Carotenoid intakes, assessed by dietary questionnaire, are associated with plasma carotenoid concentrations in an elderly population. (1/4352)

High intakes of fruits and vegetables and of carotenoids are associated with a lower risk for a variety of chronic diseases. It is therefore important to test the validity of dietary questionnaires that assess these intakes. We compared intakes of five carotenoids, as calculated from responses to the Willett 126-item food-frequency questionnaire, with corresponding biochemical measures. Subjects included 346 women and 201 men, aged 67-93 y, in the Framingham Heart Study. Unadjusted correlations were higher among women than men as follows: alpha-carotene 0.33 and 0.18, beta-carotene, 0.36 and 0.25; beta-cryptoxanthin, 0.44 and 0.32; lycopene, 0.35 and 0.21; and lutein + zeaxanthin, 0.27 and 0.10, respectively. Adjustment for age, energy intake, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), plasma cholesterol concentrations and smoking reduced the gender differences, respectively, to the following: alpha-carotene 0.30 and 0.28; beta-carotene, 0.34 and 0.31; beta-cryptoxanthin, 0.45 and 0.36; lycopene, 0.36 and 0.31; and lutein + zeaxanthin, 0.24 and 0.14. Plots of adjusted mean plasma carotenoid concentration by quintile of respective carotenoid intake show apparent greater responsiveness among women, compared with men, to dietary intake of alpha- and beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, but similar blood-diet relationships for lycopene and lutein + zeaxanthin. Reported daily intake of fruits and vegetables correlated most strongly with plasma beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene among women and with plasma alpha- and beta-carotene among men. With the exception of lutein + zeaxanthin, this dietary questionnaire does provide reasonable rankings of carotenoid status among elderly subjects, with the strongest correlations for beta-cryptoxanthin. Appropriate adjustment of confounders is necessary to clarify these associations among men.  (+info)

A multistate, foodborne outbreak of hepatitis A. National Hepatitis A Investigation Team. (2/4352)

BACKGROUND: We investigated a large, foodborne outbreak of hepatitis A that occurred in February and March 1997 in Michigan and then extended the investigation to determine whether it was related to sporadic cases reported in other states among persons who had consumed frozen strawberries, the food suspected of causing the outbreak. METHODS: The cases of hepatitis A were serologically confirmed. Epidemiologic studies were conducted in the two states with sufficient numbers of cases, Michigan and Maine. Hepatitis A virus RNA detected in clinical specimens was sequenced to determine the relatedness of the virus from outbreak-related cases and other cases. RESULTS: A total of 213 cases of hepatitis A were reported from 23 schools in Michigan and 29 cases from 13 schools in Maine, with the median rate of attack ranging from 0.2 to 14 percent. Hepatitis A was associated with the consumption of frozen strawberries in a case-control study (odds ratio for the disease, 8.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.1 to 33) and a cohort study (relative risk of infection, 7.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.1 to 53) in Michigan and in a case-control study in Maine (odds ratio for infection, 3.4; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.0 to 14). The genetic sequences of viruses from 126 patients in Michigan and Maine were identical to one another and to those from 5 patients in Wisconsin and 7 patients in Arizona, all of whom attended schools where frozen strawberries from the same processor had been served, and to those in 2 patients from Louisiana, both of whom had consumed commercially prepared products containing frozen strawberries from the same processor. CONCLUSIONS: We describe a large outbreak of hepatitis A in Michigan that was associated with the consumption of frozen strawberries. We found apparently sporadic cases in other states that could be linked to the same source by viral genetic analysis.  (+info)

Glutathione-S-transferase (GSTM1) genetic polymorphisms do not affect human breast cancer risk, regardless of dietary antioxidants. (3/4352)

Glutathione-S-transferases catalyze the detoxication of carcinogen metabolites and reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced through a number of mechanisms. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) M1 is polymorphic, and the null allele results in a lack of enzyme activity. Because there are indications that ROS may be involved in breast carcinogenesis, we sought to determine whether the GSTM1 null allele was associated with increased breast cancer, particularly among women with lower consumption of dietary sources of alpha-tocopherol, carotenoids and ascorbic acid. In a study of diet and cancer in western New York, women with primary, incident, histologically confirmed breast cancer (n = 740) and community controls (n = 810) were interviewed and an extensive food-frequency questionnaire administered. A subset of these women provided a blood specimen. DNA was extracted and genotyping performed for GSTM1. Data were available for 279 cases and 340 controls. The null allele did not increase breast cancer risk, regardless of menopausal status. There were also no differences in associations between the polymorphism and risk among lower and higher consumers of dietary sources of antioxidants or smokers and nonsmokers. These results indicate that GSTM1 genetic polymorphisms are not associated with breast cancer risk, even in an environment low in antioxidant defenses.  (+info)

Melain G, a cysteine protease from green fruits of the bead tree, Melia azedarach: a protease affected by specific amino acids at P3 position. (4/4352)

A protease (melain G) was isolated from the greenish fruits of the bead tree, Melia azedarach var. japonica Makino. Melain G shares 110 identical amino acid residues (50%) with papain, 112 (51%) with actinidain, and 91 (41%) with stem bromelain. From the sites cleaved in the oxidized insulin B-chain and synthetic oligopeptide substrates by melain G, the enzyme preferred small amino acid residues such as Gly or Ser at the P2 position and negatively charged residues such as glutamic or cysteic acid at the P3 position. This is clearly different from the specificity of papain, which prefers the large hydrophobic amino acid residues such as Phe, Val, and Leu at the P2 position. Accordingly, it is presumed that the bottom of the S2 pocket of melain G is shallow due to the presence of a Phe residue, and a bulky P2 substrate (for example Phe residue) is not preferred by the enzyme. Negatively charged residues at the P3 position of substrates well suited the S3 site of melain G for making a salt bridge. It is likely that Arg61 is the S3 position of melain G by analogy with papain.  (+info)

Pancreatic cancer risk and nutrition-related methyl-group availability indicators in male smokers. (5/4352)

BACKGROUND: Few risk factors for pancreatic cancer have been identified, with age and cigarette smoking being the most consistent. The protective effect associated with consumption of fruits and vegetables-the major dietary sources of folate-is suggestive of a role for factors influencing cellular methylation reactions; however, to our knowledge, no study has investigated this relationship. Whether biochemical indicators of methyl-group availability are associated with exocrine pancreatic cancer risk was the focus of this investigation. METHODS: We conducted a nested case-control study within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study cohort of 29133 male Finnish smokers aged 50-69 years. One hundred twenty-six subjects with incident exocrine pancreatic cancer were matched by date of baseline blood draw (+/-30 days), study center, age (+/-5 years), trial intervention group, and completion of dietary history to 247 control subjects, who were alive and free from cancer at the time the case subjects were diagnosed. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined by use of conditional logistic regression. Reported P values are two-tailed. RESULTS: Serum folate and pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) concentrations showed statistically significant inverse dose-response relationships with pancreatic cancer risk, with the highest serum tertiles having approximately half the risk of the lowest (folate: OR = 0.45; 95% CI = 0.24-0.82; P for trend = .009, and PLP: OR = 0.48; 95% CI = 0.26-0.88; P for trend = .02). An increased pancreatic cancer risk was also observed with greater exposure to cigarettes (e.g., pack-years [number of packs smoked per day x number of years of smoking], highest versus lowest quartile: OR = 2.13; 95% CI = 1.13-3.99; P for trend = .04). CONCLUSIONS: These results support the hypothesis that maintaining adequate folate and pyridoxine status may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and confirm the risk previously associated with cigarette smoking.  (+info)

Food groups and colorectal cancer risk. (6/4352)

Most studies of diet and colorectal cancer have considered nutrients and micronutrients, but the role of foods or food groups remains open to debate. To elucidate the issue, we examined data from a case-control study conducted between 1992 and 1997 in the Swiss canton of Vaud. Cases were 223 patients (142 men, 81 women) with incident, histologically confirmed colon (n= 119) or rectal (n= 104) cancer (median age 63 years), linked with the Cancer Registry of the Swiss Canton of Vaud, and controls were 491 subjects (211 men, 280 women, median age 58 years) admitted to the same university hospital for a wide spectrum of acute non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications of diet. Odds ratios (OR) were obtained after allowance for age, sex, education, smoking, alcohol, body mass index, physical activity and total energy intake. Significant associations were observed for refined grain (OR = 1.32 for an increase of one serving per day), and red meat (OR = 1.54), pork and processed meat (OR = 1.27), alcohol (OR = 1.28), and significant protections for whole grain (OR = 0.85), raw (OR = 0.85) and cooked vegetables (OR = 0.69), citrus (OR = 0.86) and other fruits (OR = 0.85), and for coffee (OR = 0.73). Garlic was also protective (OR = 0.32 for the highest tertile of intake). These findings in a central European population support the hypothesis that a diet rich in refined grains and red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; they, therefore, support the recommendation to substitute whole grains for refined grain, to limit meat intake, and to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.  (+info)

The vacuolar H+-ATPase of lemon fruits is regulated by variable H+/ATP coupling and slip. (7/4352)

Lemon fruit tonoplasts, unlike those of seedling epicotyls, contain nitrate-insensitive H+-ATPase activity (Muller, M. L., Irkens-Kiesecker, U., Rubinstein, B., and Taiz, L. (1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 1916-1924). However, the degree of nitrate-insensitivity fluctuates during the course of the year with a seasonal frequency. Nitrate uncouples H+ pumping from ATP hydrolysis both in epicotyls and in nitrate-sensitive fruit V-ATPases. Neither bafilomycin nor oxidation cause uncoupling. The initial rate H+/ATP coupling ratios of epicotyl and the nitrate-sensitive fruit proton pumping activities are the same. However, the H+/ATP coupling ratio of the nitrate-insensitive fruit H+ pumping activity is lower than that of nitrate-sensitive and epicotyl V-ATPases. Several properties of the nitrate-insensitive H+-ATPase of the fruit indicate that it is a modified V-ATPase rather than a P-ATPase: 1) insensitivity to low concentrations of vanadate; 2) it is initially strongly uncoupled by nitrate, but regains coupling as catalysis proceeds; 3) both the nitrate-sensitive and nitrate-insensitive fruit H+-pumps have identical Km values for MgATP, and show similar pH-dependent slip and proton leakage rates. We conclude that the ability of the juice sac V-ATPase to build up steep pH gradients involves three factors: variable coupling, i.e. the ability to regain coupling under conditions that initially induce uncoupling; a low pH-dependent slip rate; the low proton permeability of the membrane.  (+info)

Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. (8/4352)

BACKGROUND: Osteoporosis and related fractures will be growing public health problems as the population ages. It is therefore of great importance to identify modifiable risk factors. OBJECTIVE: We investigated associations between dietary components contributing to an alkaline environment (dietary potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetables) and bone mineral density (BMD) in elderly subjects. DESIGN: Dietary intake measures were associated with both cross-sectional (baseline) and 4-y longitudinal change in BMD among surviving members of the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study. Dietary and supplement intakes were assessed by food-frequency questionnaire, and BMD was measured at 3 hip sites and 1 forearm site. RESULTS: Greater potassium intake was significantly associated with greater BMD at all 4 sites for men and at 3 sites for women (P < 0.05). Magnesium intake was associated with greater BMD at one hip site for both men and women and in the forearm for men. Fruit and vegetable intake was associated with BMD at 3 sites for men and 2 for women. Greater intakes of potassium and magnesium were also each associated with less decline in BMD at 2 hip sites, and greater fruit and vegetable intake was associated with less decline at 1 hip site, in men. There were no significant associations between baseline diet and subsequent bone loss in women. CONCLUSION: These results support the hypothesis that alkaline-producing dietary components, specifically, potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetables, contribute to maintenance of BMD.  (+info)