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Recent advances in the research on biological roles of dietary polyamines in man

Keywords: polyamines , food , putrescine , spermidine , spermine

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The ubiquitous polyamines putrescine, spermidine and spermine fulfil an array of physiological roles in man.In particular, their participation in cell growth and proliferation has been of great interest in relation to theirroles in tumour growth and in wound healing. Both endogenous and dietary polyamines take part in suchprocesses. The deprivation of exogenous polyamines emerges as a promising strategy in tumour therapy.Thus, reliable information on their content in foods is needed for dieticians. This review continues ourprevious comprehensive review on the topic, summarising data on the polyamine content in foods publishedfrom 2005 to April 2009. Some new data has appeared. Bovine, porcine and chicken liver, kidney, spleen andheart all have a high content of spermine; bovine liver also of spermidine. Losses of spermidine and spermineup to one half of their original levels occur during both cold and frozen storage and during various thermaltreatments. Cultivated mushrooms were reported to contain very high levels of spermidine. Recent resultshave proved that polyamine content varies widely within a food item, and this complicates the application ofavailable data for the controlled nutrition of patients.


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