Probing essential oil biosynthesis and secretion by functional evaluation of expressed sequence tags from mint glandular trichomes. (1/40)

Functional genomics approaches, which use combined computational and expression-based analyses of large amounts of sequence information, are emerging as powerful tools to accelerate the comprehensive understanding of cellular metabolism in specialized tissues and whole organisms. As part of an ongoing effort to identify genes of essential oil (monoterpene) biosynthesis, we have obtained sequence information from 1,316 randomly selected cDNA clones, or expressed sequence tags (ESTs), from a peppermint (Mentha x piperita) oil gland secretory cell cDNA library. After bioinformatic selection, candidate genes putatively involved in essential oil biosynthesis and secretion have been subcloned into suitable expression vectors for functional evaluation in Escherichia coli. On the basis of published and preliminary data on the functional properties of these clones, it is estimated that the ESTs involved in essential oil metabolism represent about 25% of the described sequences. An additional 7% of the recognized genes code for proteins involved in transport processes, and a subset of these is likely involved in the secretion of essential oil terpenes from the site of synthesis to the storage cavity of the oil glands. The integrated approaches reported here represent an essential step toward the development of a metabolic map of oil glands and provide a valuable resource for defining molecular targets for the genetic engineering of essential oil formation.  (+info)

Olfactory learning in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. (2/40)

The olfactory learning capability of the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus was studied. Crickets were deprived of drinking water for 4 days and were individually trained to associate peppermint with water and vanilla with NaCl solution. Their odour preference was tested before and after training by allowing them to choose between peppermint or vanilla sources. The time spent visiting each source served as a measure of odour preference. Crickets exhibited an initial preference for vanilla over peppermint, but preference for the latter increased after only one training session. The olfactory memory formed by a single training session decayed with time but remained for at least 24 h. Memory formed by three training sessions was extremely robust, and did not decay significantly between 1 and 7 days after training. The preference formed was easily altered by reversal training in which vanilla was associated with water and peppermint with saline solution. This study shows that crickets have a highly developed olfactory learning capability characterized by fast acquisition, long retention and easy rewriting of memory.  (+info)

Analysis of oxidative stress and wound-inducible dinor isoprostanes F(1) (phytoprostanes F(1)) in plants. (3/40)

Isoprostanes F(2) are arachidonate autoxidation products in mammals that have been shown to be induced during several human disorders associated with enhanced free-radical generation. Isoprostanes F(2) represent not only extremely reliable markers of oxidative stress in vivo, but they also exert potent biological effects. Therefore, it has been postulated that isoprostanoids are mediators of oxidant injury in vivo. Higher plants, however, do not synthesize arachidonic acid or isoprostanes. Here we show that a series of isoprostane F(2) analogs termed phytoprostanes F(1) (previously dinor isoprostanes F(1)) are formed by an analogous pathway from alpha-linolenate in plants. High-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry methods using [(18)O](3)phytoprostanes F(1) as internal standard have been developed to quantify phytoprostanes F(1). In fresh peppermint (Mentha piperita) leaves, phytoprostanes F(1) were found in free form (76 ng/g of dry weight) and at about 150-fold higher levels esterified in lipids. It is notable that these levels of phytoprostanes F(1) are more than two orders of magnitude higher than the basal levels of isoprostanes F(2) in mammalian tissues. Furthermore, wounding, as well as butyl hydroperoxide or cupric acetate stress triggered a dramatic increase of free and esterified phytoprostanes F(1). Thus phytoprostanes F(1) may represent a sensitive measure of oxidative damage in plants similar to isoprostanes in mammals. However, one of the most exciting issues to be clarified is the possibility that linolenate-derived phytoprostanes F(1) exert biological activities in plants and/or animals.  (+info)

Effects of peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) extracts on experimental allergic rhinitis in rats. (4/40)

The present study was carried out to clarify the effects of extracts of the leaves of Mentha piperita L. on experimental allergic rhinitis. The 50% EtOH extract of peppermint inhibited histamine release from rat peritoneal mast cells induced by compound 48/80. The effect was dose-dependent and significant inhibition was observed at a concentration of 3 microg/ml. In addition, the 50% EtOH eluate separated from the 50% EtOH extract of peppermint by column chromatography (DIAION HP-20) was also effective in inhibiting histamine release at a concentration of 1 microg/ml. Nasal symptoms, sneezing and nasal rubbing induced by antigen challenge in actively sensitized rats were inhibited by oral administration of the 50% EtOH eluate. Significant inhibition of sneezing and nasal rubbing was observed at doses of 300 and 1000 mg/kg, p.o., respectively. Furthermore, the 50% EtOH eluate inhibited dye leakage into the nasal cavity of rats induced by antigen in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggested that extracts of Mentha piperita L. may be clinically effective in alleviating the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis.  (+info)

The influence of essential oils on human attention. I: alertness. (5/40)

Scientific research on the effects of essential oils on human behavior lags behind the promises made by popular aromatherapy. Nearly all aspects of human behavior are closely linked to processes of attention, the basic level being that of alertness, which ranges from sleep to wakefulness. In our study we measured the influence of essential oils and components of essential oils [peppermint, jasmine, ylang-ylang, 1,8-cineole (in two different dosages) and menthol] on this core attentional function, which can be experimentally defined as speed of information processing. Substances were administered by inhalation; levels of alertness were assessed by measuring motor and reaction times in a reaction time paradigm. The performances of the six experimental groups receiving substances (n = 20 in four groups, n = 30 in two groups) were compared with those of corresponding control groups receiving water. Between-group analysis, i.e. comparisons between experimental groups and their respective control groups, mainly did not reach statistical significance. However, within-group analysis showed complex correlations between subjective evaluations of substances and objective performance, indicating that effects of essentials oils or their components on basic forms of attentional behavior are mainly psychological.  (+info)

Temporal determinants of long-term retention of olfactory memory in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. (6/40)

Temporal determinants of olfactory long-term memory retention in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus were studied. Elementary appetitive and aversive conditioning procedures, as well as a differential conditioning procedure, were applied. In appetitive conditioning, peppermint odour was paired with a water reward. In aversive conditioning, vanilla odour was paired with saline solution. In differential conditioning, an appetitive conditioning trial was followed by an aversive conditioning trial. The odour preference of crickets was tested before and 2 h, 1 day and 4 days after training by allowing the crickets to choose between peppermint or vanilla sources. Differential conditioning or appetitive conditioning alone led to long-lasting memory retention with no significant decay from 2 h to 4 days after training, but retention after aversive conditioning was absent 1 day after training. Studies using differential conditioning have shown (i) that four trials are sufficient to cause a saturated level of acquisition, (ii) that conditioning is successful when the conditioned stimulus is presented immediately or 5 s before the onset of presentation of the unconditioned stimulus, (iii) that the optimal interval between trials is 2-5 min, and (iv) that anaesthetic treatment with CO2 given immediately after training results in memory disruption but that anaesthetic-resistant memory develops fully 20 min after training. This study demonstrates that a differential conditioning procedure is particularly effective for the formation of long-term memory.  (+info)

Systematic review: herbal medicinal products for non-ulcer dyspepsia. (7/40)

BACKGROUND: Non-ulcer dyspepsia is predominantly a self-managed condition, although it accounts for a significant number of general practitioner consultations and hospital referrals. Herbal medicinal products are often used for the relief of dyspeptic symptoms. AIMS: : To critically assess the evidence for and against herbal medicinal products for the treatment of non-ulcer dyspepsia. METHODS: Systematic searches were performed in six electronic databases and the reference lists located were checked for further relevant publications. No language restrictions were imposed. Experts in the field and manufacturers of identified herbal extracts were also contacted. All randomized clinical trials of herbal medicinal products administered as supplements to human subjects were included. RESULTS: Seventeen randomized clinical trials were identified, nine of which involved peppermint and caraway as constituents of combination preparations. Symptoms were reduced by all treatments (60-95% of patients reported improvements in symptoms). The mechanism of any anti-dyspeptic action is difficult to define, as the causes of non-ulcer dyspepsia are unclear. There appear to be few adverse effects associated with these remedies, although, in many cases, comprehensive safety data were not available. CONCLUSIONS: There are several herbal medicinal products with anti-dyspeptic activity and encouraging safety profiles. Further research is warranted to establish their therapeutic value in the treatment of non-ulcer dyspepsia.  (+info)

Effects on humans elicited by inhaling the fragrance of essential oils: sensory test, multi-channel thermometric study and forehead surface potential wave measurement on basil and peppermint. (8/40)

The effects on humans inhaling the fragrance of essential oils were examined in terms of a sensory test, a multi-channel skin thermometer study and a portable forehead surface electroencephalographic (IBVA-EEG) measurement. The essential oils examined in this study were those of basil and peppermint, because our previous sensory test had indicated an opposite effect of these essential oils when mental work was undertaken; the inhalation of basil produced a more favorable impression after work than before work, whereas peppermint produced an unfavorable impression under these circumstances. For subjects administered basil or peppermint before and after mental work using an inhalator, a series of multi-channel skin thermometer studies and IBVA-EEG measurements were conducted. Using such paired odorants, our results showed that when compared between before and after mental work assigned to subjects: (1) the inhalation of basil, in which a favorable impression was predominant on the whole in terms of the sensory evaluation spectrum, was shown to be associated upward tendency in finger-tip skin temperature; (2) whereas these situations were opposite in the case of peppermint, in which the reversed (unfavorable) feature in sensory profiling was accompanied by a decrease in the magnitude of beta waves and a decrease in the finger-tip skin temperature both based on Welch's method, even at p < 0.01, implying a decreasing propensity of the aroused state and of the arousal response. The elucidation of such sensory and physiological endpoints of paired odorants would be of primary importance for human chemoreception science, because these are only rarely recorded during the same experiments, and this paradigm is highly informative about non-verbal responses to odorants.  (+info)