Prune Consumption Attenuates Proinflammatory Cytokine Secretion and Alters Monocyte Activation in Postmenopausal Women: Secondary Outcome Analysis of a 12-Mo Randomized Controlled Trial: The Prune Study

Janhavi J. Damani, Ester S. Oh, Mary Jane De Souza, Nicole CA Strock, Nancy I. Williams, Cindy H. Nakatsu, Hang Lee, Connie Weaver, Connie J. Rogers

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2 Scopus citations


Background: Proinflammatory cytokines are implicated in the pathophysiology of postmenopausal bone loss. Clinical studies demonstrate that prunes prevent bone mineral density loss; however, the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown. Objective: We investigated the effect of prune supplementation on immune, inflammatory, and oxidative stress markers. Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted in the Prune Study, a single-center, parallel-arm, 12-mo randomized controlled trial of postmenopausal women (55–75 y old; n = 235 recruited; n = 183 completed) who were assigned to 1 of 3 groups: “no-prune” control, 50 g prune/d and 100 g prune/d groups. At baseline and after 12 mo of intervention, blood samples were collected to measure serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), serum total antioxidant capacity (TAC), plasma 8-isoprostane, proinflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α] concentrations in plasma and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) culture supernatants, and the percentage and activation of circulating monocytes, as secondary outcomes. Results: Prune supplementation did not alter hs-CRP, TAC, 8-isoprostane, and plasma cytokine concentrations. However, percent change from baseline in circulating activated monocytes was lower in the 100 g prune/d group compared with the control group (mean ± SD, −1.8% ± 4.0% in 100 g prune/d compared with 0.1% ± 2.9% in control; P < 0.01). Furthermore, in LPS-stimulated PBMC supernatants, the percent change from baseline in TNF-α secretion was lower in the 50 g prune/d group compared with the control group (−4.4% ± 43.0% in 50 g prune/d compared with 24.3% ± 70.7% in control; P < 0.01), and the percent change from baseline in IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 secretion was lower in the 100 g prune/d group compared with the control group (−8.9% ± 61.6%, −4.3% ± 75.3%, −14.3% ± 60.8% in 100 g prune/d compared with 46.9% ± 107.4%, 16.9% ± 70.6%, 39.8% ± 90.8% in control for IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8, respectively; all P < 0.05). Conclusions: Dietary supplementation with 50–100 g prunes for 12 mo reduced proinflammatory cytokine secretion from PBMCs and suppressed the circulating levels of activated monocytes in postmenopausal women. This trial was registered at as NCT02822378.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1699-1710
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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