Creating Antioxidant Nanoparticles from Burdock to Protect Liver Cells

Jim Crocker
31st March, 2024

Creating Antioxidant Nanoparticles from Burdock to Protect Liver Cells

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers created nanoparticles to enhance delivery of cancer-fighting compounds in the body
  • Modified plant sugars improved stability and delivery of these compounds compared to natural forms
  • The new method could help in treating diseases like lung cancer by using plant antioxidants
Lung adenocarcinoma, a prevalent form of lung cancer, is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. Its progression often involves severe symptoms and complications, such as functional decline and cachexia—a wasting syndrome characterized by weight loss and muscle atrophy. Traditional treatments may be complemented by dietary interventions, particularly those involving natural compounds with antioxidant properties. In this context, scientists have been investigating the potential of phytochemicals, plant-derived compounds, to modulate cancer progression. A previous study[2] found that quercetin, a flavonoid, and 5 caffeoylquinic acid, a chlorogenic acid, could delay the development of lung adenocarcinoma in mice, with quercetin showing stronger effects in improving body weight and acting as an antioxidant in the liver and kidneys. Chlorogenic acids, which include caffeoylquinic acids, are known for their health-promoting properties, particularly as antioxidants[3]. These compounds are abundant in coffee and have been shown to undergo metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract and colon, potentially contributing to health benefits for consumers. The metabolism involves the gut microbiota, which plays a vital role in breaking down these compounds into various metabolites. Building on this knowledge, researchers at Shandong Agricultural University[1] have developed a novel way to harness the health benefits of chlorogenic acids using polysaccharides from burdock, a plant with a long history in traditional medicine. Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules that can have various health benefits, including antioxidant activity. In the food industry, they can be modified to enhance their properties, as seen with polyethylene glycol (PEG)[4]. PEG can be used in combination with polysaccharides to improve their functions, such as in food packaging and nutrient delivery applications. In the Shandong Agricultural University study, scientists created nanoparticles by combining chlorogenic acids with both natural and modified burdock polysaccharides. These nanoparticles were designed to enhance the stability and delivery of chlorogenic acids in the body. The researchers focused on two specific chlorogenic acids: chlorogenic acid (CA) and isochlorogenic acid A (ICA), which were encapsulated within burdock polysaccharide (BP) and modified burdock polysaccharide (MBP) nanoparticles. The study revealed that the modified burdock polysaccharides had a higher capacity to load chlorogenic acids compared to the natural form. Interestingly, these complex nanoparticles showed excellent stability under various conditions of pH, temperature, and ionic concentration, with the modified versions (MBP-CA and MBP-ICA) being particularly stable. This stability is crucial for ensuring that the chlorogenic acids reach the parts of the body where they can be most beneficial without degrading. Moreover, the nanoparticles protected the chlorogenic acids from being released in the gastric fluid, indicating that they could survive the acidic environment of the stomach and be released further down the digestive system. This targeted release could maximize the absorption and effectiveness of the chlorogenic acids. When tested on liver cells damaged by hydrogen peroxide, a common oxidative stress agent, all six samples (BP, MBP, BP-CA, MBP-CA, BP-ICA, and MBP-ICA) demonstrated high antioxidant activity. The antioxidant properties of these complexes could potentially counteract the oxidative stress associated with various diseases, including cancer. The findings from this study suggest that polysaccharides could serve as natural carriers for hydrophobic (water-repelling) bioactive molecules like chlorogenic acids. By improving the delivery and stability of these compounds, researchers hope to enhance their therapeutic potential, particularly in the context of diseases where oxidative stress plays a role, such as cancer. In summary, this research expands on previous studies[2][3][4] by developing a new delivery system for chlorogenic acids that could be used as a dietary intervention to potentially modulate diseases like lung adenocarcinoma. The innovative use of burdock polysaccharides as carriers for these bioactive compounds could pave the way for future food-based therapies that capitalize on the natural health benefits of plant-derived antioxidants.

MedicineBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Fabrication of caffeoylquinic acid-loaded burdock polysaccharide nanoparticles and their antioxidant activity in hydrogen peroxide-damaged HepaRG cells.

Published 30th June, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Pharmacological Activity of Quercetin and 5 Caffeoylquinic Acid Oral Intake in Male Balb/c Mice with Lung Adenocarcinoma.

3) Chlorogenic acids and the acyl-quinic acids: discovery, biosynthesis, bioavailability and bioactivity.

4) Effect of polyethylene glycol on polysaccharides: From molecular modification, composite matrixes, synergetic properties to embeddable application in food fields.

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