New LPI Pilot Project Awards

One-year pilot project awards of $20,000 are made to OSU investigators to fund innovative research aligned with LPI’s mission that has not yet generated enough data to qualify for federal or other extramural funding. Four new pilot project awards were announced in April 2003.

Dr. Bill Baird, Professor of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, will investigate the potential inhibitory effect of red raspberry extracts on the cellular uptake of chemical carcinogens from cigarette smoke known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). DNA damage by PAHs will be measured and the protective constituents of red raspberry extracts will then be identified.

Dr. John Hays, Professor of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, and Dr. Andrew Buermeyer, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, plan to study the role of folate deficiency in DNA repair. Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory disease associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, is often accompanied by mild folate deficiency, which may contribute to imperfect DNA mismatch repair.

Dr. Emily Ho, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Food Management and LPI Scientist, will investigate zinc status in human prostate cells. Of all organs in the body, the prostate has the highest concentration of zinc, and decreased prostate zinc levels are associated with cancer. The goals of this project are to determine the effect of zinc on oxidative damage to DNA in prostate cells and the effect of zinc supplementation on the growth of cancer cells.

Dr. Fred Stevens, Assistant Professor (Senior Research) of Chemistry, will examine reactions between some physiological antioxidants, including vitamin C, glutathione, and uric acid, and lipid hydroperoxides formed from the oxidation of dietary linoleic acid, which is the major omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid in human tissues and plasma. Antioxidants may convert lipid hydroperoxides, which cause damage to proteins and DNA, into harmless products.

Four pilot project awards were made in 2002:

Dr. Weijian Zhang, LPI Assistant Professor (Senior Research), studied the role of transition metal ions like iron and copper in the early events of atherosclerosis. In particular, he investigated the effect of these metals and metal chelators on the expression of adhesion molecules in endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. Adhesion molecules interact with circulating white blood cells and enhance their migration into the blood vessel wall, a critical event in the development of atherosclerotic plaque. See the article by Dr. Zhang in the LPI Spring/Summer 2003 Research Report for detailed information.

Dr. Gary Merrill, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, investigated the role of a selenium-containing enzyme, thioredoxin reductase, in the induction of the tumor suppressor gene p53, which encodes a protein that stimulates cell death, DNA repair, or cell cycle arrest, thus inhibiting cancer. Mutations in p53 are associated with cancer, and selenium status may affect its activity. Dr. Merrill has studied thioredoxin reductase in yeast; in this project he used human cells.

Dr. Régis Moreau, LPI Research Associate, examined age-related myocardial dysfunction in rats and its potential prevention with acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid. Cells in the heart muscle exist in a highly oxygenated environment, and oxidative damage to the mitochondrial machinery, including enzymes involved in the generation of chemical energy, may result in the impairment of heart function. Dr. Moreau’s study was funded by the Collins Medical Trust.

Dr. Gayle Orner, LPI Assistant Professor (Senior Research), studied the modulation of intestinal cancer in mice by chlorophyllin, which has previously been shown to bind to aflatoxin and possibly inhibit liver cancer in humans. In this project, Dr. Orner examined earlier results showing a paradoxical dose-response effect of chlorophyllin on colon cancer in rats and focused on the possible effect of chlorophyllin on gene activity associated with the development of colorectal cancer.

Last updated November, 2003

Micronutrient Research for Optimum Health

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