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Morina D.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Morina D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Puig P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Rios J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | And 3 more authors.
Statistics in Medicine | Year: 2011

We present a model based on two-order integer-valued autoregressive time series to analyze the number of hospital emergency service arrivals caused by diseases that present seasonal behavior. We also introduce a method to describe this seasonality, on the basis of Poisson innovations with monthly means. We show parameter estimation by maximum likelihood and model validation and show several methods for forecasting, on the basis of long-time means and short-time and long-time prediction regions. We analyze an application to model the number of hospital admissions per week caused by influenza. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Arola-Arnal A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Arola-Arnal A.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Blade C.,Rovira i Virgili University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Mi(cro)RNAs are small non-coding RNAs of 18-25 nucleotides in length that modulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. These RNAs have been shown to be involved in a several biological processes, human diseases and metabolic disorders. Proanthocyanidins, which are the most abundant polyphenol class in the human diet, have positive health effects on a variety of metabolic disorders such as inflammation, obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance. The present study aimed to evaluate whether proanthocyanidin-rich natural extracts modulate miRNA expression. Using microarray analysis and Q-PCR, we investigated miRNA expression in HepG2 cells treated with proanthocyanidins. Our results showed that when HepG2 cells were treated with grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE), cocoa proanthocyanidin extract (CPE) or pure epigallocatechin gallate isolated from green tea (EGCG), fifteen, six and five differentially expressed miRNAs, respectively, were identified out of 904 mRNAs. Specifically, miR-30b* was downregulated by the three treatments, and treatment with GSPE or CPE upregulated miR-1224-3p, miR-197 and miR-532-3p. Therefore, these results provide evidence of the capacity of dietary proanthocyanidins to influence microRNA expression, suggesting a new mechanism of action of proanthocyanidins. © 2011 Arola-Arnal, Bladé.


Cereto-Massague A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Guasch L.,Rovira i Virgili University | Valls C.,Rovira i Virgili University | Mulero M.,Rovira i Virgili University | And 4 more authors.
Bioinformatics | Year: 2012

Decoys are molecules that are presumed to be inactive against a target (i.e. will not likely bind to the target) and are used to validate the performance of molecular docking or a virtual screening workflow. The Directory of Useful Decoys database (http://dud.docking.org/) provides a free directory of decoys for use in virtual screening, though it only contains a limited set of decoys for 40 targets. To overcome this limitation, we have developed an application called DecoyFinder that selects, for a given collection of active ligands of a target, a set of decoys from a database of compounds. Decoys are selected if they are similar to active ligands according to five physical descriptors (molecular weight, number of rotational bonds, total hydrogen bond donors, total hydrogen bond acceptors and the octanol-water partition coefficient) without being chemically similar to any of the active ligands used as an input (according to the Tanimoto coefficient between MACCS fingerprints). To the best of our knowledge, DecoyFinder is the first application designed to build target-specific decoy sets. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Caimari A.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Del Bas J.M.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Crescenti A.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Arola L.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Arola L.,Rovira i Virgili University
International Journal of Obesity | Year: 2013

Objective:Procyanidins are polyphenolic compounds with beneficial effects on health in relation to cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. In this study, we evaluated the potential beneficial effects of low doses of a grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) on body weight and fat deposition.Design:Four groups of hamsters were fed either a standard diet (STD) or a high-fat diet (HFD) for 30 days and supplemented with either GSPE at 25 mg per kg of body weight per day (STD-GSPE and HFD-GSPE groups) or vehicle (STD and HFD groups) during the last 15 days of the study.Results:A significant decrease in body weight gain was observed in both GSPE-treated animals at the end of the experiment. GSPE treatment significantly reduced the adiposity index and the weight of all the white adipose tissue depots studied (retroperitoneal (RWAT), mesenteric (MWAT), epididymal (EWAT) and inguinal (IWAT)) in both GSPE-treated groups. GSPE administration reversed the increase in plasma phospholipids induced by the HFD feeding. In the RWAT, GSPE treatment increased the mRNA expression of genes related to β-oxidation and the glycerolipid/free fatty acid (GL/FFA) cycle, mainly in HFD-GSPE animals. In the MWAT, the effects of GSPE at the transcriptional level were not as evident as in the RWAT. Moreover, GSPE treatment induced heparin-releasable lipoprotein lipase activity in the RWAT and MWAT depots. The alterations in the lipid metabolic pathways induced by GSPE were accompanied by lower FFA levels in the plasma and decreased lipid and triglyceride accumulation in the MWAT.Conclusion:The use of GSPE at low doses protects against fat accumulation and improves the plasma lipid profile in hamsters. We suggest that GSPE exerts these effects in part through the activation of both β-oxidation and the GL/FFA cycle, mainly in the RWAT. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Arola-Arnal A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Oms-Oliu G.,University of Lleida | Crescenti A.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | del Bas J.M.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Nutrition and Food Research | Year: 2013

Scope: Polyphenols have been demonstrated to provide health benefits affecting cellular and physiological processes. This study aims to evaluate the bioavailability and distribution of grape seed flavanol compounds during pregnancy and whether fetuses could be exposed to these compounds. Methods and results: The distribution of flavanols and their metabolites in rat plasma, liver, white adipose tissue, brain, amniotic fluid, placenta, and fetuses after 1 and 2 h of an acute intake of a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract was examined by LC-ESI-TOF/MS. Flavanols and their metabolites were widely distributed in both pregnant and nonpregnant rat plasma and tissues. In liver, the conjugated forms of flavanols were less available in pregnant than nonpregnant rats. Flavanol metabolites were abundant in maternal placenta but detected at low levels in fetuses and amniotic fluid. Conclusion: Flavanol metabolization appears to be less active in the liver during pregnancy. Moreover, data indicated that transport across the placenta is not efficient and for flavanols and their metabolites, the placenta seems to act as a barrier. However, these compounds target the fetus and are excreted in the amniotic fluid. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Cereto-Massague A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Ojeda M.J.,Rovira i Virgili University | Valls C.,Rovira i Virgili University | Mulero M.,Rovira i Virgili University | And 4 more authors.
Methods | Year: 2015

Computational target fishing methods are designed to identify the most probable target of a query molecule. This process may allow the prediction of the bioactivity of a compound, the identification of the mode of action of known drugs, the detection of drug polypharmacology, drug repositioning or the prediction of the adverse effects of a compound. The large amount of information regarding the bioactivity of thousands of small molecules now allows the development of these types of methods. In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of many methods for in silico target fishing. Most of these methods are based on the similarity principle, i.e., that similar molecules might bind to the same targets and have similar bioactivities. However, the difficult validation of target fishing methods hinders comparisons of the performance of each method. In this review, we describe the different methods developed for target prediction, the bioactivity databases most frequently used by these methods, and the publicly available programs and servers that enable non-specialist users to obtain these types of predictions. It is expected that target prediction will have a large impact on drug development and on the functional food industry. © 2014 Elsevier Inc..


Jove M.,University of Lleida | Ayala V.,University of Lleida | Ramirez-Nunez O.,University of Lleida | Serrano J.C.E.,University of Lleida | And 8 more authors.
Cardiovascular Research | Year: 2013

AimsAtherosclerosis is the main pathological process contributing to cardiovascular disease, with diet being the most important factor involved. Although the lipidome of atheromatous plaque has been studied previously, the use of comparative lipidomics and metabolomics in plasma in early atherogenesis could lead to the discovery of plasma biomarkers that allow not only disease prediction but also measurement of disease progression.Methods and resultsHigh-throughput techniques, such as liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, allowed us to compare the circulating and aortic lipidome and plasma metabolome in order to look for new molecular targets involved in atherogenesis. To achieve this objective, we chose the hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) as the best small animal model for diet-induced early atherosclerosis, because its lipoprotein metabolism is similar to that of humans. The results revealed the existence of several, previously unreported, changes in lipid and amino-acid metabolism, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ pathway, and oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress, also involving cell senescence. Furthermore, as a proof of concept in the modelling of dietary influences in atherogenesis, we have measured the effect of a potential anti-atherogenic polyphenol extract on the reported pathways. Our results support a previously unknown role for taurocholic acid as a potential plasma biomarker of early atheromatous plaque formation.ConclusionThe use of comparative liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry-based lipidomics and metabolomics allows the discovery of novel pathways in atherogenesis, as well as new potential plasma biomarkers, which could allow us to predict disease in its early stages and measure its progression. © 2012 Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2012.


Guerrero L.,Rovira i Virgili University | Guerrero L.,ALPINA S.A | Margalef M.,Rovira i Virgili University | Pons Z.,Rovira i Virgili University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry | Year: 2013

The regular consumption of flavonoids has been associated with reduced mortality and a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases. The proanthocyanidins found in plasma are very different from the original flavonoids in food sources. The use of physiologically appropriate conjugates of proanthocyanidins is essential for the in vitro analysis of flavonoid bioactivity.In this study, the effect of different proanthocyanidin-rich extracts, which were obtained from cocoa (CCX), French maritime pine bark (Pycnogenol extract, PYC) and grape seed (GSPE), on lipid homeostasis was evaluated. Hepatic human cells (HepG2 cells) were treated with 25 mg/L of CCX, PYC or GSPE. We also performed in vitro experiments to assess the effect on lipid synthesis that is induced by the bioactive GSPE proanthocyanidins using the physiological metabolites that are present in the serum of GSPE-administered rats. For this, Wistar rats were administered 1 g/kg of GSPE, and serum was collected after 2 h. The semipurified serum of GSPE-administered rats was fully characterized by liquid chromatography tandem triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-QqQ/MS2). The lipids studied in the analyses were free cholesterol (FC), cholesterol ester (CE) and triglycerides (TG).All three proanthocyanidin-rich extracts induced a remarkable decrease in the de novo lipid synthesis in HepG2 cells. Moreover, GSPE rat serum metabolites reduced the total percentage of CE, FC and particularly TG; this reduction was significantly higher than that observed in the cells directly treated with GSPE. In conclusion, the bioactivity of the physiological metabolites that are present in the serum of rats after their ingestion of a proanthocyanidin-rich extract was demonstrated in Hep G2 cells. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Caimari A.,University of the Balearic Islands | Caimari A.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Oliver P.,University of the Balearic Islands | Palou A.,University of the Balearic Islands
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry | Year: 2012

Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) hydrolyzes triacylglycerols to diacylglycerols in the first step of lipolysis, providing substrates for hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). Here we studied whether ATGL messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels were affected by 24-h cold exposure in different white adipose tissue depots and in interscapular brown adipose tissue of lean and obese Zucker rats submitted to feeding and 14-h fasting conditions. HSL mRNA expression was also studied in selected depots. In both lean and obese rats, as a general trend, cold exposure increased ATGL mRNA and protein levels in the different adipose depots, except in the brown adipose tissue of lean animals, where a decrease was observed. In lean rats, cold exposure strongly improved fasting up-regulation of ATGL expression in all the adipose depots. Moreover, in response to fasting, in cold-exposed lean rats, there was a stronger positive correlation between circulating nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and ATGL mRNA levels in the adipose depots and a higher percentage increase of circulating NEFA in comparison with control animals not exposed to cold. In obese rats, fasting-induced up-regulation of ATGL was impaired and was not improved by cold. The effects of obesity and cold exposure on HSL mRNA expression were similar to those observed for ATGL, suggesting common regulatory mechanisms for both proteins. Thus, cold exposure increases ATGL expression and improves its fasting-up-regulation in adipose tissue of lean rats. In obese rats, cold exposure also increases ATGL expression but fails to improve its regulation by fasting, which could contribute to the increased difficulty for mobilizing lipids in these animals. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Oliver P.,University of the Balearic Islands | Reynes B.,University of the Balearic Islands | Caimari A.,University of the Balearic Islands | Caimari A.,Center Tecnologic Of Nutricio lut Ctns | Palou A.,University of the Balearic Islands
Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology | Year: 2013

Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) have a great potential for nutrition and obesity studies. PBMC reflect the nutritional response of key organs involved in energy homeostasis maintenance, which is altered in the obese state. Here, we aimed to determine the usefulness of PBMC as a source of early markers of obesity. To that purpose, we analysed whether PBMC could reflect the insensitivity to changes in feeding conditions associated with obesity during the development of this pathology. Expression of key genes central to energy metabolism was measured by Q-PCR in PBMC samples of normoweight (control) and cafeteria-fed (obese) rats in feeding, fasting and refeeding conditions. Samples were obtained monthly from 2 (beginning of cafeteria diet-feeding) to 6 months of age. In general terms, expression of genes related to fatty acid synthesis (Fasn, Srebp1) and adipogenesis (Pparg) decreased with fasting and increased with refeeding. Conversely, the expression of a key gene regulating beta-oxidation (Cpt1a) and the gene for an orexigenic neuropeptide (Npy) - in accordance with their metabolic role - increased with fasting and decreased with refeeding. This expression pattern disappeared in obese rats, in which insensitivity to feeding conditions was observed after only 1 month of cafeteria diet-feeding. Thus, during development, PBMC accurately reflect nutritional regulation of energy homeostasic genes and the insensitivity to feeding associated with obesity, even in the earlier stages with a low degree of overweight. For this reason, this set of blood cells could constitute a potential source of biomarkers of early homeostatic imbalance which would be useful in nutrition studies that could help prevent the occurrence of obesity. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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