Several evidence-based health benefits have been ascribed to honey in the recent years. In this review article, we highlight findings which demonstrate the beneficial or potential effects of honey in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), on the gut microbiota, in the liver, in the pancreas and how these effects could improve glycemic control and metabolic derangements. In healthy subjects or patients with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus, various studies revealed that honey reduced blood glucose or was more tolerable than most common sugars or sweeteners. Pre-clinical studies provided more convincing evidence in support of honey as a potential antidiabetic agent than clinical studies did. The not-too-impressive clinical data could mainly be attributed to poor study designs or due to the fact that the clinical studies were preliminary. Based on the key constituents of honey, the possible mechanisms of action of antidiabetic effect of honey are proposed. The paper also highlights the potential impacts and future perspectives on the use of honey as an antidiabetic agent. It makes recommendations for further clinical studies on the potential antidiabetic effect of honey. This review provides insight on the potential use of honey, especially as a complementary agent, in the management of diabetes mellitus. Hence, it is very important to have well-designed, randomized controlled clinical trials that investigate the reproducibility (or otherwise) of these experimental data in diabetic human subjects.
Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) can detect anti-malaria antibodies in human blood. As they can detect parasite infection at the low parasite density, they are useful in endemic areas where light infection and/or re-infection of parasites are common. Thus, malaria antibody tests can be used for screening bloods in blood banks to prevent transfusion-transmitted malaria (TTM), an emerging problem in malaria endemic areas. However, only a few malaria antibody tests are available in the microwell-based assay format and these are not suitable for field application. A novel malaria antibody (Ab)-based RDT using a differential diagnostic marker for falciparum and vivax malaria was developed as a suitable high-throughput assay that is sensitive and practical for blood screening. The marker, merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) was discovered by generation of a Plasmodium-specific network and the hierarchical organization of modularity in the network. Clinical evaluation revealed that the novel Malaria Pf/Pv Ab RDT shows improved sensitivity (98%) and specificity (99.7%) compared with the performance of a commercial kit, SD BioLine Malaria P.f/P.v (95.1% sensitivity and 99.1% specificity). The novel Malaria Pf/Pv Ab RDT has potential for use as a cost-effective blood-screening tool for malaria and in turn, reduces TTM risk in endemic areas.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered a potential tool for cell based regenerative therapy due to their immunomodulatory property, differentiation potentials, trophic activity as well as large donor pool. Poor engraftment and short term survival of transplanted MSCs are recognized as major limitations which were linked to early cellular ageing, loss of chemokine markers during ex vivo expansion, and hyper-immunogenicity to xeno-contaminated MSCs. These problems can be minimized by ex vivo expansion of MSCs in hypoxic culture condition using well defined or xeno-free media i.e., media supplemented with growth factors, human serum or platelet lysate. In addition to ex vivo expansion in hypoxic culture condition using well defined media, this review article describes the potentials of transient adaptation of expanded MSCs in autologous serum supplemented medium prior to transplantation for long term regenerative benefits. Such transient adaptation in autologous serum supplemented medium may help to increase chemokine receptor expression and tissue specific differentiation of ex vivo expanded MSCs, thus would provide long term regenerative benefits.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Breast cancer metastasis primarily happens through lymphatic system, where the extent of lymph node metastasis is the major factor influencing staging, prognosis and therapeutic decision of the disease. We aimed to study the protein expression changes in different N (regional lymph nodes) stages of breast cancer. Protein expression profiles of breast cancerous and adjacent normal tissues were mapped by proteomics approach that comprises of two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. Calreticulin and tropomyosin alpha 3 chains were the common up-regulated proteins in N0, N1 and N2 stages of breast cancer. Potential biomarker for each N stage was HSP 70 for N0, 80 k protein H precursor and PDI for N1 stage while 78 kDa glucose-regulated protein was found useful for N2 stage. In addition, significant up-regulation of PDI A3 was detected only in the metastasized breast cancer. The up-regulation expression of these proteins in cancerous tissues can potentially use as indicators for diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of different N stages of breast cancer.
Diabetes mellitus is associated with deterioration of glycemic control and progressive metabolic derangements. This study investigated the effect of honey as an adjunct to glibenclamide or metformin on glycemic control in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced in rats by streptozotocin. The diabetic rats were randomized into six groups and administered distilled water, honey, glibenclamide, glibenclamide and honey, metformin or metformin and honey. The animals were treated orally once daily for four weeks. The diabetic control rats showed hypoinsulinemia (0.27 ± 0.01 ng/ml), hyperglycemia (22.4 ± 1.0 mmol/L) and increased fructosamine (360.0 ± 15.6 µmol/L). Honey significantly increased insulin (0.41 ± 0.06 ng/ml), decreased hyperglycemia (12.3 ± 3.1 mmol/L) and fructosamine (304.5 ± 10.1 µmol/L). Although glibenclamide or metformin alone significantly (p < 0.05) reduced hyperglycemia, glibenclamide or metformin combined with honey produced significantly much lower blood glucose (8.8 ± 2.9 or 9.9 ± 3.3 mmol/L, respectively) compared to glibenclamide or metformin alone (13.9 ± 3.4 or 13.2 ± 2.9 mmol/L, respectively). Similarly, glibenclamide or metformin combined with honey produced significantly (p < 0.05) lower fructosamine levels (301.3 ± 19.5 or 285.8 ± 22.6 µmol/L, respectively) whereas glibenclamide or metformin alone did not decrease fructosamine (330.0 ± 29.9 or 314.6 ± 17.9 µmol/L, respectively). Besides, these drugs or their combination with honey increased insulin levels. Glibenclamide or metformin combined with honey also significantly reduced the elevated levels of creatinine, bilirubin, triglycerides, and VLDL cholesterol. These results indicate that combination of glibenclamide or metformin with honey improves glycemic control, and provides additional metabolic benefits, not achieved with either glibenclamide or metformin alone.
Dengue viruses, mosquito-borne members of the Flaviviridae family, are the causative agents of dengue fever and its associated complications, dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. To date, more than 2.5 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk of infection, and approximately 20 million infections were reported annually. There is currently no treatment or vaccine available for dengue infection. This study employed a whole-cell organism model or in vitro methods to study the inhibitory property of the flavanoid-derived compounds against DENV2 activity. Results showed that at concentration not exceeding the maximum non-toxic dose (MNTD), these compounds completely prevented DENV2 infection in HepG2 cells as indicated by the absence of cytophatic effects. The in vitro antiviral activity assessed in HepG2 cells employing virus inhibition assay showed high inhibitory activity in a dose dependent manner. At concentration below MNTD, compounds exhibited inhibitory activity against DENV2 with a range of potency strengths of 72% to 100%. The plaque forming unit per ml (pfu/ml) was reduced prominently with a maximum reduction of 98% when the infected HepG2 cells were treated with the highest non-toxic dose of compounds. The highly potent activity of the compounds against DENV2 infection strongly suggests their potential as a lead antiviral agent for dengue.
Avian influenza viruses (AIV), the causative agent of avian flu or bird flu, cause widespread morbidity and mortality in poultry. The symptoms of the disease range from mild flu like symptoms to death. These viruses possess two important surface glycoproteins, namely hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) against which neutralizing antibodies are produced. Due to the highly mutative nature of the genes which encode these proteins, the viruses often confer resistance to the current anti-viral drugs making the prevention and treatment of infection challenging. In our laboratory, we have recently identified a novel anti-viral peptide (P1) against the AIV H9N2 from a phage displayed peptide library. This peptide inhibits the replication of the virus in ovo and in vitro by its binding to the HA glycoprotein. In the current study, we demonstrate that the peptide inhibits the virus replication by preventing the attachment to the host cell but it does not have any effect on the viral fusion. The reduction in the viral nucleoprotein (NP) expression inside the host cell has also been observed during the peptide (P1) treatment. This novel peptide may have the potential to be developed as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and control of avian influenza virus H9N2 infections.
An insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism of Alpha2B-Adrenoceptor (ADRA2B) gene located on chromosome 2 has been studied extensively in related to cardiovascular diseases. The main aim of the present study was to examine the potential association of D allele frequency of I/D polymorphism of ADRA2B gene in Malaysian essential hypertensive subjects with or without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This study includes 70 hypertensive subjects without T2DM, 65 hypertensive subjects with T2DM and 75 healthy volunteers as control subjects. Genotyping of I/D polymorphism was performed by conventional PCR method. There was significant difference found in age, body mass index, systolic/diastolic blood pressure and high density lipoprotein cholesterol level between the case and control subjects. DD genotypic frequency of I/D polymorphism was significantly higher in hypertensive subjects (42.84% vs. 29.33%; P-=0.029) and in hypertensive with T2DM subjects (46.15% vs. 29.33%; P=0.046) than control group. D allele frequency was higher in hypertensive group (67.41%) than control subjects (52.67%). However, no significant difference was found between the three genotypes of I/D polymorphism of ADRA2B gene and the clinical characteristics of the subjects. The result obtained in this study show D allele of ADRA2B gene was associated with essential hypertension with or without T2DM in Malaysian subjects.
Kidney stone disease affects 1 - 20% of the general population. At present, the diagnosis of a stone is done using radiography method when noticeable symptoms appeared. We developed a non-invasive quantitative assay for urinary THP, namely ELISA; whereby our previous study and other reports had shown the usefulness of THP as biomarker for kidney stone disease. Since urine is biological fluid that is easily obtainable, this method could be used as a screening assay for kidney stone prior to confirmation with radiography. The ELISA gave assay linearity r(2) > 0.999 within the range of 109 ng/mL to 945 ng/mL THP. Assay precisions were < 4% (C.V.) for repeatability and < 5% (C.V.) for reproducibility. Assay accuracy range from 97.7% to 101.2% at the various THP concentrations tested. Assay specificity and sensitivity were 80% and 86%, respectively. The cut-off points at P < 0.05 were 37.0 and 41.2 mug/mL for male and female, respectively. The assay is cost effective and rapid whereby the cost for assaying each urine sample in duplicate is approximately USD0.35 and within 5 hours, 37 samples can be assayed alongside full range of standards and 3 QC samples in each plate. Furthermore, sample preparation is relatively easy where urine sample was diluted 10 times in TEA buffer. The usability of the ELISA method for diagnosis of kidney stone disease is evaluated with 117 healthy subjects and 58 stone formers.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide as most patients often suffer cancer relapse. The reason is often attributed to the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Recent studies revealed that dysregulation of microRNA (miRNA) are closely linked to breast cancer recurrence and metastasis. However, no specific study has comprehensively characterised the CSC characteristic and miRNA transcriptome in spheroid-enriched breast cells. This study described the generation of spheroid MCF-7 cell in serum-free condition and the comprehensive characterisation for their CSC properties. Subsequently, miRNA expression differences between the spheroid-enriched CSC cells and their parental cells were evaluated using next generation sequencing (NGS). Our results showed that the MCF-7 spheroid cells were enriched with CSCs properties, indicated by the ability to self-renew, increased expression of CSCs markers, and increased resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. Additionally, spheroid-enriched CSCs possessed greater cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and wound healing ability. A total of 134 significantly (p<0.05) differentially expressed miRNAs were identified between spheroids and parental cells using miRNA-NGS. MiRNA-NGS analysis revealed 25 up-regulated and 109 down-regulated miRNAs which includes some miRNAs previously reported in the regulation of breast CSCs. A number of miRNAs (miR-4492, miR-4532, miR-381, miR-4508, miR-4448, miR-1296, and miR-365a) which have not been previously reported in breast cancer were found to show potential association with breast cancer chemoresistance and self-renewal capability. The gene ontology (GO) analysis showed that the predicted genes were enriched in the regulation of metabolic processes, gene expression, DNA binding, and hormone receptor binding. The corresponding pathway analyses inferred from the GO results were closely related to the function of signalling pathway, self-renewability, chemoresistance, tumorigenesis, cytoskeletal proteins, and metastasis in breast cancer. Based on these results, we proposed that certain miRNAs identified in this study could be used as new potential biomarkers for breast cancer stem cell diagnosis and targeted therapy.
Three distinct bamboo bat species (Tylonycteris) are known to inhabit tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, i.e., T. pachypus, T. robustula, and T. pygmaeus. This study performed karyotypic examinations of 4 specimens from southern Chinese T. p. fulvidus populations and one specimen from Thai T. p. fulvidus population, which detected distinct karyotypes (2n=30) compared with previous karyotypic descriptions of T. p. pachypus (2n=46) and T. robustula (2n=32) from Malaysia. This finding suggested a cryptic Tylonycteris species within T. pachypus complex in China and Thailand. Morphometric studies indicated the difficulty in distinguishing the cryptic species and T. p. pachypus from Indonesia apart from the external measurements, which might be the reason for their historical misidentification. Based on 623 bp mtDNA COI segments, a phylogeographic examination including T. pachypus individuals from China and nearby regions, i.e., Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, was conducted to examine the population genetic structure. Genealogical and phylogeographical results indicated that at least two diverged lineages existed in these regions (average 3.4 % of Kimura 2-parameter distances) and their population structure did not match the geographic pattern. These results suggested that at least two historical colonizations have occurred by the cryptic species. Furthermore, through integration of traditional and geometric morphological results, morphological differences on zygomatic arches, toothrows and bullae were detected between two lineages in China. Given the similarity of vegetation and climate of Guangdong and Guangxi regions, we suggested that such differences might be derived from their historical adaptation or distinct evolutionary history rather than the differences of habitats they occurred currently.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic diseases characterized by hyperglycemia due to insufficient or inefficient insulin secretory response. This chronic disease is a global problem and there is a need for greater emphasis on therapeutic strategies in the health system. Phytochemicals such as flavonoids have recently attracted attention as source materials for the development of new antidiabetic drugs or alternative therapy for the management of diabetes and its related complications. The antidiabetic potential of flavonoids are mainly through their modulatory effects on glucose transporter by enhancing GLUT-2 expression in pancreatic β cells and increasing expression and promoting translocation of GLUT-4 via PI3K/AKT, CAP/Cb1/TC10 and AMPK pathways. This review highlights the recent findings on beneficial effects of flavonoids in the management of diabetes with particular emphasis on the investigations that explore the role of these compounds in modulating glucose transporter proteins at cellular and molecular level.
The microheterogeneity property of hCG with regards to its sialic acid contents resulted in variable mobility of the glycoprotein in SDS-PAGE. The intact hCG molecule is composed of two dissimilar subunits, namely alpha- and beta-subunits. The identification of hCG bands in SDS-PAGE was accomplished by the immunoblotting experiment, whereby the antibody directed toward the specific region of beta-subunit of hCG was used. The data shows that the different mobility of intact hCG was attributed to the different degree of desialylation of the glycoprotein. Nevertheless, unlike the intact hCG, the mobility of its beta-subunit was not affected by its variety sialic acid content. This characteristic of beta-hCG is beneficial when semi-quantification of total hCG is required. Quantification of hCG using the HPLC-reversed phase C18 analytical column is not possible as the glycoprotein was eluted in multiple fractions at different retention times. The identification of denatured hCG (HPLC eluted fractions) was carried out by immunoblotting experiment whilst immunoassay technique failed to detect its presence in any fraction.
Exosomes are 40- to 100-nm membrane-bound small vesicles that carry a great variety of cellular cargoes including proteins, DNA, messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and microRNAs (miRNAs). These nanovesicles are detected in various biological fluids such as serum, urine, saliva, and seminal fluids. Exosomes serve as key mediators in intercellular communication by facilitating the transfer and exchange of cellular components from cells to cells. They contain various pathogenic factors whereby their adverse effects have been implicated in multiple viral infections and cancers. Interestingly, accumulating evidences showed that exosomes derived from tumour viruses or oncoviruses, exacerbate virus-associated cancers by remodelling the tumour microenvironment. In this review, we summarize the contributing factors of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) products-containing exosomes in viral pathogenesis and their potential implications in EBV-driven malignancies. Understanding the biological role of these exosomes in the disease would undoubtedly boost the development of a more comprehensive strategy to combat EBV-associated cancers and to better predict the therapeutic outcomes. Furthermore, we also highlight the potentials and challenges of EBV products-containing exosomes being employed as diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets for EBV-related cancers. Since these aspects are rather underexplored, we attempt to underline interesting areas that warrant further investigations in the future.