Pomegranate, a rich source of antioxidants, has been linked to improved heart health, but a growing body of science indicates the fruit protect against prostate cancer. Studies have also reported a role in joint health by slowing cartilage loss in arthritis.
It is these antioxidants, and particularly ellagitannin compounds like punicalagins and punicalins, which accounts for about half of the fruit's antioxidant ability, that are reportedly behind the proposed health benefits.
The University of Florida scientists looked at the production of nanoparticles with partially purified pomegranate ellagitannins, and found that only punicalagin forms could bind with the gelatin to form particles. On the other hand, compounds like ellagic acid-hexoside and ellagic acid could not self-assemble into the nanoparticles.
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According to the new data, the loading efficiency of punicalagin A and punicalagin B in the particles was 94 percent and 84 percent, respectively, while the loading capacity of the particles for these compounds was 15 and 26 percent, respectively, added the researchers.
Having produced the nanoparticles, Dr Gu and his co-workers tested them against a line of leukemia cells. This part of the investigation found that the pomegranate-gelatin nanoparticles were less effective at inducing programmed cell death of the cancer cells than free pomegranate punicalagins when delivered as a solution.
‚ÄúWe speculated that cell uptakes of nanoparticles may be a major reason for the observed differences in apoptotic effects,‚Äù wrote the researchers. ‚ÄúOur data suggested that PPE-gelatin nanoparticles have lower toxicity than pomegranate ellagitannins,‚Äù they added.
Dr Gu confirmed that his team is current doing in vitro testing now on the absorption of the nanoparticles and that they will ‚Äúmove onto in vivo testing after this‚Äù.
Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201000528
‚ÄúFabrication of nanoparticles using partially purified pomegranate ellagitannins and gelatin and their apoptotic effects‚Äù
Authors: Z. Li, S.S. Percival, S. Bonard, L. Gu
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