Teaching and Research Unit

Gosford, Australia

Teaching and Research Unit

Gosford, Australia

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Beckett E.L.,University of Newcastle | Duesing K.,Food and Nutrition Flagship | Boyd L.,University of Newcastle | Yates Z.,University of Newcastle | And 3 more authors.
Food and Function | Year: 2017

Background: Bitterness is an innate aversive taste important in detecting potentially toxic substances, including alcohol. However, bitter compounds exist in many foods and beverages, and can be desirable, such as in beer. TAS2R38 is a well-studied bitter taste receptor with common polymorphisms. Some have reported relationships between TAS2R38 genotypes, bitter taste phenotype and alcohol intake, however results have been mixed. These mixed results may be explained by the varying taste properties of different alcoholic beverages or a sex dimorphism in responses. Methods: Bitter taste phenotype was assessed using PROP taste test and TAS2R38-P49A genotype was assessed by RFLP-PCR. Alcohol intake was assessed by food frequency questionnaire and classified by beverage type (beer, wine, spirits or mixed drinks). The relationships between bitter taste phenotype and carriage of the P allele of the TAS2R38-A49P gene and alcohol intake were assessed adjusted for and stratified by sex, and the interaction between taste and sex was evaluated. Results: The relationship between alcohol intake and bitter taste phenotype varied by beverage type, with significant results for beer, spirits and mixed drinks, but not wine. When stratified, results varied by sex, and were only significant in males. Significant interactions were found for taster phenotype and sex (total alcohol intake and intake of beer and spirits). Results were similar for carriage of the TAS2R38-P49A P allele. Conclusions: Sex-specific interactions between bitter taste phenotype, TAS2R38 genotype and alcohol intake may explain variance in previous studies and may have implications for sex-specific disease risk and public health interventions. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Beckett E.L.,University of Newcastle | Beckett E.L.,CSIRO | Martin C.,University of Newcastle | Duesing K.,CSIRO | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics | Year: 2014

Background and Aims: Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are linked to disease and are potential biomarkers. Vitamin D may modulate miRNA profiles, and vitamin D status has been linked to risk of disease, including cardiovascular disease and cancers. We hypothesise that genotypic variance influences these relationships. We examined the correlations between vitamin D intake and circulating levels of the miRNAs let-7a/b, and the involvement of two common vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms, BsmI and ApaI. Methods: Two hundred participants completed food frequency and supplement questionnaires, and were assayed for circulating let-7b expression by qPCR. Polymorphisms were detected using restriction fragment length polymorphism-PCR. Results: let-7b expression negatively correlated with vitamin D intake (rs = -0.20, p = 0.005). The magnitude and direction of correlation were maintained in the presence of the BsmI restriction site (rs = -0.27, p = 0.0005). However, in the absence of BsmI restriction site, the direction of the correlation was reversed (rs = +0.319, p = 0.0497). These correlations were significantly different (z-score = 2.64, p = 0.0085). The correlation between vitamin D intake and let-7a was only significant in those without the ApaI restriction site. Conclusions: The correlation between vitamin D intake and let-7a/b expression in this cohort varies with VDR genotype. This study highlights the importance of considering underlying genotypic variance in miRNA expression studies and in nutritional epigenetics generally. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.


PubMed | Villanueva Norte Health Center, La Paz University Health Center, Teaching and Research Unit, Teaching unit and Urbano 1 Health Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners | Year: 2014

The influence of socioeconomic development is often disregarded in epidemiological studies into the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors.To analyse the relationship between major cardiovascular risk factors and socioeconomic indicators.Cross-sectional, population-wide study in primary care practices in the health area of Don Benito-Villanueva de la Serena, Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain.A total of 2833 people aged 25-79 years (mean age 51.2 years), representative of the population, participated in the study. The prevalence and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for diabetes, arterial hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolaemia, smoking, and sedentary behaviour, according to level of education and employment status.A high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors related to the level of education and employment status. Females who had not studied at university had a higher risk of obesity (OR = 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5 to 4.2), smoking (OR 2.5, 95% CI = 1.7 to 3.7), and sedentary behaviour (OR = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.5 to 3.9) than females with a university education. Males who had not studied at university showed an increased risk of smoking (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.4 to 3.1), arterial hypertension (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.4), hypercholesterolaemia (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.2), and obesity (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.3) than males with a university education. The risk of obesity was higher in unemployed females than those in paid employment (OR =1.4, 95% CI = 1.1 to 1.9), but they showed a lower risk of smoking (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5 to 0.9).The study results confirm an inverse association between the level of education and the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors. Public health studies and interventions are needed to understand this association and develop interventions targeted at the population that is at greatest risk.


Choi J.-H.,University of Newcastle | Choi J.-H.,Chonnam National University | Yates Z.,University of Newcastle | Veysey M.,Teaching and Research Unit | And 2 more authors.
Preventive Nutrition and Food Science | Year: 2014

The impact of folate on health and disease, particularly pregnancy complications and congenital malformations, has been extensively studied. Mandatory folic acid fortification therefore has been implemented in multiple countries, resulting in a reduction in the occurrence of neural tube defects. However, emerging evidence suggests increased folate intake may also be associated with unexpected adverse effects. This literature review focuses on contemporary issues of concern, and possible underlying mechanisms as well as giving consideration the future direction of mandatory folic acid fortification. Folate fortification has been associated with the presence of unmetabolized folic acid (PteGlu) in blood, masking of vitamin B12 deficiency, increased dosage for anti-cancer medication, photo-catalysis of PteGlu leading to potential genotoxicity, and a role in the pathoaetiology of colorectal cancer. Increased folate intake has also been associated with twin birth and insulin resistance in offspring, and altered epigenetic mechanisms of inheritance. Although limited data exists to elucidate potential mechanisms underlying these issues, elevated blood folate level due to the excess use of PteGlu without consideration of an individual's specific phenotypic traits (e.g. genetic background and undiagnosed disease) may be relevant. Additionally, the accumulation of unmetabolized PteGlu may lead to inhibition of dihydrofolate reductase and other enzymes. Concerns notwithstanding, folic acid fortification has achieved enormous advances in public health. It therefore seems prudent to target and carefully monitor high risk groups, and to conduct well focused further research to better understand and to minimize any risk of mandatory folic acid fortification. Copyright © 2014 by The Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition. All rights Reserved.


Yates Z.,University of Newcastle | Lucock M.,University of Newcastle | Veysey M.,Teaching and Research Unit | Choi J.-H.,University of Newcastle
Journal of Nutrition and Health | Year: 2016

Purpose: The initiation of mandatory folic acid fortification using pteroylmonoglutamic acid (PteGlu) has reduced the rate of congenital malformations. However, it also appears to be responsible for several adverse effects, including increased cancer incidence. This may be related to physicho-chemical characteristics of PteGlu. This study examines the potential effect of high concentrations of PteGlu on a population subjected to mandatory folic acid fortification using an in vitro model. Methods: Caco-2 (colorectal cancer) and MCF7 (breast cancer) cell lines were cultured at 6 different PteGlu concentrations (0, 0.1, 1, 50, 250, and 500μg/ml) for 6 days. Cell growth was determined using thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide assay. The genotype of dihydrofolate reductase 19bp deletion/insertion (DHFR 19-del) was also scored in cell lines using a restriction fragment length polymorphism technique to examine whether genetic variations may factor in cell proliferation. Results: PteGlu exhibited differential growth promoting properties between cell lines. Caco-2 cells did not show a significant growth difference at low concentrations compared to control, however, at higher concentrations, the growth showed a contrasting trend in the early experimental period, while MCF7 showed enhanced cell growth at all concentrations. The DHFR 19-del genotype differed in the two cell lines. Conclusions: Altered response to PteGlu by Caco-2 and MCF7 may reflect a tissue specific disease aetiology or genotype specific differential enzyme activity, for example by DHFR, to critical levels of PteGlu. As folic acid fortification is a blanket intervention, and DHFR and other enzyme activities vary between individuals, PteGlu intake may have an as yet undefined effect on health. These findings may be relevant when considering mandatory folic acid fortification for disease prevention. © 2016 The Korean Nutrition Society.


Lucock M.,University of Newcastle | Yates Z.,University of Newcastle | Boyd L.,University of Newcastle | Naylor C.,University of Newcastle | And 8 more authors.
European Journal of Nutrition | Year: 2013

Purpose: Folate-related nutrient-nutrient and nutrient-gene interactions modify disease risk; we therefore examined synergistic relationships between dietary folic acid, vitamin C and variant folate genes with respect to red cell folate status. Methods: Two hundred and twelve subjects were examined using chemiluminescent immunoassay, PCR and food frequency questionnaire to determine red cell and serum folate, 14 folate gene polymorphisms, dietary folate (natural and synthetic) and vitamin C. Results: When examined independently, synthetic PteGlu correlates best with red cell folate at higher levels of intake (p = 0.0102), while natural 5CH3-H4-PteGlun correlates best with red cell folate at lower levels of intake (p = 0.0035). However, dietary vitamin C and 5CH3-H4-PteGlun interact synergistically to correlate with red cell folate at higher levels of intake (p = 0.0005). No interaction between dietary vitamin C and PteGlu was observed. This 'natural' nutrient-nutrient interaction may provide an alternative to synthetic PteGlu supplementation that is now linked to adverse phenomena/health outcomes. On its own, vitamin C also correlates with red cell folate (p = 0.0150) and is strongly influenced by genetic variation in TS, MTHFR and MSR, genes critical for DNA and methionine biosynthesis that underpin erythropoiesis. Similarly, dietary vitamin C and 5CH3-H 4-PteGlun act synergistically to modify red cell folate status according to variation in folate genes: of note, heterozygosity for 2R3R-TS (p = 0.0181), SHMT (p = 0.0046) and all three MTHFR SNPs (p = 0.0023, 0.0015 and 0.0239 for G1793A, C677T and A1298C variants, respectively) promote a significant association with red cell folate. Again, all these genes are critical for nucleic acid biosynthesis. Folate variants with the strongest independent effect on folate status were C677T-MTHFR (p = 0.0004) and G1793A-MTHFR (p = 0.0173). Conclusions: 5CH3-H4- PteGlun assimilation and variant folate gene expression products may be critically dependent on dietary vitamin C. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Galindo M.J.,Ramon y Cajal Primary Care Health Center | Quirce S.,Hospital La Paz Health Research Institute IdiPAZ | Garcia Olmos L.,Teaching and Research Unit
Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2011

Background: Health care workers represent one of the major risk groups for developing latex allergy. Most studies have examined hospital workers. The aims of this study were to analyze the prevalence of latex allergy in primary care providers and to describe the characteristics of health care workers who are allergic to latex. Material and methods: A self-administered questionnaire on work activity, history of symptoms, and allergic reactions to latex products was completed by a sample of primary care workers. Skin prick tests were performed with a commercial latex extract, and serum specifi c immunoglobulin (Ig) E to latex and its main allergens was determined. Results: Of the 620 workers contacted, 341 completed the questionnaire and 170 were tested with latex allergens. The prevalence of latex allergy was 5.9% (95% confi dence interval 2.4%-9.4%). Most allergic workers with a previous diagnosis of latex allergy showed negative or lowered specifi c IgE levels and a reduced wheal size to latex in comparison with the previous tests. We found 3 cases with elevated latex-specifi c IgE due to cross-reactivity with pollen profi lin, although the results were not clinically relevant. Allergy to latex was associated with the number of surgical interventions and with allergy to kiwi, banana, chestnuts, and avocado. Conclusions: The prevalence of latex allergy in this study was 5.9%. The importance of a firm diagnosis at the onset of symptoms should be stressed, since reducing contact with latex can yield negative test results. Assessment of IgE reactivity to the individual latex allergens (component-resolved diagnosis) can detect sensitization to panallergens such as profi lin and help to clarify the diagnosis. © 2011 Esmon Publicidad.


Beckett E.L.,University of Newcastle | Beckett E.L.,CSIRO | Yates Z.,University of Newcastle | Veysey M.,Teaching and Research Unit | And 2 more authors.
Nutrition Research Reviews | Year: 2014

A growing number of studies in recent years have highlighted the importance of molecular nutrition as a potential determinant of health and disease. In particular, the ability of micronutrients to regulate the final expression of gene products via modulation of transcription and translation is now being recognised. Modulation of microRNA (miRNA) by nutrients is one pathway by which nutrition may mediate gene expression. MiRNA, a class of non-coding RNA, can directly regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. In addition, miRNA are able to indirectly influence gene expression potential at the transcriptional level via modulation of the function of components of the epigenetic machinery (DNA methylation and histone modifications). These mechanisms interact to form a complex, bi-directional regulatory circuit modulating gene expression. Disease-specific miRNA profiles have been identified in multiple disease states, including those with known dietary risk factors. Therefore, the role that nutritional components, in particular, vitamins and minerals, play in the modulation of miRNA profiles, and consequently health and disease, is increasingly being investigated, and as such is a timely subject for review. The recently posited potential for viable exogenous miRNA to enter human blood circulation from food sources adds another interesting dimension to the potential for dietary miRNA to contribute to gene modulation. © 2014 The Authors.


Palomo L.,Teaching and Research Unit | Felix-Redondo F.-J.,Villanueva Norte Health Center | Lozano-Mera L.,Urbano 1 Health Center | Perez-Castan J.-F.,Teaching unit | And 2 more authors.
British Journal of General Practice | Year: 2014

Background: The influence of socioeconomic development is often disregarded in epidemiological studies into the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors. Aim: To analyse the relationship between major cardiovascular risk factors and socioeconomic indicators. Design and setting: Cross-sectional, population-wide study in primary care practices in the health area of Don Benito-Villanueva de la Serena, Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain. Method: A total of 2833 people aged 25-79 years (mean age 51.2 years), representative of the population, participated in the study. The prevalence and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for diabetes, arterial hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolaemia, smoking, and sedentary behaviour, according to level of education and employment status. Results: A high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors related to the level of education and employment status. Females who had not studied at university had a higher risk of obesity (OR = 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5 to 4.2), smoking (OR 2.5, 95% CI = 1.7 to 3.7), and sedentary behaviour (OR = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.5 to 3.9) than females with a university education. Males who had not studied at university showed an increased risk of smoking (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.4 to 3.1), arterial hypertension (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.4), hypercholesterolaemia (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.2), and obesity (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.3) than males with a university education. The risk of obesity was higher in unemployed females than those in paid employment (OR =1.4, 95% CI = 1.1 to 1.9), but they showed a lower risk of smoking (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5 to 0.9). Conclusion :The study results confirm an inverse association between the level of education and the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors. Public health studies and interventions are needed to understand this association and develop interventions targeted at the population that is at greatest risk. © British Journal of General Practice.


Lucock M.,University of Newcastle | Yates Z.,University of Newcastle | Martin C.,University of Newcastle | Choi J.-H.,University of Newcastle | And 5 more authors.
Genes and Nutrition | Year: 2013

Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is a gaseous signalling molecule that regulates blood flow and pressure. It is synthesised from cysteine via cystathionine β-synthase and cystathionine γ-lyase. We examined whether thiol precursors of H2S, transsulphuration pathway gene variants (CBS-844ins68 and CTH-G1364T) and key B-vitamin cofactors might be critical determinants of hypertension in an elderly Australian population. An elderly Australian retirement village population (n = 228; age 65-96 years, 91 males and 137 females) was assessed for the prevalence of two transsulphuration pathway-related variant genes associated with cysteine synthesis and hence H2S production. Thiols were determined by HPLC, genotypes by PCR and dietary intake by food frequency questionnaire. Homocysteine levels were statistically higher in the hypertensive phenotype (p = 0.0399), but there was no difference for cysteine or glutathione. Using nominal logistic regression, cysteine, CTH-G1364T genotype, dietary synthetic folate and vitamin B 6 predicted clinical phenotype (determined as above/below 140/90 mm Hg) and then only in female subjects (p = 0.0239, 0.0178, 0.0249 and 0.0371, respectively). Least-squares regression supports cysteine being highly inversely predictive of diastolic blood pressure: p and r 2 values <0.0001 and 0.082; 0.0409 and 0.046; and <0.0001 and 0.113 for all subjects, males and females, respectively. Additionally, CTH-G1364T genotype predicts diastolic blood pressure in males (p = 0.0217; r 2 = 0.083), but contrasts with observations for females. Overall, analyses, including stepwise regression, suggest cysteine, dietary natural and synthetic folate, vitamins B6 and B12, and both genetic variants (CTH-C1364T and CBS-844ins68) are all aetiologically relevant in the regulation of blood pressure. Hydrogen sulphide is a vasorelaxant gasotransmitter with characteristics similar to nitric oxide. Cysteine and the G1364T and 844ins68 variants of the cystathionine γ-lyase and cystathionine β-synthase genes, respectively, are the biological determinants of H2S synthesis, and all three are shown here to influence the hypertensive phenotype. Additionally, B-vitamin cofactors for these three enzymes may also be important determinants of blood pressure. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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