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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:782461. doi: 10.1155/2013/782461. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Metabolic syndrome and inflammation: a critical review of in vitro and clinical approaches for benefit assessment of plant food supplements.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Balzaretti 9, 20133 Milan, Italy.


Metabolic syndrome is defined as the clustering in an individual of several metabolic abnormalities associated with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, in which low-grade chronic inflammatory activity is commonly observed. Part of the European Project PlantLIBRA is concerned with methods to assess the benefits of plant food supplements (PFSs) in countering inflammatory activity and metabolic syndrome. This paper summarizes the current methods used for benefit assessment of PFS, taking into consideration only in vitro, in silico, and clinical methodologies used to investigate the anti-inflammatory properties of plants. No in silico studies (using computer simulation) related to metabolic syndrome were found; these methods appear to be used exclusively for identifying or testing potentially effective compounds in drug development. Most in vitro methods for the assessment of beneficial effects of botanicals or plant food supplements in diabetes were based on a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), whereas the preferred kind of clinical study was the double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. Only two parameters were observed to change after treatment with botanicals in both in vitro and in vivo studies: interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor- ╬▒ , and these biomarkers should be carefully considered in future studies for PFS benefit assessment.

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