Heroin continues to be the main drug used in Malaysia, while amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) have been recently identified as a growing problem. A cumulative total of 300,241 drug users were detected between 1988 and 2006. It is also estimated that Malaysia has 170,000 injecting drug users. HIV prevalence among drug users in the country ranges from 25% to 45%. Currently, there are approximately 380 general medical practice offices that offer agonist maintenance treatments for approximately 10,000 patients. There are 27,756 active patients in 333 general medical practice offices and government-run methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) centers. The Needle Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP) reached out to 34,244 injection drug users (IDUs) in 2011. In the last 2 years (2011 and 2012) the number of detected drug addicts decreased from 11,194 to 9015. The arrests made by the police related to opiate and cannabis use increased from 41,363 to 63,466 between the years 2008 and 2010, but decreased since 2010. An almost four-fold increase in the number of ATS and ketamine users was detected from 2006 (21,653 users) 2012 (76,812). Between 2004 and 2010, the yearly seizures for heroin ranged between 156 to 270 kg. However, in 2010 and 2011, heroin seizures showed a significant increase of 445kg and 410.02 kg, respectively. There has been a seizure of between 600 to 1000kg of syabu yearly from 2009 to 2012. Similar to heroin, increased seizures for Yaba have also been observed over the last 2 years. A significant increase has also been recorded for the seizures of ecstasy pills from 2011 (47,761 pills) to 2012 (634,573 pills). The cumulative number of reported HIV infections since 1986 is 94,841. In 2011, sexual activity superseded injection drug use as the main transmission factor for the epidemic. HIV in the country mainly involves males, as they constitute 90% of cumulative HIV cases and a majority of those individuals are IDUs. However, HIV infection trends are shifting from males to females. There are 37,306 people living with HIV (PLHIV) who are eligible for treatment, and 14,002 PLHIV were receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) in 2011. The decreasing trend of heroin users who have been detected and arrested could be due to the introduction of medical treatments and harm reduction approaches for drug users, resulting in fewer drug users being arrested. However, we are unable to say with certainty why there has been an increase in heroin seizures in the country. There has been an increasing trend in both ATS users and seizures. A new trend of co-occurring opiate dependence and ATS underscores the need to develop and implement effective treatments for ATS, co-occurring opiate and ATS, and polysubstance abuse disorders. The low numbers of NSEP clients being tested for HIV underscores our caution in interpreting the decline of HIV infections among drug users and the importance of focusing on providing education, prevention, treatment, and outreach to those who are not in treatment.
Adipose tissue is one of the major organs responsible for rapid restoration of postprandial glucose fluxes. Being the major isoform of glucose transporter in adipose tissue, regulations of insulin-dependent GLUT4 trafficking have always been of research interest. The present study aimed to examine the molecular mechanisms underlying the efficacy of curculigoside and polyphenol-rich ethyl acetate fraction (EAF) of Molineria latifolia rhizome in triggering glucose uptake. We assessed the adipogenic potential and glucose uptake stimulatory activity of curculigoside and EAF by employing a murine 3T3-L1 adipocyte model. The transcriptional and translational expressions of selected intermediates in the insulin signalling pathway were evaluated. While curculigoside neither promoted adipogenesis nor activated peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma, treatment with polyphenol-rich EAF resulted otherwise. However, both treatments enhanced insulin-stimulated uptake of glucose. This was coupled with increased availability of GLUT4 at the plasma membrane of the differentiated adipocytes although the total GLUT4 protein level was unaffected. In addition, the treatment increased the phosphorylation of both AKT and mTOR, which have been reported to be associated with GLUT4 translocation. The present findings proposed that curculigoside and EAF increased glucose transport activity of 3T3-L1 adipocytes via GLUT4 translocation as a result of potential mTOR/AKT activation. The more potent efficacy observed with EAF suggested potential synergistic and multi-targeted action.
Diet-related metabolic diseases, and especially obesity, are metabolic disorders with multifactorial aetiologies. Diet has been a cornerstone in both the aetiology and management of this metabolic disorders. Rice, a staple food for over half of the world's population, could be exploited as part of the solution to check this menace which has been skyrocketing in the last decade. The present study investigated nine forms of rice from three widely grown Malaysian rice cultivars for in vitro and in vivo (glycaemic index and load) properties that could translate clinically into a lower predisposition to diet-related diseases. The germinated brown forms of MRQ 74 and MR 84 rice cultivars had high amylose content percentages (25.7% and 25.0%), high relative percentage antioxidant scavenging abilities of 85.0% and 91.7%, relatively low glycaemic indices (67.6 and 64.3) and glycaemic load (32.3 and 30.1) values, and modest glucose uptake capabilities of 33.69% and 31.25%, respectively. The results show that all things being equal, rice cultivars that are germinated and high in amylose content when compared to their white and low amylose counterparts could translate into a lower predisposition to diet-related diseases from the dietary point of view in individuals who consume this cereal as a staple food.
Colon cancer remains as a serious health problem around the world despite advances in diagnosis and treatment. Dietary fibers are considered to reduce the risk of colon cancer as they are converted to short chain fatty acids by the presence of anaerobic bacteria in the intestine, but imbalanced diet and high fat consumption may promote tumor formation at different sites, including the large bowel via increased bacterial enzymes activity. The present study was conducted to characterize the inhibitory action of myrtenal on bacterial enzymes and aberrant crypt foci (ACF). Experimental colon carcinogenesis induced by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine is histologically, morphologically, and anatomically similar to human colonic epithelial neoplasm. Discrete microscopic mucosal lesions such as ACF and malignant tumors function as important biomarkers in the diagnosis of colon cancer. Methylene blue staining was carried out to visualize the impact of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine and myrtenal. Myrtenal-treated animals showed decreased levels of bacterial enzymes such as β-glucuronidase, β-glucosidase, and mucinase. Characteristic changes in the colon were noticed by inhibiting ACF formation in the colon. In conclusion, treatment with myrtenal provided altered pathophysiological condition in colon cancer-bearing animals with evidence of decreased crypt multiplicity and tumor progression.
In this study, linear relationships between response and concentration were used to estimate the detection limit (DL) and quantification limit (QL) for five avermectins: emamectin, abamectin, doramectin, moxidectin, and ivermectin. Estimation of DL and QL was based on the standard deviation of residual and y-intercept of the regression line at low concentrations of avermectins, using the dispersive solid-phase extraction procedure. Avermectin extracts were analyzed using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Based on the regression slope, DL and QL were higher at concentrations of 0.3-0.4 μg/kg and 1 μg/kg, respectively, for all avermectin compounds. Linearity assessment was performed by linear regression, which incorporated a regression model, outlier rejection, and evaluation of the assumption with a significant test. For all avermectins, there is a significant correlation between response and concentration in the range 1-15 μg/kg, and the y-intercept passes through origin (zero).
Chitosan is a promising biopolymer for drug delivery systems. Because of its beneficial properties, chitosan is widely used in biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. In this review, we summarize the physicochemical and drug delivery properties of chitosan, selected studies on utilization of chitosan and chitosan-based nanoparticle composites in various drug delivery systems, and selected studies on the application of chitosan films in both drug delivery and wound healing. Chitosan is considered the most important polysaccharide for various drug delivery purposes because of its cationic character and primary amino groups, which are responsible for its many properties such as mucoadhesion, controlled drug release, transfection, in situ gelation, and efflux pump inhibitory properties and permeation enhancement. This review can enhance our understanding of drug delivery systems particularly in cases where chitosan drug-loaded nanoparticles are applied.
Phaleria macrocarpa, known as "Mahkota Dewa", is a widely used medicinal plant in Malaysia. This study focused on the characterization of α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of P. macrocarpa extracts using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)-based metabolomics. P. macrocarpa and its extracts contain thousands of compounds having synergistic effect. Generally, their variability exists, and there are many active components in meager amounts. Thus, the conventional measurement methods of a single component for the quality control are time consuming, laborious, expensive, and unreliable. It is of great interest to develop a rapid prediction method for herbal quality control to investigate the α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of P. macrocarpa by multicomponent analyses. In this study, a rapid and simple analytical method was developed using FTIR spectroscopy-based fingerprinting. A total of 36 extracts of different ethanol concentrations were prepared and tested on inhibitory potential and fingerprinted using FTIR spectroscopy, coupled with chemometrics of orthogonal partial least square (OPLS) at the 4000-400 cm-1 frequency region and resolution of 4 cm-1. The OPLS model generated the highest regression coefficient with R2Y = 0.98 and Q2Y = 0.70, lowest root mean square error estimation = 17.17, and root mean square error of cross validation = 57.29. A five-component (1+4+0) predictive model was build up to correlate FTIR spectra with activity, and the responsible functional groups, such as -CH, -NH, -COOH, and -OH, were identified for the bioactivity. A successful multivariate model was constructed using FTIR-attenuated total reflection as a simple and rapid technique to predict the inhibitory activity.
In order to improve the encapsulation process, a newly supercritical antisolvent process was developed to encapsulate fish oil using hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose as a polymer. Three factors, namely, temperature, pressure, and feed emulsion rate were optimized using response surface methodology. The suitability of the model for predicting the optimum response value was evaluated at the conditions of temperature at 60°C, pressure at 150 bar, and feed rate at 1.36 mL/min. At the optimum conditions, particle size of 58.35 μm was obtained. The surface morphology of the micronized fish oil was also evaluated using field emission scanning electron microscopy where it showed that particles formed spherical structures with no internal voids. Moreover, in vitro release of oil showed that there are significant differences of release percentage of oil between the formulations and the results proved that there was a significant decrease in the in vitro release of oil from the powder when the polymer concentration was high.
Chemotherapies remain far from ideal due to drug resistance; therefore, novel chemotherapeutic agents with higher effectiveness are crucial. The extracts of four Phyllanthus species, namely Phyllanthus niruri, Phyllanthus urinaria, Phyllanthus watsonii, and Phyllanthus amarus, were shown to induce apoptosis and inhibit metastasis of breast carcinoma cells (MCF-7). The main objective of this study was to determine the pathways utilized by these four Phyllanthus species to exert anti-metastatic activities. A cancer 10-pathway reporter was used to investigate the pathways affected by the four Phyllanthus species. Results indicated that these Phyllanthus species suppressed breast carcinoma metastasis and proliferation by suppressing matrix metalloprotein 2 and 9 expression via inhibition of the extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) pathway. Additionally, inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor 1-α in the hypoxia pathway caused reduced vascular endothelial growth factor and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression, resulting in anti-angiogenic effects and eventually anti-metastasis. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis identified numerous proteins suppressed by these Phyllanthus species, including invasion proteins, anti-apoptotic protein, protein-synthesis proteins, angiogenic and mobility proteins, and various glycolytic enzymes. Our results indicated that ERK and hypoxia pathways are the most likely targets of the four Phyllanthus species for the inhibition of MCF-7 metastasis.
Cosmos caudatus, which is a commonly consumed vegetable in Malaysia, is locally known as "Ulam Raja". It is a local Malaysian herb traditionally used as a food and medicinal herb to treat several maladies. Its bioactive or nutritional constituents consist of a wide range of metabolites, including glucosinolates, phenolics, amino acids, organic acids, and sugars. However, many of these metabolites are not stable and easily degraded or modified during storage. In order to investigate the metabolomics changes occurring during post-harvest storage, C. caudatus samples were subjected to seven different storage times (0 hours, 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, 10 hours, and 12 hours) at room temperature. As the model experiment, the metabolites identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) were correlated with α-glucosidase inhibitory activity analyzed with multivariate data analysis (MVDA) to find out the variation among samples and metabolites contributing to the activity. Orthogonal partial least squares (OPLS) analysis was applied to investigate the metabolomics changes. A profound chemical alteration, both in primary and secondary metabolites, was observed. The α-tocopherol, catechin, cyclohexen-1-carboxylic acid, benzoic acid, myo-inositol, stigmasterol, and lycopene compounds were found to be the discriminating metabolites at early storage; however, sugars such as sucrose, α-d-galactopyranose, and turanose were detected, which was attributed to the discriminating metabolites for late storage. The result shows that the MVDA method is a promising technique to identify biomarker compounds relative to storage at different times.
Stenochlaena palustris fronds are popular as a vegetable in Southeast Asia. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the anticholinesterase properties and phytochemical profiles of the young and mature fronds of this plant. Both types of fronds were found to have selective inhibitory effect against butyrylcholinesterase compared with acetylcholinesterase. However, different sets of compounds were responsible for their activity. In young fronds, an antibutyrylcholinesterase effect was observed in the hexane extract, which was comprised of a variety of aliphatic hydrocarbons, fatty acids, and phytosterols. In the mature fronds, inhibitory activity was observed in the methanol extract, which contained a series of kaempferol glycosides. Our results provided novel information concerning the ability of S. palustris to inhibit cholinesterase and its phytochemical profile. Further research to investigate the potential use of this plant against Alzheimer's disease is warranted, however, young and mature fronds should be distinguished due to their phytochemical differences.
In an attempt to profile the metabolites of three different varieties of germinated rice, specifically black (GBR), red, and white rice, a 1H-nuclear-magnetic-resonance-based metabolomics approach was conducted. Multivariate data analysis was applied to discriminate between the three different varieties using a partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) model. The PLS model was used to evaluate the relationship between chemicals and biological activities of germinated rice. The PLS-DA score plot exhibited a noticeable separation between the three rice varieties into three clusters by PC1 and PC2. The PLS model indicated that α-linolenic acid, γ-oryzanol, α-tocopherol, γ-aminobutyric acid, 3-hydroxybutyric acid, fumaric acid, fatty acids, threonine, tryptophan, and vanillic acid were significantly correlated with the higher bioactivities demonstrated by GBR that was extracted in 100% ethanol. Subsequently, the proposed biosynthetic pathway analysis revealed that the increased quantities of secondary metabolites found in GBR may contribute to its nutritional value and health benefits.
In the present study, the influences of diets (i.e. chow and AIN-93 diets) on the interpretation of various fecal parameters including viable microbiota, moisture, weight, and short-chain fatty acids in rats fed different amounts of inulin (0.5-2 g/kg). Eight groups of rats (n = 8/group) were fed, for 4 weeks, chow or AIN-93 diets with or without inulin supplementation. Fecal samples were analyzed for different fecal parameters. After a 2-week adaptation, apparent differences in some fecal parameters were observed between the chow and AIN-93 diet groups. Throughout the 4-week intervention period, significantly (p