The healthy effects of numerous bioactive natural compounds and the possibility to take advantage of their beneficial physiological functions are highly valued. Although the efficacy of a number of nutraceutical products has already been demonstrated in humans, the properties of many compounds are still unknown and, importantly, there is little information on the properties and potential of their combined use. For these reasons in vitro assays are necessary to identify the mechanisms underlying the protective role of a nutraceutical ingredient alone or in combination with other bioactive molecules. Here we describe examples of in vitro models and methodological approaches used to characterize and evaluate a number of effects of nutraceuticals in living cells.

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Evaluation of nutraceuticals effect from in vitro assays

ELENA VEZZOLI1,2,3, VERONICA DI PIETRO4, ROSSELLA CALÒ3, DAVIDE MARCHESI1, ELENA DE VECCHI5,
DOMENICO BIJNO4, LAURA MARABINI3, SIMONA RODIGHIERO1*, MAURA FRANCOLINI1,2*
*Corresponding authors
1. Fondazione Filarete for Biosciences and Innovation, Viale Ortles 22/4, 20139 Milano, Italy
2. Università degli Studi di Milano – Dept. of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine, Via Vanvitelli 32, 20129 Milano, Italy
3. Università degli Studi di Milano – Dept. of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, Via Vanvitelli 32, 20129 Milano, Italy
4. KolinPharma SpA, Viale Ortles 22/4, 20139 Milano, Italy
5. IRCCS Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute – Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Microbiology, Via Galeazzi 4, 20161 Milano, Italy

Abstract

The healthy effects of numerous bioactive natural compounds and the possibility to take advantage of their beneficial physiological functions are highly valued. Although the efficacy of a number of nutraceutical products has already been demonstrated in humans, the properties of many compounds are still unknown and, importantly, there is little information on the properties and potential of their combined use. For these reasons in vitro assays are necessary to identify the mechanisms underlying the protective role of a nutraceutical ingredient alone or in combination with other bioactive molecules. Here we describe examples of in vitro models and methodological approaches used to characterize and evaluate a number of effects of nutraceuticals in living cells.


INTRODUCTION

Studies aimed to identify the potential beneficial use of nutraceuticals have been growing in the last few years. Nutraceuticals are of considerable interest due to their potential nutritional effects as dietary supplements (1-2) and their production should be accompanied by appropriate quality assessment measures (3). Studies are thus needed to asses both their quality and their biological effects when us