Reduced mitochondrial function and, consequently, availability of cellular energy in the form of ATP, particularly in brain cells, are hallmarks of ageing. Frequent consumption of phytochemicals, such as curcumin, is thought to aid in the prevention of age-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction.
There is a need for animal models that display some of the pathological features of human brain aging in order to study its prevention by dietary factors. We examined the suitability of the fast-ageing SAMP8 mouse strain and its normally ageing control strain SAMR1 as a model for the age-dependent changes in mitochondrial function in the brain. Seven months old SAMP8 mice had significantly lower mitochondrial membrane potentials and ATP concentrations in dissociated brain cells than SAMR1 mice. Dietary curcumin partly prevented the mitochondrial dysfunction in SAMP8 mice by enhancing mitochondrial fusion and inducing PGC1α. Hence, SAMP8 compared to SAMR1 mice are a suitable model to study age-dependent changes in mitochondrial function and curcumin emerges as a promising nutraceutical for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases that are accompanied or caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.
The television station NDR, as part of their programme Visite, aired a segment on the health-beneficial properties of curcuma, for which the journalist Judith König and her camera team filmed in our laboratory in Hohenheim and interviewed professor Frank.
See Media for further information and a link to the video.
Professor Frank has joined the Editorial Board of BioFactors, an official publication of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), where he serves as editor since January 2013.
BioFactors (Impact Factor 4.933) is aimed at increasing our understanding of the precise biochemical effects and roles of the large number of trace substances that are required by living organisms. These include vitamins and trace elements, as well as growth factors and regulatory substances made by cells themselves.
It has been hypothesised that the intake of high doses of vitamin E may induce the expression of enzymes involved in xenobiotic metabolism, particularly cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYP), and may thus alter the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of prescription drugs. Our previous research, however, suggested that
CYP expression is not altered by vitamin E. In order to test the hypothesis that high-dose vitamin E intake may affect the activity of the most commonly prescribed lipid-lowering drug atorvastatin, we fed guinea pigs a Western type diet (high-fat control) and treated them with either atorvastatin or RRR-alpha-tocopherol alone or in combination. The vitamin did neither alter the expression of CYP, nor the metabolism of atorvastatin. Accordingly, the cholesterol-lowering activity of the drug was unchanged during high-dose vitamin E treatment. The work has been accepted for publication in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology and can be read here.
SFRR-E / IUBMB Advanced School "Dietary factors and redox signalling"
The bi-annual summer school of the Society for Free Radical Research - Europe, which was co-sponsored by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) and COST action CM1001, was held and successfully completed on Spetses in Greece. A big Thank you! goes to all the speakers, who gave interesting lectures, the students for their interesting poster presentations, questions and discussions, and the sponsors for providing the financial resources for this summer school.
Dr Frank is now Co-Editor Europe for the scientific journal Nutrition
Dr Frank was appointed as co-editor for the Elsevier journal Nutrition and will handle manuscript submissions from Western European countries. Nutrition publishes advances in nutrition research and science, informs about new and advancing technologies and new data in clinical nutrition practice, encourages the application of the techniques of outcomes research and meta-analyses to problems in patient-related nutrition; and seeks to help clarify and set the research, policy and practice agenda for nutrition science to enhance human well-being.
The 2011 Impact Factor for Nutrition is 3.025.
We developed and validated the first reversed-phase HPLC method for the baseline separation of all eight vitamin E congeners.
The developed method uses a solid-core pentafluorophenyl stationary phase and achieves baseline separation of all eight vitamin E congeners within 15 min at a backpressure of 23 MPa, which is suitable for most conventional HPLC systems. The method is fast, linear, accurate, and precise with detection limits of 27-156 pg and good recoveries (82-122%) for all analytes.
How come grandma has wrinkles?
Why do children have smooth skin, while the skin of older people, grandparents for example, is less elastic and has wrinkles? What happens in our organism during aging? Perhaps a look into our body can help answering thesequestions? Our body is built from 100 000 000 000 000 minute building blocks called cells, which are constantly newly built, modified, and degraded. These processes require energy, which is generated by the "power plants" of the cells, the mitochondria. Within the cell, in the so-called nucleus, is contained a blueprint for the construction of new cells. What happens throughout the course of our life with these power plants and the blueprint? Doctor Frank takes us on a journey through our body, which is under constant change.
As part of the Children's University organized by the University of Hohenheim in cooperation with the Stuttgarter Zeitung, Dr. Frank gave a lecture on the theories of aging - adapted for children from 8-12 y. A video of the lecture can be viewed on the internet. Please visit the website of the Children's University for further information.
New Impact Factor 2011
The Impact Factor of "Plant Foods for Human Nutrition", a peer-reviewed scientific journal where Dr. Frank serves on the editorial board, increased to 2.505.
All colleagues who wish to publish original research or critical reviews concerning the evaluation or improvement of the nutritional quality of plant foods (e.g. health beneficial effects of bioactive ingredients or novel formulations, development of functional foods etc.) are invited to submit their manuscripts via the online submission system of the journal.