Evaluation of nutraceuticals effect from in vitro assays
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.
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 used alone or in combination. For in vitro screening, a crucial step is the choice of the appropriate model that best represents the cellular target of the relevant compound. Human cell lines, with organ-specific properties represent such important experimental systems. Macrophages for acute/chronic in?ammation and pain; chondrocyte for articular pain, uroepithelial cells for urinary tract ... ...