Ahead of the Curve

Early-Stage Discoveries: Vitamin D, Citrus Flavonoids, Resveratrol

Good results in the lab can lead to larger human trials. Here are some of the most promising recent findings.

Vitamin D slows aggressive cancer

Low levels of vitamin D lead to worse outcomes in melanoma, a type of cancer in cells containing pigment, but doctors didn’t know why. In the lab, doctors discovered human melanoma tumors had low levels of vitamin D receptors on their cell surfaces, reducing the activity of nerve-signaling pathways the immune system uses to fight the cancer. Also, genes linked to cancer growth and spread had higher activity levels. “Although vitamin D alone won’t treat cancer, it can assist the immune system in finding and attacking cancer cells,” doctors said.

Reference: Cancer Research Journals; November, 2019, 5472, Published Online

Citrus flavonoids slow kidney disease

Hesperidin is an antioxidant flavonoid compound found in citrus fruits. In the lab, doctors fed glycosyl-hesperidin, a derivative of hesperidin, to mice with inflamed and fibrous kidneys. After three days of treatment with hesperidin, kidney inflammation was significantly reduced, slowing the progression of kidney disease. Discussing the findings, doctors said, “Our model successfully enabled the suppressive effects of a citrus flavonoid derivative on inflammation and fibrosis in kidney disease.” The doctors suggest hesperidin as a possible complementary approach to treating kidney disease.


Reference: Nature; October, 2019, S41598, Published Online

Resveratrol anti-E-coli effects

E-coli bacteria are the most common cause of urinary tract infection. The bacteria group together and attach to cells that line the walls of the bladder, making it harder for the immune system to attack. Also, E-coli have developed resistance to antibiotics. In the lab, doctors introduced trans-resveratrol, oxyresveratrol, and resveratrol oligomers into a cell culture infected with E-coli which reduced the ability of E-coli to group together and adhere to the bladder cell walls. These results suggest resveratrol may reduce E-coli infection.

Reference: T and F Online Journal; September, 2019, 1657418

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