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Dietary Small Molecules and Large-Scale Gene Expression Studies: An Experimental Approach for Understanding their Beneficial Effects on the Development of Malignant and Non-Malignant Proliferative Diseases

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Epidemiological studies have repeatedly demonstrated a correlation between nutrition, development and the severity of malignant and non-malignant proliferative diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. Therefore, the prevention of chronic proliferative diseases through dietary intervention is currently receiving considerable attention. Until now, much of the research is being focused on the cellular and molecular action mechanisms of dietary small molecules explaining their beneficial effects. Dietary chemicals may affect gene expression in several human diseases. However, significant progress has been made and several molecular action mechanisms have been proposed. Alteration of genetical pathways by nutrition, also called "Nutrigenomics", may offer a new approach for understanding the beneficial effects of dietary compounds on the development of severe polygenic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. This review focuses on the nutritional genomics of dietary chemicals with a special emphasis on catechins. Catechins belong to the flavonoid family, which are polyphenolic compounds available in foods of plant origin. Several epidemiological studies have reported that consumption of flavonoids, and especially catechins might function as chemopreventive agents against cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
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Keywords: 3-methycholanthrene (3-MC); Membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MMP); Nutritional genomics; epidermal growth factor (EGF); green tea extract (GTE); tyrosine phosphorylation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Institute of Neurophysiology, Robert-Koch Strasse 39, Cologne, Germany.

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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