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Nutraceutics in the pathological condition of cachetic rats: effects of supplementation with leucine and lyophilised extract of acerola on tumour and muscle tissue responses

Grant number: 22/10248-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2023
Effective date (End): July 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Nutrition - Malnutrition and Physiological Development
Principal Investigator:Maria Cristina Cintra Gomes Marcondes
Grantee:Ianca Carneiro Ferreira
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/02739-4 - Nutrition and cancer: study of molecular, proteomic and metabolomic aspects of experimental model of cachexia, AP.TEM


Cancer cachexia is a systemic multifactorial syndrome that alters several metabolic pathways, mainly characterised by intense protein spoliation of skeletal muscle. This syndrome depends on cancer progression, since at least 80% of patients can be affected and could be responsible for about 30% of all cancer-related deaths. Identifying treatments that can help to improve the quality of life is necessary. Therefore, this work aims to develop a supplement formulated with the amino acid leucine and a standardised aqueous extract of acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.), since we hypothesised that leucine supplementation and acerola lyophilised extract would slow the progression of cancer cachexia, reducing inflammation and also improving muscle protein synthesis. The branched-chain amino acid leucine acts as cell signalling, and many pre-clinical studies show its positive effects. Acerola is rich in bioactive substances, highly produced in Brazil, easy to handle, and economically accessible. For this purpose, the acerola lyophilised aqueous extract will be prepared and standardized in terms of phenolic constituents. The qualitative and quantitative chemical characterization of phenolic substances present in the standardized extract, will be carried out by HPLC-UV/DAD-ESI/MS. In vitro analyzes will be performed to evaluate the antiproliferative and antitumoral potential of the extract. Based on these results, tests conducted using a cell culture model and an animal model will verify whether leucine and acerola can modulate the tumor's deleterious effects, using muscle and tumour tissues molecular analyses. (AU)

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