Concluding remarks by Prof. Stevens and Prof. Lynne Howells: Polyphenols 2017: Analysis, mechanistic and clinical aspects

The first part of the session dedicated to Polyphenols 2017: Analysis, mechanistic and clinical aspects was chaired by Prof. Marvin Edeas and Prof. Fred Stevens.

The second morning session was focused on polyphenol analysis and on the mechanistic effects of polyphenols in humans. Despite a severe cold, Dr. Tony Kong (Rutgers University, U.S.A.) was able to present his long-standing research on dietary polyphenols as inducers of Nrf2, a master regulator of the antioxidant defense system that stimulates the expression of an array of enzymes involved in reducing oxidative stress and in the detoxification of carcinogens. More recently, Dr. Kong’s group and others have reported that phytochemicals have the ability to attenuate hypermethylation of Nrf2’s CpG promoters, leading to inhibition of carcinogenesis. Failure of some polyphenols to activate the Nrf2 system has been linked to their lack of in vivo efficacy and to failed clinical trials.

Dr. Pedro Mena (University of Parma, Italy) argued that in vitro studies with polyphenols should be performed under experimental conditions that simulate physiological conditions. To maximize the translatability of in vitro findings to effects in animals and humans, one should take into account physiologically relevant concentrations as well as gut microbial and hepatic metabolites of polyphenols in cell culture studies.

The last speaker in the session, Dr. Ebru Cenk (University of Vienna, Austria), reported that the predominant anthocyanins in blackberry juice exerted anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the NFκB-mediated release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from lipopolysaccharide-stimulated THP-1 monocytes, but not their gut microbial metabolites, protocatechuic acid and phloroglucinol aldehyde. These findings illustrate once more that gut microbial metabolism of polyphenols could modulate polyphenol bioactivity in the (mammalian) host.

The second part of the session dedicated to Polyphenols 2017: Analysis, mechanistic and clinical aspects was chaired by Prof. Lynne Howells and Prof. Doris Marko.

Following on from an excellent morning session delineating polyphenolic interactions with gut microbiota, the afternoon’s talks centred around clinical translation of polyphenolic research across a variety of pathologies that add significantly to healthcare burdens worldwide. The talks covered a complete range of translational research approaches. This enabled the audience to get a flavour of the breadth of current strategies in place across the polyphenolic research community, that ultimately aim to make real impact in terms of preventive and therapeutic measures in human health and disease.

Topics covered included the validation of analysis platforms to assess complex physiological matrices, which provides the cornerstone to the design, robustness and thus valorisation of all future clinical studies. There were a number of exceptionally well designed cross-over studies in healthy volunteers to assess activity of key components of polyphenolic mixtures, followed by biomarker-driven studies in subjects at high risk for development of diseases such as diabetes. Beneficial anti-inflammatory and macrophage cholesterol efflux effects were shown in the more advanced disease state of coronary artery disease, and a potential role in the treatment of both primary and metastatic cancers provided an endpoint for utility within the most advanced of disease spectra. Finally, there was important reflection on the use of polyphenolics in these highly co-morbid populations  in terms of whether there is potential for polyphenolic-chemotherapy drug interactions that may alter efficacy of standard-of-care therapeutic interventions.

If you would like to know more about these presentations, you can order the abstracts book, by following this link.


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