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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8319-25. doi: 10.1021/jf800401d. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Comparison of chemical and cell-based antioxidant methods for evaluation of foods and natural products: generating multifaceted data by parallel testing using erythrocytes and polymorphonuclear cells.

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NIS Labs, 1437 Esplanade, Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601, USA.


The objective of this study was to compare three tests frequently used for evaluation of antioxidant potential in natural products: (1) oxygen radical absorbance assay (ORAC), (2) cell-based antioxidant protection in an erythrocyte model (CAP-e), and (3) reactive oxygen species formation in polymorphonuclear cells (ROS PMN). The methods were applied to four natural products, all containing antioxidants capable of entering and protecting cells in the CAP-e assay. The magnitude of this effect was not directly correlated to the ORAC value of each product. Furthermore, the products showed different effects in the ROS PMN assay. Acai provided strong inhibition of ROS formation, indicating anti-inflammatory properties. In contrast, Immunel and EpiCor mildly enhanced ROS formation, suggesting activation of the innate immune response. HA Joint Formula showed a complex, nonlinear dose-response in the ROS PMN assay. This illustrates that complex natural products may have similar antioxidant properties but different effects on human cells. Cell-based antioxidant protection is addressed best in the CAP-e assay, since some natural products contain compounds that may provoke cellular signaling in other cell types. The PMN cell type is a useful model for assessment of overall anti-inflammatory versus immune supportive properties of a product. The sequential use of the three methods serves to bridge analytical and biological testing methods.

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