The Effects of Stevia on Cytokine Production in Human THP-1 Monocytes
Stevenson, Thomas James
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Artificial and natural sweeteners are low calorie sweeteners that can be used as an alternative to table sugar. Aspartame is the main artificial sweetener that is used in; food and beverages worldwide. Alternatively, stevia is a low calorie, natural sweetener, derived from the plant stevia rebaudiana, which in recent years, has seen an arise in use in food and beverages. With growing rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, it may be useful for natural and artificial sweeteners to be present in our diet, in moderation. To date, there has been very little research published on the cellular effects of stevia, but research in mouse models have shown that stevia has therapeutic effects, by inhibiting the production of inflammatory mediators and cytokines. To establish what concentrations that needed to be used in this study, an investigation on different research publications was undertaken, to compare the effects of different concentrations of stevia on inflammatory mediators and cytokines. Firstly, a cell viability assay on human THP-1 monocyte cell line was carried out, with a range of stevia concentrations (0-40ug/ml), over a 24 and 48-hour period. The suitable concentrations of stevia were 5ug/ml and 40ug/ml. These were tested on human THP-1 monocyte cells, using a sandwich ELISA method to establish the effects of concentrations of stevia on IL-6 and IL-8 concentrations, that was being produced by human THP-1 monocyte cells, over 6 and 24 hours. Stevia was found to significantly inhibit the secretion of IL-8 in cells treated with 40ug/ml, over 6 and 24 hours and significantly inhibiting IL-8 secretion by cells at 6 hours from 5ug/ml treatment of stevia, compared to the cells with pro-inflammatory mediators. The results from this study have found to be concurrent with previous limited evidence associated with inflammatory inhibiting effects of stevia, supporting the evidence that stevia could possibly have an anti-inflammatory effect, which will support further investigations. A comparison of this research with previous research outcomes, provides clear evidence that stevia could have health benefits for consumers, by reducing chronic inflammation.
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences (Health, Excercise & Nutrition)
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