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The Argun River originates from glaciers on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Range. In its upper reaches, before it merges with the Sharoargun River, it is known as Chanty-Argun. The river then flows through the Argun Gorge in mountainous Chechnya, which is mostly treeless near the source and covered with almost continuous forests further downstream. The mountainous part of the Argun basin and its tributaries form the western part of mountainous Chechnya, the Itum-Kalinsky and Shatoisky districts. This area is one of the original settlements of the Chechen people and is characterized by numerous ancient ruins of auls with traditional tower structures.


Medemia argun is an ancient palm rich in proanthocyanidins (PACs). These polyphenolic compounds are widely distributed in plants and are an integral part of the human diet. A sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS) method in the negative ion mode for sequencing these ubiquitous and highly beneficial antioxidants is described in order to profile different PACs in M. argun nuts. The analytical protocol based on tandem mass spectrometry was used to sequence dimers, trimers, tetramers and pentamers with different A-type, B-type and A/B-type linkages. Diagnostic ions resulting from heterocyclic ring fission and retro-Diels-Alder reaction of flavan-3-ol provided information on the hydroxylation pattern and the type of interflavan bond. The sequences were discovered through ions derived from quinone methide cleavage of the interflavan bond. The identification of PACs linkages through LC-MS(n) eliminates a number of tedious separation steps. The method was successfully applied to give a view of PAC profile in M. argun nuts. M. argun nuts contained 636.88 mg/g PACs (as equivalent of (þ)-catechin). The data obtained in our research show that M. argun is a rich source of hydrolyzable PACs.

IntroductionHepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Medemia argun (MA) fruits have been found to possess proanthocyanidins (PACs), having antioxidant activity. Methods: Intraperitoneal (IP) diethyl nitrosamine (DENA; 200 mg/kg, once) and carbon tetra chloride (CCl4, 3 ml/kg/week, subcutaneously, for 6 weeks) induced HCC in rats. Animals groups: Group I; received vehicle (control). Group II; received MA seed extract, 100 mg/kg (twice/week) for 12 weeks, IP. Group III; received carcinogenic agents only. Group IV; received MA for two weeks before administration of DENA/CCl4 till the end of the experiment. The total period of the experiment was three months. Results: DENA and CCl4 induced HCC, elevated serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), liver size, weight, tissue lymphocytic infiltration, nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, collagen fiber and polysaccharide deposition, cellular proliferation, excessive pro-apoptotic caspase-3 accumulation, disrupted apoptosis. MA prior to DENA/CCl4, significantly protected liver against cancer progression, indicated by serum enzymes, antioxidant markers(glutathione, nitric oxide, and depressed malondialdehyde contents) in the MA-pretreated group, compared to the HCC one, without apparent useful action on superoxide dismutase activity, enhanced apoptosis in liver, through increased casapase-3 expression. The HCC group showed decreased antioxidant defense and BAX/Bcl-2 ratio. Conclusions: This study assumes that MA has a chemo-preventive effect against hepatocarcinogenesis.

Medemia argun occurs as scattered individuals andpopulations in the Nubian desert of southern Egypt and northern Sudan. It wasfirst described as Areca passalacquae from fruits collected byarchaeologists from Egyptian tombs dating back to 2500 BC (Kunth 1826). Notuntil 1881 was the palm described from living material collected in Sudan.Since that time, Medemia argun has been collected on very few occasions.It was not discovered as a living member of the Egyptian flora until 1963(Boulos 1968). The palm was subsequently considered extinct in the wild untilits rediscovery in Sudan in 1995 (Langlois 1976, Gibbons & Spanner 1996).The main Egyptian population consists of just four males and three females ofreproductive age, plus some juveniles, with the few other sites consisting oflone individuals. The Sudanese populations are larger, consisting of somehundreds of individuals, but these localities are geographically restricted. 041b061a72

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