Mangosteen Xanthone inhibits gene activity in brain tumor cells

January 19, 2006

The fruit hull of the Mangosteen has been used to treat skin infections, wounds, and diarrhea in South East Asia for many years. These researchers added the xanthone, gamma-mangostin to rat glioma brain cancer cells. The Mangosteen xanthone potently inhibited the conversion of arachadonic acid to an inflammatory prostaglandin known as PGE2, it also inhibited the release of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme (in brain cancer cells this could inhibit the transcription of genetic material slowing down the cancer cells). The study was performed at the Graduate School fo Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tohohu University in Japan and is published in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology.

This is a much more useful study than is readily apparent. The COX-2 enzyme is active in many diseases. It is linked to decreased survival in cancer and increased ability of a tumor to metastasize because COX-2 and PGE2 allow the tumor to create its own transport system of blood vessels. COX-2 is active in cancers of the breast, colon, skin, bladder, esophagus, and pancreas. COX-2 plays a major role in inflammation and it also causes brain damage in Alzheimer's disease. COX-2 is involved with menstrual pain and other inflammation related conditions, but its best known role is in arthritis and joint damage.

Melatonin may help hair growth in women with male pattern baldness

The hair goes through a cycle of growth and replacement. The male hormone DHT has a well known influence on the hair cycle; melatonin has been reported to have a beneficial effect on hair growth in animals. These researchers examined the effects of melatonin on the hair growth cycle of women with androgenetic alopecia (genetic male pattern baldness due to an oversensitivity of the follicle to the male hormone DHT) or diffuse (spread out) hair loss. 40 women suffering from either form of hair loss were given a 0.1% melatonin solution or placebo to apply to their scalp once a day for 6 months in a randomized, double-blinded manner. Melatonin led to a significantly increased anagen hair rate for hair on the head in women with male pattern baldness (anagen is the start of the hair cycle where hair grows in and this part of the cycle generally lasts for about four to seven years). In women with diffuse alopecia, melatonin gave a significant increase to the frontal hair. The study was published in the February 2004 issue of The British Journal of Dermatology.