Dietary supplementation tigernuts attenuated atherosclerotic lesion

This is the finding of a study that was made by Mohamed Labib Salem (Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC), Mohsen Zommara (Department of Dairy Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Tanta University, Kafr El-Scheikh, Egypt) and K. Imaizumi (Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan).

"Dietary supplementation tigernuts attenuated atherosclerotic lesion in apolipoprotein E knockout mouse associated with inhibition of inflammatory cell responses."

This study was published in the year 2005 by the American Journal of Immunology, pages 60 to 67 with ISSN 1553-619X. The Atherosclerosis is a pathological process, which gives rise to fatty streak lesions within arteries that are foci of macrophage (Mo)-derived foam cells trapped beneath the endothelial-cell lining of the artery.

A larger number of plants and their isolated constituents have been shown to modulate immunity.

Some medicinal plants have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and anti-cancer effects by modulating the immune functions. Cyperus esculentus L, known as tiger nut or chufa, plant is a member of the grass family Cyperaceae to which nut sedge weeds also belong. Chufa tubers are daily ingredients of the diet of many people in Spain. In Spain the tubers are consumed mainly as a drink called locally “horchata de chufa” (chufa milk).

The tubers of this plant are known by several names, such as tiger nut, earthnut, earth almond, rush nut, and chufa.

The tubers contain about 25% oil, which are resistant to peroxidation, 50% digestible carbohydrates, 4% protein and 9% crude fiber.

In the study they found that feeding ApoE-/- mice with whole tiger nut tuber significantly inhibited the atherosclerotic lesions in these mice.

The results of this study seem to be the first to show that tiger nut can modulate the number, proliferation and activation of inflammatory cells, ameliorating the inflammatory responses.

These results provide a new avenue for the natural remedy-based treatment of inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis, by the active ingredients of this plant.

"Abstract of the study: Atherosclerosis is a pathological process, where recruitment of mononuclear cells results in the growth of fibro-fatty plaques. Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is a legend for the uptake of lipoproteins, and deficiency of ApoE leads to the accumulation of low-density lipoprotein. Utilizing ApoE-/- mouse, which spontaneously develop atherosclerosis on low-fat chow diets, the present study showed that feeding these mice on a diet supplemented with the whole tubers of Cyperus esculentus L (tiger nut) resulted in attenuation of the development of atherosclerotic lesions. The anti-atherosclerotic effect was associated with a decrease in the number of monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells in blood, and the expression of IL-2R! and LFA-1 by these cells. Further, in vitro proliferation of blood and spleen cells from tiger nut-fed ApoE-/- mice showed lower proliferation in responses to ConA and LPS, a T and B cell mitogen, respectively. Further, in vitro treatment of blood and spleen cells with water or ethanol extracts of tiger nut markedly increased their proliferation in response to ConA. Collectively, these data indicate that ingredients of tiger nut tubers exhibit anti-inflammatory properties upon inflammation, and immunostimulatory effects in immunocompetent hosts."

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