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Title:
METHODS FOR INCREASING THE PRODUCTION OR ACTIVITY OF CATALASE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/149513
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Methods and compositions for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal are disclosed. The methods comprise administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount effective to increase catalase production or activity. Methods for treating catalase deficiency, extending the prime years of an animal's life, promoting health and wellness of an animal, and improving the quality of life for an animal through the vitamin D-mediated increase in catalase production or activity are also disclosed. Methods of screening for vitamin D mimetics based on their ability to increase the production or activity of catalase in cells in a manner similar to vitamin D are also disclosed.

Inventors:
MIDDLETON, Rondo, Paul (12366 Country Glen Lane, Creve Coeur, MO, 63141, US)
IMPANBUTR, Nongnuch (4016 Riverside Drive, Columbus, OH, 43320, US)
Application Number:
US2011/000891
Publication Date:
December 01, 2011
Filing Date:
May 18, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NESTEC S.A. (Avenue Nestle 55, Vevey, Vevey, CH)
MIDDLETON, Rondo, Paul (12366 Country Glen Lane, Creve Coeur, MO, 63141, US)
IMPANBUTR, Nongnuch (4016 Riverside Drive, Columbus, OH, 43320, US)
International Classes:
A01N45/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GUFFEY, Wendell, Ray (Nestle Purina Petcare Global Resources, Inc.Checkerboard Square 11, St. Louis MO, 63164, US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

What is Claimed is:

1. A method for increasing the production or activity of catalase in animals comprising:

identifying an animal that is in need of or can benefit from an increase in production or activity of catalase; and

administering to the animal a catalase production or activity increasing amount of vitamin D.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the animal is a human or companion animal.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the companion animal is a canine or a feline.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the identifying step comprises determining that the animal is an aging animal, a catalase-deficient animal, or an animal that has a condition related to catalase deficiency.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the vitamin D is one or more of calcitriol (la,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3); seocalcitol (EB1089, la,25-dihydroxy-22,24-diene-24,26,27-trihomovitamin D); la,25- dihydroxy-16-ene-23-yne-vitamin D3 (analog V); vitamin D3; 25(OH) vitamin D3; 24,25 (OH)2 vitamin D3; paricalcitol; l,25-dihydroxy-16,23Z-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-D3; 1,25-dihydroxy- 16,23E-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-19-nor-D3; 22-oxa-calcitriol, la-(OH)D5; 20-Epi-la,25(OH)2D3; calcipotriol, l a24(S)(OH)2D2; l a,24(R)(OH)2D3; and KH1060.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein vitamin D is administered in amounts of from about 1 ng/kg body weight to about 10 mg/kg body weight.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the vitamin D is administered orally.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the vitamin D is administered in a composition formulated as a human food composition, pet food composition, or a dietary supplement.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the composition is a food composition comprising about 15% to about 50% protein, about 5% to about 40% fat, about 5% to about 10% ash content, and having a moisture content of about 5% to about 20%.

10. The method of claim 8 wherein the composition further comprises one or more probiotics, prebiotics, or a combination thereof.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein the vitamin D is administered topically.

12. The method of claim 1 wherein the vitamin D is administered to the animal on a regular basis.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the vitamin D is administered to the animal on an extended regular basis.

14. The method of claim 1 wherein the vitamin D is administered in conjunction with one or more additional agents useful for increasing catalase production or activity or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the additional agents are one or more antioxidants.

16. The method of claim 1 further comprising administering a probiotic, prebiotic, or combination thereof in conjunction with the Vitamin D.

17. A method for preventing or treating a disease or condition caused by catalase deficiency in animals comprising:

determining that an animal is or is likely to be catalase deficient; and

administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby preventing or treating the disease or condition.

18. A method for extending the prime years of an animal's life comprising:

identifying an animal in the prime years of its life or for whom extension of the prime years of life is desired;

determining that increasing the animal's catalase production or activity can extend the prime years of the animal's life; and

administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby extending the prime years of the animal's life.

19. A method for promoting the health or wellness of an animal comprising:

identifying an animal whose heath or wellness will be improved by increasing its production or activity of catalase; and

administering to the animal a composition comprising vitamin D in an amount effective for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby promoting the health or wellness of the animal.

20. A method for improving the quality of life for an animal comprising:

identifying an animal whose quality of life will be improved by increasing its production or activity of catalase; and

administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount effective for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby increasing the quality of life for the animal.

21. A composition useful for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal comprising a biologically acceptable medium in which is disposed one or more forms of vitamin D and at least one additional agent for increasing catalase production or activity, or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal.

22. The composition of claim 21 wherein the vitamin D is one or more of calcitriol (la,25- dihydroxyvitamin D3); seocalcitol (EB1089, la,25-dihydroxy-22,24-diene-24,26,27- trihomovitamin D); l a,25-dihydroxy-16-ene-23-yne-vitamin D3 (analog V); vitamin D3; 25(OH) vitamin D3; 24,25 (OH)2 vitamin D3; paricalcitol; l,25-dihydroxy-16,23Z-diene-26,27-hexafluoro- D3; l,25-dihydroxy-16,23E-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-19-nor-D3; 22-oxa-calcitriol, la-(OH)D5; 20- Epi-l a,25(OH)2D3; calcipotriol, la24(S)(OH)2D2; l a,24(R)(OH)2D3; and KH1060.

23. The composition of claim 21 comprising vitamin D in amounts sufficient to provide from about 1 ng/kg body weight to about 10 mg kg body weight.

24. The composition of claim 21 wherein the additional agent is one or more antioxidants.

25. The composition of claim 21 formulated as a pharmaceutical or nutraceutical composition comprising one or more one or more pharmaceutically or nutraceutically acceptable-carriers, diluents, or excipients.

26. The composition of claim 21 formulated as a human food composition, pet food composition, or a dietary supplement.

27. The composition of claim 26 wherein the composition is a food composition further comprising about 15% to about 50% protein, about 5% to about 40% fat, about 5% to about 10% ash content, and having a moisture content of about 5% to about 20%.

28. The composition of claim 21 further comprising one or more probiotics, prebiotics, or a combination thereof.

29. A kit suitable for administering a composition comprising vitamin D to an animal comprising in separate containers in a single package or in separate containers in a virtual package, as appropriate for the kit component, (a) one or more forms of vitamin D, (b) one or more of (1) one or more other ingredients suitable for consumption by an animal; (2) one or more other agents for increasing production or activity of catalase, (3) one or more antioxidants; (4) one or more agents for reducing reactive oxygen species; (5) one or more probiotics; (6) one or more prebiotics; (7) one or more diagnostic devices suitable for determining whether an animal can benefit from compositions and methods for increasing production or activity of catalase; (8) instructions for how to combine or prepare the vitamin D, and any other ingredients provided in the kit for administration to an animal; (9) instructions for how to use the combined kit components, prepared kit components, or other kit components for the benefit of an animal; and (10) a device for administering the combined or prepared kit components to an animal.

30. A method for identifying an agent or regimen that increases the production or activity of catalase in cells, in a manner similar to that of vitamin D comprising:

determining a first gene expression profile by measuring transcription or translation products of genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1 , and vitamin D receptor, in a cell sample in the absence of the agent or regimen;

determining a second gene expression profile by measuring transcription or translation products of genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1 , and vitamin D receptor, in a cell sample the presence of the agent or regimen; and

comparing the first gene expression profile with the second gene expression profile, wherein an increase in the catalase transcription or translation products, but not in the transcription or translation products of the other genes, in the second gene expression profile indicates that the agent or regimen is likely to increase the production or activity of catalase in a cell, in a manner similar to that of vitamin D.

31. The method of claim 30 wherein the cells are cultured cells.

32. The method of claim 30 wherein the cells are disposed within living tissues or organs.

33. The method of claim 30 wherein the cells are disposed within an animal.

34. The method of claim 30 wherein the gene expression profiles are compared with gene expression profiles of a reference sample containing a vitamin D known to increase production or activity of catalase, but not of manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1, and vitamin D receptor, in cells.

35. A substance or regimen identified by the method of Claim 29.

36. A kit useful for identifying an agent or regimen that increases the production or activity of catalase in cells, in a manner similar to that of vitamin D, the kit comprising (1) reagents suitable for measuring transcription or translation products of two or more genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1 , and vitamin D receptor, and (2) instructions for how to use the measurements of expression of the genes to determine if an agent or regimen increases the production or activity of catalase in cells, in a manner similar to that of vitamin D.

37. The kit of claim 36 further comprising one or more of: (1) a sample of vitamin D; and (2) information communicating the level of expression of the genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1, and vitamin D receptor, expected for cells exposed to vitamin D.

38. A means for communicating information about or instructions for one or more of (1) benefits of increasing catalase production or activity in an animal; (2) admixing one or more of: forms of vitamin D, other agents for increasing production or activity of catalase, antioxidants, agents for reducing reactive oxygen species, probiotics, prebiotics, and other ingredients suitable for consumption by an animal, to produce compositions for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal, (3) instructions for administering the compositions to an animal, (4) information for determining if an animal will benefit from increased catalase production or activity, and (5) information pertaining to screening forms of vitamin D for their ability to increase production or activity of catalase, the means for communicating comprising one or more of a physical or electronic document, digital storage media, optical storage media, audio presentation, audiovisual display, or visual display containing the information or instructions.

39. The means of claim 38 selected from the group consisting of a displayed website, a visual display kiosk, a brochure, a product label, a package insert, an advertisement, a handout, a public announcement, an audiotape, a videotape, a DVD, a CD-ROM, a computer readable chip, a computer readable card, a computer readable disk, a USB device, a FireWire device, a computer memory, and any combination thereof.

40. A package comprising a composition of claim 29 and a label affixed to the package containing a word or words, picture, design, acronym, slogan, phrase, or other device, or combination thereof, that indicates that the contents of the package contains a composition suitable for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal.

41. A use of vitamin D to prepare a medicament useful for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal.

42. The use according to claim 41 wherein the vitamin D is calcitriol (la,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3); seocalcitol (EB1089, la,25-dihydroxy-22,24-diene-24,26,27-trihomovitamin D); la,25- dihydroxy-16-ene-23-yne-vitamin D3 (analog V); vitamin D3; 25(OH) vitamin D3; 24,25 (OH)2 vitamin D3; paricalcitol; l,25-dihydroxy-16,23Z-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-D3; 1 ,25-dihydroxy- 16,23E-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-19-nor-D3; 22-oxa-calcitriol, la-(OH)D5; 20-Epi-l a,25(OH)2D3; calcipotriol, 1 a24(S)(OH)2D2; la,24(R)(OH)2D3; and KH1060.

43. The use of claim 41 wherein the medicament further comprises a probiotic, prebiotic, or combination thereof.

44. The medicament of claim 43 wherein the probiotic is Enterococcus faecium SF68.

45. The method of claim 18 further comprising administering a probiotic, prebiotic, or combination thereof in conjunction with the Vitamin D.

46. The method of claim 45 wherein the probiotic is Enterococcus faecium SF68.

47. The method of claim 19 further comprising administering a probiotic, prebiotic, or combination thereof in conjunction with the Vitamin D.

48. The method of claim 47 wherein the probiotic is Enterococcus faecium SF68.

49. The method of claim 20 further comprising administering a probiotic, prebiotic, or combination thereof in conjunction with the Vitamin D.

50. The method of claim 49 wherein the probiotic is Enterococcus faecium SF68.

51. The method of claim 10 wherein the probiotic is Enterococcus faecium SF68.

52. The method of claim 16 wherein the probiotic is Enterococcus faecium SF68.

53. The composition of claim 28 wherein the probiotic is Enterococcus faecium SF68.

54. A method for manufacturing a composition comprising vitamin D and one or more additional agents useful for increasing catalase production or activity or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal comprising admixing the vitamin D and the additional agents.

Description:
METHODS FOR INCREASING THE PRODUCTION OR ACTIVITY OF CATALASE

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 61/396372 filed May 26, 2010, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by this reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention relates generally to methods for increasing the production or activity of catalase and particularly to methods for using vitamin D for increasing the production or activity of catalase in animals.

Description of Related Art

[0003] Catalase is a common enzyme found in nearly all living organisms exposed to oxygen. Catalase catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen. Catalase is essentially universal in animals and plants and is found in many fungi and some anaerobic microorganisms.

[0004] In animals and many other organisms, oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or easily repair the resulting damage. Cellular oxidative injury has been implicated in aging and a wide array of clinical disorders including ischemia-reperfusion injury; neurodegenerative diseases; diabetes; inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, and hepatitis; drug-induced toxicity; and cancer.

[0005] Reactive oxygen species (ROS), including the superoxide radical anion and hydrogen peroxide, are produced endogenously in response to cytokines, growth factors; G-protein coupled receptors, and physical or environmental stress. ROS function as signaling molecules to mediate various biological responses. However, an excess ROS contributes to various pathophysiologies as described. To minimize the damaging effects of excess ROS, aerobic organisms have evolved different lines of antioxidant defense. One line of defense is enzymatic, comprising catalases, peroxides, superoxide dismutase's, and glutathione-S-transferase, among others. For example, superoxide dismutase's (SOD), catalases and peroxides protect cells by directly scavenging superoxide radicals and hydrogen peroxide, converting them to less reactive species. SODs catalyze the dismutation of superoxide anion (0 2 ' ) " to hydrogen peroxide (H 2 0 2 ), and catalases and peroxides reduce H 2 0 2 to water.

[0006] Thus, catalases are ubiquitous and important enzymatic components in the ROS detoxification system present in aerobic organisms. In mammals, catalase deficiencies have been associated with decreased ability to detoxify ROS in various cells and tissues, leading to or associated with a variety of detrimental conditions, including premature aging (and aging generally; see, e.g., Harman D., 2009, Biogerontology 10: 773-781), diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, tumor formation, infertility and graying of hair. In connection with the latter, it has recently been determined that accumulated hydrogen peroxide and a near absence of catalase in the aging hair shaft are associated with loss of hair pigment (Wood JM et al, 2009, Faseb J. 23: 2065-2075). According to recent scientific studies, low levels of catalase may play a role in the graying process of human hair. Hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the body and catalase breaks it down. If there is a dip in catalase levels, hydrogen peroxide cannot be broken down. This causes the hydrogen peroxide to bleach the hair from the inside out. Scientists believe this finding may someday be incorporated into anti-graying treatments for aging hair.

[0007] In view of the foregoing, it is clear that the development of methods and compositions to increase catalase production or activity in animals and other organisms would represent an advance in the art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide methods for increasing the production or activity of catalase in animals.

[0009] It is another object of the invention to provide methods for upregulating the expression of catalase genes in animals.

[0010] It is a further object of the invention to provide methods for identifying agents or regimens that increase the production or activity of catalase in animals, including identifying vitamin D mimetics useful for increasing the production or activity of catalase in animals such as by upregulating the expression of catalase genes in the animals.

[0011] It is another object of the present invention to provide methods for extending the healthy prime years of an animal's life.

[0012] It is yet another object of the present invention to provide methods for promoting the health or wellness of animals.

[0013] It is another object of the present invention to provide methods for improving the quality of life of animals.

[0014] It is a further object of the present invention to provide methods for identifying agents or regimens that increase the production or activity of catalase in cells.

[0015] One or more of these or other objects are achieved using novel methods and compositions for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal. The methods comprise administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount effective to increase the production or activity of catalase. Methods utilizing the administration of vitamin D are also provided to treat catalase deficiency in an animal, to extend an animal's prime of life, to promote an animal's health and wellness, and to improve an animal's quality of life. Still other methods utilize gene expression profiles of catalase genes and other genes encoding proteins involved in antioxidant responses to screen for substances that modulate those profiles in a manner similar to vitamin D, i.e., by increasing expression of genes encoding catalase. Various kits comprising combinations of reagents, ingredients of probes, devices utilizing the probes, and substances are also provided, as are communication media for communicating information pertaining to the methods of the invention. [0016] Other and further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Definitions

[0017] The term "animal" means any animal or other organism (e.g., fungi) that can benefit from an increase in production or activity of catalase, including human, avian, bovine, canine, equine, feline, hicrine, lupine, murine, ovine, or porcine animals.

[0018] The term "catalase" means inclusively to enzymes of IUBMB enzyme nomenclature EC 1.11.1.6, catalyzing the reaction 2 H 2 0 2 = 0 2 + 2 H 2 0. Other name(s) for catalase include: equilase, caperase, optidase, catalase-peroxidase and CAT. Catalase can also act as a peroxidase (EC 1.11.1.7 peroxidase) for which several organic substances, especially ethanol, can act as a hydrogen donor. A typical catalase is a tetramer of four polypeptide chains, containing four porphyrin heme (iron) groups that allow the enzyme to react with the hydrogen peroxide.

[0019] The term "companion animals" means domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, mice, gerbils, pleasure horses, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, and more exotic species kept by humans for company, amusement, psychological support, extrovert display, and all of the other functions that humans need to share with animals of other species.

[0020] The term "dietary supplement" means a product that is intended to be ingested in addition to the normal diet of an animal. Dietary supplements may be in any form, e.g. solid, liquid, gel, tablets, capsules, powder, and the like. Preferably they are provided in convenient dosage forms. In some embodiments they are provided in bulk consumer packages such as bulk powders or liquids. In other embodiments, supplements are provided in bulk quantities to be included in other food items such as snacks, treats, supplement bars, beverages and the like.

[0021] The term "extending the prime" means extending the number of years an animal lives a healthy life and not just extending the number of years an animal lives, e.g., an animal would be healthy in the prime of its life for a relatively longer time. Thus, the "prime years" of an animal's life can extend from young adulthood ("young," as described below) into the older or "aged" population. Indeed, the prime years of an animal's life can extend essentially until the animal's death, assuming the animal is healthy and active through its older years.

[0022] The term "food" or "food composition" means a composition that is intended for ingestion by an animal, including a human. A "complete and nutritionally balanced pet food" contains all known required nutrients for the intended recipient or consumer of the food, in appropriate amounts and proportions, based for example on recommendations of recognized authorities in the field of companion animal nutrition. Such foods are therefore capable of serving as a sole source of dietary intake to maintain life or promote production, without the addition of supplemental nutritional sources. Nutritionally balanced pet food compositions are widely known and widely used in the art. [0023] The term "gene" or "genes" means a complete or partial segment of DNA involved in producing a polypeptide, including regions preceding and following the coding region (leader and trailer) and intervening sequences (introns) between individual coding segments (exons). The term encompasses any DNA sequence that hybridizes to the complement of gene coding sequences.

[0024] The term "health and or wellness of an animal" means the complete physical, mental, and social well being of the animal, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

[0025] The term "in conjunction" means that a drug, food, or other substance is administered to an animal (1) together in a composition, particularly food composition, or (2) separately at the same or different frequency using the same or different administration routes at about the same time or periodically. "Periodically" means that the substance is administered on a dosage schedule acceptable for a specific substance. "About the same time" generally means that the substance (food or drug) is administered at the same time or within about 72 hours of each other. "In conjunction" specifically includes administration schemes wherein substances such as drugs are administered for a prescribed period and compositions of the present invention are administered indefinitely.

[0026] The term "individual" when referring to an animal means an individual animal of any species or kind.

[0027] The term "long-term" administration means periods in excess of one month. Periods of longer than two, three, or four months are included. Also included are more extended periods that include longer than 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 months. Periods in excess of 11 months or 1 year are also included. Longer term use extending over 1 , 2, and 3 years or more are also contemplated herein. In the case of certain animals, it is envisioned that the animal would be administered substances identified by the present methods on a regular basis. "Regular basis" as used herein refers to at least weekly administration. More frequent administration, such as twice or thrice weekly is contemplated. Also included are regimens that comprise at least once, twice, three times or more daily administration. Any dosing frequency, regardless of whether expressly exemplified herein, is considered useful. The skilled artisan will appreciate that dosing frequency will be a function of the substance that is being administered, and some compositions may require more or less frequent administration to maintain a desired biochemical, physiological or gene expression effects, namely effects including one or more of food intake, satiety, lipid metabolism, and fat utilization, and the gene expression profile associated therewith. The term "extended regular basis" as used herein refers to long-term administration of a substance on a regular basis.

[0028] The term "oral administration" means that the animal ingests, or a human is directed to feed, or does feed, the animal one or more of the substances described herein. The term "ingestion" is used herein interchangeably with the term "oral administration." Wherein a human is directed to orally administer or feed the substance, such direction may be that which instructs and/or informs the human that use of the substance may and/or will provide the referenced benefit. Such direction may be oral direction (e.g., through oral instruction from, for example, a physician, veterinarian, or other health professional, or radio or television media (i.e., advertisement), or written direction (e.g., through written direction from, for example, a physician, veterinarian, or other health professional (e.g. , prescriptions), sales professional or organization (e.g., through, for example, marketing brochures, pamphlets, or other instructive paraphernalia), written media (e.g., internet, electronic mail, or other computer-related media), and/or packaging associated with the substance.

[0029] The term "sample" means any animal tissue or fluid containing, e.g., polynucleotides, polypeptides, antibodies, metabolites, and the like, including cells and other tissue containing DNA and RNA. Examples include adipose, blood, cartilage, connective, epithelial, lymphoid, muscle, nervous, sputum, and the like. A sample may be solid or liquid and may be DNA, RNA, cDNA, bodily fluids such as blood or urine, cells, cell preparations or soluble fractions or media aliquots thereof, chromosomes, organelles, and the like.

[0030] The term "single package" means that the components of a kit are physically associated in or with one or more containers and considered a unit for manufacture, distribution, sale, or use. Containers include, but are not limited to, bags, boxes, bottles, shrink wrap packages, stapled or otherwise affixed components, or combinations thereof. A single package may be containers of individual food compositions physically associated such that they are considered a unit for manufacture, distribution, sale, or use.

[0031] The term "topical administration" as used herein, means the administration or application of a composition to the hair, fur, nails, claws, skin, mucosa, eye, airway, lung, or any other epithelial surface.

[0032] The term "vitamin D" means vitamin D and any of its natural or synthetic forms, derivatives, or analogs that function like vitamin D to affect the production or activity of catalase in animals. By way of background, vitamin D can be obtained from dietary sources or can be synthesized in the body. Dietary vitamin D is available in two forms: vitamin D 2 (ergocalciferol) from plant sources and vitamin D 3 (cholecalciferol) from animal sources, both of which are collectively termed vitamin D. Vitamin D in the form of vitamin D 3 can be made from 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) in the skin by exposure to ultraviolet light, mainly from light in the UVB spectrum. Vitamin D is a prohormone, converted ultimately to the active form la,25-dil ydroxyvitamin D 3 (l,25(OH) 2 D 3 ), also known as calcitriol. Thus, as used herein, the term "vitamin D" includes forms of vitamin D (e.g., vitamin D 2 , vitamin D 3 ) that are produced by organisms and may be converted via natural or synthetic means into the biologically active form, calcitriol. The term also includes natural or synthetic analogs that mimic at least one biological activity of calcitriol. In addition to stimulating production or activity of catalase, biological activities of calcitriol and/or its precursors include, but are not limited to, binding to the vitamin D binding protein (precursors), binding to vitamin D receptors (calcitriol) and subsequent signal transduction, and stimulating calcium absorption.

[0033] The term "virtual package" means that the components of a kit are associated by directions on one or more physical or virtual kit components instructing the user how to obtain the other components, e.g. , in a bag containing one component and directions instructing the user to go to a website, contact a recorded message, view a visual message, or contact a caregiver or instructor to obtain instructions on how to use the kit.

[0034] "Young" refers generally to an individual in young adulthood, i.e., matured past puberty or adolescence, as would be defined by species, or by strain, breed or ethnic group within a species, in accordance with known parameters. "Aged" or "old," as used herein, refers to an individual who is physically or chronologically within the last 30% of its average life expectancy, as determined by species, or by strain, breed or ethnic group within a species, in accordance with known parameters.

[0035] As used herein, ranges are used herein in shorthand, so as to avoid having to list and describe each and every value within the range. Any appropriate value within the range can be selected, where appropriate, as the upper value, lower value, or the terminus of the range.

[0036] As used herein, the singular form of a word includes the plural, and vice versa, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, the references "a", "an", and "the" are generally inclusive of the plurals of the respective terms. For example, reference to "a compound" or "a method" includes a plurality of such "compounds" or "methods." Similarly, the words "comprise", "comprises", and "comprising" are to be interpreted inclusively rather than exclusively. Likewise the terms "include", "including" and "or" should all be construed to be inclusive, unless such a construction is clearly prohibited from the context.

[0037] The terms "comprising" or "including" are intended to include embodiments encompassed by the terms "consisting essentially of and "consisting of. Similarly, the term "consisting essentially of is intended to include embodiments encompassed by the term "consisting of.

[0038] All percentages expressed herein are by weight of the composition on a dry matter basis unless specifically stated otherwise. The skilled artisan will appreciate that the term "dry matter basis" means that an ingredient's concentration in a composition is measured after any free moisture in the composition is removed.

[0039] The methods and compositions and other advances disclosed here are not limited to particular methodology, protocols, and reagents described herein because, as the skilled artisan will appreciate, they may vary. Further, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only, and is not intended to, and does not, limit the scope of that which is disclosed or claimed.

[0040] Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms, terms of art, and acronyms used herein have the meanings commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art in the field(s) of the invention, or in the field(s) where the term is used. Although any compositions, methods, articles of manufacture, or other means or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice of the present invention, the preferred compositions, methods, articles of manufacture, or other means or materials are described herein.

[0041] All patents, patent applications, publications, technical and/or scholarly articles, and other references cited or referred to herein are in their entirety incorporated herein by reference to the extent allowed by law. The discussion of those references is intended merely to summarize the assertions made therein. No admission is made that any such patents, patent applications, publications or references, or any portion thereof, are relevant, material, or prior art. The right to challenge the accuracy and pertinence of any assertion of such patents, patent applications, publications, and other references as relevant, material, or prior art is specifically reserved.

The Invention

[0042] In one aspect, the invention provides methods for increasing the production or activity of catalase in animals. The methods comprise identifying an animal in need of or that could benefit from an increase in the production or activity of catalase and administering to the animal a catalase production or activity increasing amount of vitamin D. The invention is based in part upon the discovery that vitamin D increases the production or activity of catalase and upregulates the expression of genes associated with catalase production in animals when administered in the proper amounts. In particular, as described in greater detail in the examples, calcitriol and certain vitamin D analogs increase catalase production, increase catalase activity, and up-regulate the expression of genes encoding catalase.

[0043] The animal may be any animal that could benefit from an increase in production or activity of catalase, e.g. , any aerobic animal that breathes air or who lives in an oxygen-containing environment. For instance, the animal may be a human or a domestic animal. More particularly, the animal may be a companion animal such as a canine or feline, including dogs or cats.

[0044] The first step of the method involves identifying an animal that is in need of or can benefit from an increase in the production or activity of catalase. For example, such an animal may be an aging animal, a catalase deficient animal, or an animal suffering from a disease or condition related to catalase deficiency, e.g. Acatalasemia, hepatoma, and the like. Alternatively, the animal may be a healthy animal for which an increase in the production or activity of catalase would promote the animal's health or wellness, extend the animal's prime years of life, or improve the animal's quality of life.

[0045] The vitamin D useful in the method is any vitamin D that increases the production or activity of catalase in an animal. In one embodiment, the vitamin D is calcitriol (la,25-dihydroxyvitamin D 3 ). In another embodiment, the vitamin D is the analog seocalcitol (EB1089, la,25-dihydroxy-22,24-diene- 24,26,27-trihomovitamin D). In another embodiment, the vitamin D is la,25-dihydroxy-16-ene-23-yne- vitamin D 3 (analog V). Other suitable forms of vitamin D include, but not limited to, vitamin D 3 , 25(OH) vitamin D 3 , 24,25 (OH) 2 vitamin D 3 , paricalcitol (a synthetic, biologically active vitamin D analog of calcitriol with modifications to the side chain (D 2 ) and the A (19-nor) ring), 1,25-dihydroxy- 16,23Z-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-D 3 , l,25-dihydroxy-16,23E-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-19-nor-D 3 , 22-oxa- calcitriol, la-(OH)D 5 , 20-Epi-l a,25(OH) 2 D 3 , calcipotriol, 1 a24(S)(OH) 2 D 2 , 1 a,24(R)(OH) 2 D 3 and KH1060. Combinations of two or more of any vitamin D are also included in the invention. In certain embodiments, vitamin D forms or analogs that possess selected biological activities of calcitriol, but that are reduced or lacking in other biological activities of calcitriol, are used. For example, vitamin D forms or analogs that bind to vitamin D receptors, but that do not stimulate calcium absorption, may be suitable for use in various embodiments of the invention.

[0046] The amount of vitamin D needed to increase catalase production or activity in an animal will vary according to the form of vitamin D, the species of animal, the biological condition of the animal, the tissue(s) being treated, and other parameters well understood by a skilled artisan, e.g., a medicinal chemist or biologist. A dosage of from about 1 nanogram per kilogram (ng/kg) of body weight to about 10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of body weight is suitable for most uses, preferably from about 10 ng/kg body weight to about 5 mg/kg body weight, more preferably from about 100 ng/kg body weight to about 5 mg/kg body weight, most preferably from about 1 microgram per kilogram (μξ/kg) body weight to about 1 mg/kg body weight. In various embodiments, vitamin D in administered in amounts of about 1, 10, 50, 100, 250, and 500 ng/kg body weight; about 1, 10, 50, 100, 250, and 500 μg/kg body weight; or about 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mg/kg body weight. When useful, the vitamin D is administered in amounts greater than 10 mg/kg body weight. A conversion of these dosage ranges to International Units (IU) may be made using the formula 40 IU = 1 μg of vitamin D. Dosages may also be calculated based on the concentration of vitamin D to be delivered to the target cells or tissues. Suitable concentrations comprise at least about 10 '15 M, or at least about lO "14 M, or at least about 10 "13 M, or at least about 10 "12 M, or at least about 10 " " M, or at least about 10 " 10 M, or at least about 10 "9 M, or at least about 10 "8 M, or at least about 10 "7 M, or at least about 10 "6 M, or at least about 10 "s M of vitamin D being made available for uptake by target cells.

[0047] In one embodiment, the vitamin D is administered orally, e.g., in a composition formulated for oral administration to the animal such as a tablet, drink, medication, or food composition. Administration in accordance with the methods can be on an as-needed or as-desired basis of varying or regular frequency. A goal of regular ingestion is to provide the animal with a regular and consistent dose of the composition or the direct or indirect metabolites that result from such ingestion. Such regular and consistent dosing will tend to create constant blood levels of the components of the compositions or their direct or indirect metabolites. Thus, regular administration can be once monthly, once weekly, once daily, or more than once daily. Similarly, administration can be every other day, week, or month, every third day, week, or month, every fourth day, week, or month, and the like. Administration can be multiple times per day. When utilized as a supplement to ordinary dietetic requirements, the composition may be administered directly to the animal. The compositions can alternatively be contacted with, or admixed with, daily feed or food, including a fluid, such as drinking water, or an intravenous connection for an animal that is receiving such treatment. When utilized as a daily feed or food, administration will be well known to those of ordinary skill.

[0048] Administration can also be carried out as part of a dietary regimen for the animal. For example, a dietary regimen may comprise causing the regular ingestion by the animal of vitamin D or a vitamin D composition described herein in an amount effective to increase catalase production or activity in the animal. [0049] According to the methods of the invention, administration of vitamin D, including administration as part of a dietary regimen, can span a period of time ranging from parturition through the adult life of the animal. In certain embodiments, the animal is a young or growing animal. In other embodiments, the animal is an adult or mature animal. In other embodiments, the animal is an aging animal. An animal that has reached about 35% of its projected lifespan is generally suitable. In certain embodiments administration begins, for example, on a regular or extended regular basis, when the animal has reached more than about 30%, 40%, or 50% of its projected or anticipated lifespan. In some embodiments, the animal has attained 40, 45, or 50% of its anticipated lifespan. In yet other embodiments, the animal is older having reached 60, 66, 70, 75, or 80% of its likely lifespan. A determination of lifespan may be based on actuarial tables, calculations, estimates, or the like, and may consider past, present, and future influences or factors that are known to positively or negatively affect lifespan. Consideration of species, gender, size, genetic factors, environmental factors and stressors, present and past health status, past and present nutritional status, and the like may also influence or be taken into consideration when determining lifespan.

[0050] In various embodiments of the methods, vitamin D is administered in a food composition such as a human food composition, pet food composition, or a dietary supplement. For instance, the composition can be a food composition further comprising about 15% to about 50% protein, about 5% to about 40% fat, about 5% to about 10% ash content, and having a moisture content of about 5% to about 20%. As described in greater detail below, the composition can contain additional ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, or a combination thereof. The methods described herein may also employ pharmaceutical or nutraceutical compositions, formulated for administration by any selected route, as described in greater detail below.

[0051] In other embodiments, vitamin D is administered in conjunction with one or more probiotics, prebiotics, or combinations thereof to benefit the animals, e.g., treat catalase deficiency in an animal, extend an animal's prime of life, promote an animal's health and wellness, or improve an animal's quality of life.

[0052] In other embodiments of the methods, catalase production or activity is increased in target epithelial cells and tissues through the topical administration of vitamin D, preferably in a composition containing the vitamin D. Cells and tissues that can be targeted in this manner include skin, hair, fur, nails, claws, oral, anal or vaginal mucosa, gastrointestinal mucosa/epithelium, ocular surfaces, otolaryngeal and airway surfaces, including bronchial surfaces and lung alveolar surfaces. Such methods can be used to supplement a catalase deficiency in those cells and tissues, which exacerbate damage caused by an accumulation of hydrogen peroxide. For example, topical application of vitamin D to the hair and scalp could reduce or prevent graying of the hair resulting from accumulated hydrogen peroxide and catalase deficiency in tissue associated with growing hair.

[0053] In any of the methods, the vitamin D can be administered in conjunction with one or more additional agents useful for increasing catalase production or activity, or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal. For example, the additional agent(s) can be administered before, during, or after the administration of vitamin D. If the additional agents are administered together with the vitamin D, they may be administered together or separately, e.g., within a single composition, or in separate compositions.

[0054] In one embodiment, the additional agents are one or more antioxidants. The antioxidants can be any antioxidant suitable for administration to an animal. Antioxidants are well known in the art, particularly the art of food technology and food formulation. Natural antioxidant compounds include vitamins (such as A, C and E, and derivative, conjugates, or analogs thereof), as well as plant extracts, including extracts from fruit, vegetables, herbs, seeds, and other types and/or parts of plants. Compounds such as a-lipoic acid, chlorophyll and derivatives thereof, glutathione, ubiquinols (e.g., coenzyme Q10), carotenoids (e.g., lycopene), flavonoids, phenolic acids and polyphenols, and pycnogenol are known to be excellent antioxidants. Some examples of plant sources of antioxidants include those from fruits such as berries (cherry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, crowberry, blueberry, bilberry/wild blueberry, black currant), pomegranate, grape, orange, plum, pineapple, kiwi fruit, and grapefruit; those from vegetables including kale, chili pepper, red cabbage, peppers, parsley, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, spinach, lemon, ginger, garlic, and red beets; those from dry fruits like apricots, prunes, and dates; from legumes including broad beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Also nuts and seeds such as pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, ground nut, and sunflower seeds; cereals such as barley, millet, oats, and corn. Many natural antioxidants are also available from a wide variety of spices including cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, and oregano. Less widely known sources of antioxidants include Ginkgo biloba, and tropical plants such as uyaku, and carica papaya. Antioxidant properties of various teas and green tea, as well as fermented products such as red wine, have become of great interest in recent years and such would be suitable for use herein. Selenium is an excellent oxygen scavenger and works well, especially with vitamin or related tocopherol compounds. Synthetic dietary antioxidants include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) which are commonly used in food products. Any of the foregoing, alone or in combination, are suited for use herein, as are combinations of natural and synthetic antioxidants. In one embodiment, the antioxidants comprise astaxanthin alone or in combination with other antioxidants.

[0055] In another aspect, the invention provides a method for preventing or treating a disease or condition caused by catalase deficiency in animals. This method comprises (1) determining that an animal is or is likely to be catalase deficient and (2) administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount effective for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby preventing or treating the disease or condition. The condition is any condition caused by catalase deficiency, e.g., Acatalasemia or hepatoma.

[0056] In another aspect, the invention provides a method for extending the prime years of an animal's life. The metliod comprises (1) identifying an animal in the prime years of its life, or for whom extension of the prime years of life is desired; (2) determining that increasing the animal's catalase production or activity can increase the prime years of the animal's life; and (3) administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount effective for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby extending the prime years of the animal's life. [0057] In another aspect, the invention provides a method for promoting the health or wellness of an animal. The method comprises (1) identifying an animal whose health or wellness will be improved by increasing its production or activity of catalase and (2) administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount effective for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby promoting the health or wellness of the animal.

[0058] In another aspect, the invention provides a method for improving the quality of life for an animal. The method comprises (1) identifying an animal whose quality of life will be improved by increasing its production or activity of catalase and (2) administering vitamin D to the animal in an amount effective for increasing the production or activity of catalase in the animal, thereby increasing the quality of life for the animal.

[0059] In another aspect, the invention provides compositions useful for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal. These compositions comprise vitamin D and at least one additional agent for increasing catalase production or activity, or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal.

[0060] The vitamin D in the composition is any vitamin D that increases the production or activity of catalase in an animal. In one embodiment, the vitamin D is calcitriol (la,25-dihydroxyvitamin D 3 ). In another embodiment, the vitamin D is the analog seocalcitol (EB1089, la,25-dihydroxy-22,24-diene- 24,26,27-trihomovitamin D). In another embodiment, the vitamin D is la,25-dihydroxy-16-ene-23-yne- vitamin D 3 (analog V). Other suitable forms of vitamin D include, but are not limited to, vitamin D 3 , 25(OH) vitamin D 3 , 24,25 (OH) 2 vitamin D 3 , paricalcitol (a synthetic, biologically active vitamin D analog of calcitriol with modifications to the side chain (D 2 ) and the A (19-nor) ring), 1,25-dihydroxy- 16,23Z-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-D 3 , 1 ,25-dihydroxy-l 6,23E-diene-26,27-hexafluoro-19-nor-D 3 , 22-oxa- calcitriol, la-(OH)D 5 , 20-Epi-l a,25(OH) 2 D 3 , calcipotriol, 1 a24(S)(OH) 2 D 2 , 1 a,24(R)(OH) 2 D 3 and KH1060. Combinations of two or more of any vitamin D are also included in the invention. In certain embodiments, vitamin D forms or analogs that possess selected biological activities of calcitriol, but that are reduced or lacking in other biological activities of calcitriol, are used. For example, vitamin D forms or analogs that bind to vitamin D receptors, but that do not stimulate calcium absorption, may be suitable for use in various embodiments of the invention.

[0061] The amount of vitamin D in the composition is any amount needed to increase catalase production or activity in an animal. The amount will vary according to the form of vitamin D, the species of animal, the biological condition of the animal, the tissue(s) being treated, and other parameters well understood by a skilled artisan, e.g., medicinal chemist or biologist. A composition formulated to deliver a dosage of between about 1 μg kg body weight and about 1,000 μg kg body weight is suitable for most uses. More particularly a dosage of at least about 1 μg/kg body weight, or at least about 5 μg/kg body weight, or at least about 10 μg kg body weight, or at least about 20 μg kg body weight, or at least about 30 μg kg body weight, or at least about 40 μg/kg body weight, or at least about 50 μg/kg body weight, or at least about 100 μg/kg body weight, or at least about 200 μg kg body weight, or at least about 300 μg/kg body weight, or at least about 400 g kg body weight or at least about 500 g kg body weight may be utilized. A conversion of these dosage ranges to International Units (IU) may be made using the formula 40 IU = 1 μg of vitamin D. Compositions may also be formulated to deliver dosages calculated based on the concentration of vitamin D to be delivered to the target cells or tissues. Suitable concentrations comprise at least about 10 '10 M, or at least about 10 "9 M, or at least about 10 "8 M, or at least about 10 "7 M, or at least about 10 "6 M, or at least about 10 "5 M of vitamin D being made available for uptake by target cells.

[0062] The additional agents are any agents useful in increasing production or activity of catalase, or increasing the production or activity of any antioxidant system in the body or for detoxifying one or more reactive oxygen species. In one embodiment, the additional agents are one or more antioxidants. The antioxidants are any antioxidant suitable for administration to an animal. Antioxidants are well known in the art, particularly the art of food technology and food formulation. Natural antioxidant compounds include vitamins (such as A, C and E, and derivative, conjugates, or analogs thereof), as well as plant extracts, including extracts from fruit, vegetables, herbs, seeds, and other types and/or parts of plants. Compounds such as ot-lipoic acid, chlorophyll and derivatives thereof, glutathione, ubiquinols (e.g., coenzyme Q10), carotenoids (e.g., lycopene), flavonoids, phenolic acids and polyphenols, and pycnogenol are known to be excellent antioxidants. Some examples of plant sources of antioxidants are listed above. Selenium is an excellent oxygen scavenger and works well, especially with vitamin or related tocopherol compounds. Synthetic dietary antioxidants include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) which are commonly used in food products. Any of the foregoing, alone or in combination, are suited for use herein, as are combinations of natural and synthetic antioxidants. In one embodiment, the antioxidants comprise astaxanthin alone or in combination with other antioxidants.

[0063] The compositions may further comprise substances such as minerals, other vitamins, salts, functional additives including, for example, palatants, colorants, emulsifiers, antimicrobial or other preservatives. Minerals that may be useful in such compositions include, for example, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, iron, chloride, boron, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, iodine, selenium and the like. Examples of additional vitamins useful herein include such fat soluble vitamins as A, E, and . Inulin, amino acids, enzymes, coenzymes, and the like may be useful to include in various embodiments.

[0064] The compositions can be fonnulated as a human food composition, pet food composition, or dietary supplement. Such compositions include foods intended to supply the necessary dietary requirements for an animal, animal treats (e.g., biscuits), or dietary supplements. The compositions may be a dry composition (e.g., kibble), semi-moist composition, wet composition, or any mixture thereof. In another embodiment, the composition is a dietary supplement such as a gravy, drinking water, beverage, yogurt, powder, granule, paste, suspension, chew, morsel, treat, snack, pellet, pill, capsule, tablet, or any other suitable delivery form. The dietary supplement can comprise a high concentration of the vitamin D. This permits the supplement to be administered to the animal in small amounts, or in the altemative, can be diluted before administration to an animal. The dietary supplement may require admixing, or preferably be admixed with water or other diluents prior to administration to the animal.

[0065] In one embodiment, the compositions are refrigerated or frozen compositions. In another embodiment, the vitamin D is pre-blended with the other components to provide the beneficial amounts needed. In yet other embodiments, the vitamin D is used to coat a food, snack, pet food composition, or pet treat. In one embodiment, the vitamin D is added to the composition just prior to offering it to the animal, e.g., using a sprinkled powder or a mix.

[0066] The compositions can optionally comprise one or more supplementary substances that promote or sustain general health, as would be appreciated by the skilled artisan.

[0067] . In various embodiments, pet food or pet treat compositions comprise from about 15% to about 50% crude protein. The crude protein material may comprise vegetable proteins such as soybean meal, soy protein concentrate, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, cottonseed, and peanut meal, or animal proteins such as casein, albumin, and meat protein. Examples of meat protein useful herein include pork, lamb, equine, poultry, fish, and mixtures thereof.

[0068] The compositions may further comprise from about 5% to about 40% fat. The compositions may further comprise a source of carbohydrate. The compositions may comprise from about 15% to about 60% carbohydrate. Examples of such carbohydrates include grains or cereals such as rice, corn, milo, sorghum, alfalfa, barley, soybeans, canola, oats, wheat, and mixtures thereof. The compositions may also optionally comprise other materials such as dried whey and other dairy by-products.

[0069] In some embodiments, the ash content of the composition ranges from less than 1% to about 15%), preferably from about 5% to about 10%.

[0070] The moisture content can vary depending on the nature of the composition. In a preferred embodiment, the composition is a complete and nutritionally balanced pet food. In this embodiment, the pet food may be a "wet food", "dry food", or food of intermediate moisture content. "Wet food" describes pet food that is typically sold in cans or foil bags, and has a moisture content typically in the range of about 70% to about 90%. "Dry food" describes pet food which is of a similar composition to wet food, but contains a limited moisture content, typically in the range of about 5% to about 15% or 20%, and therefore is presented, for example, as small biscuit-like kibbles. In one presently preferred embodiment, the compositions have moisture content from about 5% to about 20%. Dry food products include a variety of foods of various moisture contents, such that they are relatively shelf-stable and resistant to microbial or fungal deterioration or contamination. Also preferred are dry food compositions which are extruded food products, such as pet foods, or snack foods for either humans or companion animals.

[0071] The compositions may also comprise one or more fiber sources. The term "fiber" includes all sources of "bulk" in the food whether digestible or indigestible, soluble or insoluble, fermentable or nonfermentable. Preferred fibers are from plant sources such as marine plants but microbial sources of fiber may also be used. A variety of soluble or insoluble fibers may be utilized, as will be known to those of ordinary skill in the art. The fiber source can be beet pulp (from sugar beet), gum arabic, gum talha, psyllium, rice bran, carob bean gum, citrus pulp, fhictooligosaccharide, pectin, short chain oligofructose, mannanoligofructose, soy fiber, arabinogalactan, galactooligosaccharide, arabinoxylan, or mixtures thereof.

[0072] Alternatively, the fiber source can be a fermentable fiber. Fermentable fiber has previously been described to provide a benefit to the immune system of a companion animal. Fermentable fiber or other compositions known to skilled artisans that provide a prebiotic to enhance the growth of probiotics within the intestine may also be incorporated into the composition to aid in the enhancement of the benefit provided by the present invention to the immune system of an animal.

[0073] hi various embodiments, the compositions further comprise one or more probiotics. In various embodiments, the compositions contain (1) one or more killed or inactivated probiotics, (2) components of the killed or inactivated probiotics that promote health benefits similar to or the same as the live probiotics, or (3) combinations thereof. The probiotics or their components can be integrated into the compositions (e.g. , uniformly or non-uniformly distributed in the composition) or applied to the food compositions {e.g. , topically applied with or without a carrier). In one embodiment, the probiotics are encapsulated in a carrier. Typical probiotics include, but are not limited to, probiotic strains selected from Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, or Enterococci, e.g., Lactobacillus reuteii, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus animalis, Lactobacillus ruminis, Lactobacillus johnsonii, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Bifidobacterium sp., Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus sp. In some embodiments, the probiotic strain is selected from the group consisting of Lactobacillus reuteri (NCC2581 ; CNCM 1-2448), Lactobacillus reuteri ( CC2592; CNCM 1-2450), Lactobacillus rhamnosus (NCC2583; CNCM 1-2449), Lactobacillus reuteri (NCC2603; CNCM 1-2451), Lactobacillus reuteri (NCC2613; CNCM 1-2452), Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCC2628; CNCM 1-2453), Bifidobacterium adolescentis (e.g. NCC2627), Bifidobacterium sp. NCC2657 or Enterococcus faecium SF68 (NCIMB 10415). The compositions contain probiotics in amounts sufficient to supply from about 10 4 to about 10 12 cfu/animal/day, preferably from 10 5 to about 10" cfu/animal/day, most preferably from 10 7 to 10 10 cfu/animal/day. When the probiotics are killed or inactivated, the amount of killed or inactivated probiotics or their components should produce a similar beneficial effect as the live microorganisms. Many such probiotics and their benefits are known to skilled artisans, e.g., EP1213970B1 , EP1143806B1 , US7189390, EP1482811B1 , EP1296565B1, and US6929793.

[0074] In various embodiments, the comestible compositions further comprise one or more prebiotics, e.g., fructo-oligosaccharides, gluco-oligosaccharides, galacto-oligosaccharides, isomalto- oligosaccharides, xylo-oligosaccharides, soybean oligosaccharides, lactosucrose, lactulose, and isomaltulose. In certain embodiments, the prebiotic is chicory, chicory root extract, aleurone, inulin, or combinations thereof. The prebiotics are integrated into the compositions as described herein, e.g., uniformly or non-uniformly distributed in the composition) or applied to the food compositions (e.g., topically applied with or without a carrier. Generally, prebiotics are administered in amounts sufficient to positively stimulate the healthy microflora in the gut. Typical amounts are from about 1 to about 10 grams per serving or from about 5 to about 40% of the recommended daily dietary fiber for an animal.

[0075] In various embodiments, the comestible compositions further comprise a combination of one or more probiotics and one or more prebiotics.

[0076] The compositions and dietary supplements may be specially formulated for the intended recipients or consumers, such as for adult animals or for older or young animals. For example, a composition adapted for puppies or kittens or adapted for active, pregnant, lactating, or aging animals can be prepared. In general, specialized compositions will comprise energy and nutritional requirements appropriate for animals at different stages of development or age.

[0077] Certain aspects of the invention are preferably used in combination with a complete and balanced food. According to certain embodiments provided herein, the compositions comprising the vitamin D are preferably used with a high-quality commercial food. As used herein, "high-quality commercial food" refers to a diet manufactured to produce the digestibility of the key nutrients of 80% or more, as set forth in, for example, the recommendations of the National Research Council above for dogs, or in the guidelines set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Similar high nutrient standards would be used for other animals.

[0078] In another embodiment, the invention provides pharmaceutical compositions comprising a composition of the present invention as described above, and one or more pharmaceutically acceptable carriers, diluents, or excipients. Generally, pharmaceutical compositions are prepared by admixing a compound or composition with excipients, buffers, binders, plasticizers, colorants, diluents, compressing agents, lubricants, flavorants, moistening agents, and the like, including other ingredients known to skilled artisans to be useful for producing pharmaceuticals and formulating compositions that are suitable for administration to an animal as pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical composition can be formulated for any mode of administration. In one embodiment, the pharmaceutical composition is formulated for oral administration as described above. In another embodiment, the composition is formulated for topical administration. Suitable topical fonnulations may include solutions, emulsions, creams, ointments, gels, liposomes, biodegradable microparticles, and other such delivery vehicles as would be well understood by the pharmaceutical chemist.

[0079] In another aspect, the invention provides kits useful for administering a composition comprising one or more forms of vitamin D to an animal. The kits include, in separate containers in a single package or in separate containers in a virtual package, as appropriate for the kit component, (a) one or more forms of vitamin D, (b) one or more of (1) one or more other ingredients suitable for consumption by an animal; (2) one or more other agents for increasing production or activity of catalase, (3) one or more antioxidants; (4) one or more agents for reducing reactive oxygen species; (5) one or more probiotics; (6) one or more prebiotics; (7) one or more diagnostic devices suitable for determining whether an animal can benefit from compositions and methods for increasing production or activity of catalase; (8) instructions for how to combine or prepare the vitamin D, and any other ingredients provided in the kit for administration to an animal; (9) instructions for how to use the combined kit components, prepared kit components, or other kit components for the benefit of an animal; and (10) a device for administering the combined or prepared kit components to an animal.

[0080] In another aspect, the invention provides methods for identifying an agent or regimen that increases the production or activity of catalase in cells or animals, particularly in a manner similar to that of vitamin D, e.g., a vitamin D mimetic. The methods comprise (a) determining a first gene expression profile by measuring transcription or translation products of genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1, and vitamin D receptor, in a cell sample in the absence of the agent or regimen; (b) determining a second gene expression profile by measuring transcription or translation products of genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1, and vitamin D receptor, in a cell sample the presence of the agent or regimen, and (c) comparing the first gene expression profile with the second gene expression profile, wherein an increase in the catalase transcription or translation products, but not in the transcription or translation products of the other genes, in the second gene expression profile indicates that the agent or regimen is likely to increase the production or activity of catalase in a cell, in a manner similar to that of vitamin D.

[0081] Assays for measuring changes in gene expression or enzyme activity are well known to the skilled artisan. Typically, gene expression assays will measure changes in transcription or translation products of selected genes (1) by measuring transcribed RNA, e.g., through a hybridization or amplification assay using nucleic acid probes or primers, or (2) by measuring protein, e.g., through an immunological binding assay, such as a Western blot or ELISA assay, using antibody probes. Moreover, assays for measuring activity of one or more of the above-listed enzymes are also well known in the art. An assay for measuring catalase activity is described in Example 3 herein.

[0082] Methods of this type may further comprise comparing at least the second gene expression profile with a reference gene expression profile obtained by measuring transcription or translation products of one or more genes encoding the aforementioned proteins in the presence of a reference substance, such as calcitriol, which has been demonstrated to increase the production or activity of catalase, i.e., by upregulating catalase gene expression.

[0083] The comparison between the test gene expression profile and the reference profile can be relatively contemporaneous, i.e., cells or tissues are assayed side by side. Alternatively, however, the reference used for comparison can be based upon data previously obtained using the method.

[0084] In one embodiment, the method is performed on a population of cultured cells. In one embodiment, transcription or translation products of tlie cells are measured in the presence or absence of a test compound or a reference compound, i.e., by detection with a probe or amplification primer that specifically hybridizes with mRNA encoded by tlie above-listed genes, or by detection with an antibody that specifically binds to a protein encoded by the genes. Alternatively, reporter genes can be utilized in a recombinant system. In either embodiment, the host cells can be mammalian cell lines, preferably originating from a human or a companion animal, such as a canine or feline. Alternatively, the methods can be performed on cells or tissues freshly isolated from a subject.

[0085] In another embodiment, the method is performed on animals. Typically, a test compound or test regimen (dietary, exercise, and the like) is administered to a subject and the gene expression profile in a selected tissue of the subject is analyzed to determine the effect of the test compound on transcription or translation of the aforementioned genes. Gene expression can be analyzed in situ or ex vivo to determine the effect of the test compound. In another embodiment, a test compound or regimen is administered to a subject and the activity of a protein expressed from a gene is analyzed in situ or ex vivo according to any means suitable in the art to determine the effect of the test compound on the activity of the proteins of interest. In addition, where a test compound is administered to a subject, the physiological, systemic, and physical effects of the compound, as well as potential toxicity of the compound can also be evaluated.

[0086] In another aspect, the invention provides a substance or regimen identified by the methods for identifying an agent or regimen that increases the production or activity of catalase as likely to increase the production or activity of catalase when administered to an individual. Due to the manner in which they are identified, such substances should act as vitamin D mimetics, at least with respect to increasing catalase production in a manner similar to that of vitamin D.

[0087] In a further aspect, the invention provides kits useful for identifying an agent or regimen that increases the production or activity of catalase in cells, in a manner similar to that of vitamin D. This type of kit includes: (1) reagents suitable for measuring transcription or translation products of two or more genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor- beta 1 , and vitamin D receptor, and (2) instructions for how to use the measurements of expression of the genes to determine if an agent or regimen increases the production or activity of catalase in cells, in a manner similar to that of vitamin D. Such kits may further comprise one or more of: (1) a sample of vitamin D; and (2) information communicating the level of expression of the genes encoding catalase, manganese superoxide dismutase, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase, and, optionally, one or more of glutathione peroxidase, parathyroid hormone-related protein, transforming growth factor-beta 1, and vitamin D receptor, expected for cells exposed to vitamin D.

[0088] In another aspect, the invention provides a means for communicating information about or instructions for one or more of (1) benefits of increasing catalase production or activity in an animal; (2) admixing one or more of: forms of vitamin D, other agents for increasing production or activity of catalase, antioxidants, agents for reducing reactive oxygen species, probiotics, prebiotics, and other ingredients suitable for consumption by an animal, to produce compositions for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal, (3) instructions for administering the compositions to an animal, (4) information for detenriining if an animal will benefit from increased catalase production or activity, and (5) information pertaining to screening forms of vitamin D for their ability to increase production or activity of catalase, the means for communicating comprising one or more of a physical or electronic document, digital storage media, optical storage media, audio presentation, audiovisual display, or visual display containing the information or instructions. These communication means can include one or more of a displayed website, a visual display kiosk, a brochure, a product label, a package insert, an advertisement, a handout, a public announcement, an audiotape, a videotape, a DVD, a CD-ROM, a computer readable chip, a computer readable card, a computer readable disk, a USB device, a Fire Wire device, a computer memory, and any combination thereof. The communication means is useful for, among other things, instructing on the benefits of using the present invention and for providing contact information for a consumer or user of the invention to obtain help in using or interpreting the results from the invention.

[0089] In another aspect, the present invention provides a package comprising a composition of the present invention and a label affixed to the package containing a word or words, picture, design, acronym, slogan, phrase, or other device, or combination thereof, that indicates that the contents of the package contains a composition suitable for increasing the amount or activity of catalase in an animal. Typically, such a device comprises the words "improves antioxidant response", "alleviates oxidative stress", "helps maintain animals in their prime years", "promotes health and wellness" or an equivalent expression printed on the package. Any package or packaging material suitable for containing the composition is useful in the invention, e.g., a bag, box, bottle, can, pouch, and the like manufactured from paper, plastic, foil, metal, and the like. In a preferred embodiment, the package contains a food composition adapted for a particular animal such as a human, canine or feline, as appropriate for the label, preferably a companion animal food composition.

[0090] In another aspect, the invention provides for use of vitamin D to prepare a medicament. The medicament is useful for increasing the production or activity of catalase in an animal, promoting the health and wellness of an animal, extending the prime of an animal, and increasing the quality of life for an animal. In various embodiments, the medicament further comprises one or more additional agents useful for increasing catalase production or activity, or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal. Generally, medicaments are prepared by admixing vitamin D with excipients, buffers, binders, plasticizers, colorants, diluents, compressing agents, lubricants, flavorants, moistening agents, and other ingredients known to skilled artisans to be useful for producing medicaments and formulating medicaments that are suitable for administration to an animal. In various embodiments, the medicament further comprises a probiotic, prebiotic, or combination thereof.

[0091] In another aspect, the invention provides methods for manufacturing a composition comprising at least one vitamin D and one or more additional agents useful for increasing catalase production or activity, or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal. The methods comprise admixing vitamin D and one or more additional agents. The agents are any compound or other substance useful for increasing catalase production or activity, or for reducing or eliminating reactive oxygen species in the animal. When the composition is a food, the composition may comprise one or more other ingredients suitable for consumption by an animal, e.g., protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, and the like. Alternatively, the methods comprise applying the vitamin D, agents, and other ingredients if desired, separately or in any combination onto a food, e.g., as a coating or topping. The vitamin D can be added at any time during the manufacture and/or processing of the food. This includes, for example, admixing the vitamin D and other selected ingredients as part of the core formulation of the "body" of the food composition or applying them as a coating, i.e., primarily to the surface of the food after its manufacture. The compositions can be made according to any method suitable in the art.

EXAMPLES

[0092] The invention can be further illustrated by the following examples, although it will be understood that these examples are included merely for purposes of illustration and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention unless otherwise specifically indicated.

Example 1

[0093] Canine bladder transitional cell carcinoma (cbTCC) cells were grown in DMEM medium supplemented with 5% FBS, 5% newborn calf serum, and penicillin-streptomycin (GEBCO BRL, Grand Island, NY, USA) at 37°C in a humidified atmosphere of 5% C02. Cells were plated at 50,000 cells/ml in 6-well culture plates (Coming Incorporated Life Sciences, Acton, MA, USA) and incubated for 24 hours before treatment. For western blot analysis, cells were treated with calcitriol (1 a,25-d ydroxyvitamin D 3 ) at 10 "7 M and 10 "9 M, and seocalcitol (EB 1089, la,25-dihydroxy-22,24-diene-24,26,27-trihomovitamin D) at 10 "9 M for 24 hours. For enzyme activity analysis, cells were treated with calcitriol at 10 "7 M and 10 "9 M, seocalcitol at 10 "9 M and analog V (la,25-dihydroxy-16-ene-23-yne-vitamin D 3 ) at 10 "9 M for 24 hours. For gene expression analysis, cells were treated with calcitriol at 10 '7 M and 10 ~9 M, and seocalcitol at 10 ~7 M and 10 "9 M for 24 hours. Treatments were done in at least triplicates. The final concentration of vehicle (ethanol) in all controls was less than 0.1% of media.

Example 2

[0094] Harvested cells were homogenized, and analyzed for the production of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu/ZnSOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX). Cell lysates were collected after centrifugation, and total protein was quantitated. Equivalent amounts of total protein (20 or 40 μg) were resolved on precast 10% polyacylamide gels and electronically transferred to nitrocellulose membranes. Transblotted membranes were blocked overnight at 4°C with the addition of 5% skim milk in Tris-buffered saline (TBS). The membranes were cut at the molecular weight of 37 kD (green band) and 25 kD (pink band). The top part of the membranes were stained for CAT, GPX, and β-actin, and the bottom part for MnSOD and Cu/ZnSOD. The primary antibodies for specific proteins were used at the following dilutions: Rabbit-anti-human MnSOD at 1 :2000 (Upstate Biotech); Sheep-anti-human Cu/ZnSOD at 1 :2000 (Calbiochem); Sheep-anti-human catalase at 1 :1000 (Bidesign); and Sheep-anti-human GPX at 1 :500 (Biodesign). Secondary antibodies are their respective IgG-HRP conjugates used at 1 :2000. Data were reported as intensity of protein bands relative to the control (normalized to β-actin levels), considering control as 100 percent. CAT, MnSOD and Cu/ZnSOD, n=7; GPX, n=4. Prior to transforming data as percent of control, a one-tail paired t-test assuming equal variance was performed to determine significance. Results are shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Protein Expression As Determined By Western Blot Analysis

Values represent the average percent intensity of the protein band relative to the control ± the standard deviation. Significant differences as compared to control: * = p<0.05.

Example 3

[0095] The enzymatic activity of catalase was determined using assay kits from Cayman Chemical Co., Ann Arbor, MI, according to manufacturer's directions. The assay utilized the peroxidatic function of CAT for determination of enzymatic activity, based on the reaction of the enzyme with methanol in the presence of an optimal concentration of H 2 0 2 . The formaldehyde produced was measured spectrophotometrically with 4-amino-3-hydrazino-5mercapto-l,2,4-triazole (Purpald) as the chromagen. Purpald specifically forms a bicyclic heterocycle with aldehydes, which upon oxidation changes from colorless to a purple color. The absorbance was read at 540 nm using a spectrophotometric plate reader. Results were calculated from standard curve from known samples and by using the provided equations. From that, the enzymatic activity of CAT was derived as nmol/min/ml CAT. Samples were done in triplicate. A one-tail t-test assuming equal variance was performed to determine significance. Results are shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Enzymatic Activity of Catalase

Values represent the mean ± the standard deviation of nmol/min ml CAT. Significant

differences compared to control: * = p<0.05 and ** = pO.01.

Example 4

[0096] Total RNA was isolated using RNAqueous® kit from Ambion Inc. (Austin, TX, USA). Briefly, treated cells were trypsinized (at 37°C in the oven), and homogenized by a hand held electric homogenizer (at 4°C). Cell lysates were then subjected to total RNA isolation according to protocol provided by RNAqueous® kit and stored at -80°C. The RNA received was purified and concentrated to -1000 ng/ul using ethanol precipitation. The RNA was resuspended in DEPC water and DNAse I treated to remove residual DNA. The DNA-free™ DNAse Treatment kit from Ambion (cat #1906) was used for DNAse I treatment according to the manufacturer's directions. The Purified RNA was quantitated using the NanoDrop spectrophotometer and checked for integrity using the Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer, following the RNA nano chip kit (cat#5067-1511) protocol.

[0097] Quantitative PCR. Quantitative PCR was performed to determine RNA expression changes for calcitriol at 10 "7 M (n=5) and 10 "9 M (n=5), and seocalcitol at 10 "7 M (n=3) and 10 "9 M (n=3) treated cells relative to control (n=5) for 24 hours. Reverse transcriptase reactions were performed using Super Script II® First-Strand Synthesis System for RT-PCR (Invitrogen # 11904-018) according to manufacturer's directions. For each sample reaction, 1 μg of RNA was added to DEPC Treated & Nuclease free H20 (Fisher # BP561-1) to a final volume of 11.4uL. A Master Mix was made using 1.5uL10 mM dNTPs, 1.5μΙ, random hexamers and 0.6uL Oligo dT primers per reaction (sample). 3.6uL of the Master Mix was added to each sample. Samples were incubated at 68°C for 10 minutes and then brought down to 4°C for at least 1 minute using a GeneAmp PCR System 9700 (Applied Biosystems). A portion (0.25X) of the above reaction was removed and used as a minus RT reaction (Negative Control containing No Super Script II® Reverse Transcriptase). Using the same Super Script II® Reverse Transcriptase kit, a master mix containing 3μΙ- of 10X RT buffer, 6\xL of 25mM MgC12, 3μΙ, 0.1 M DTT and 1.5μί RNAse Inhibitor was made. A portion (0.25X) was removed and 0.375μ1. H20 per sample was added for the minus RT Master Mix. 3.75μΙ_, was added to each minus RT sample. To the remainder of the Master Mix, 1.125μΙ_, Super Script II® Reverse Transcriptase per sample was added for the Plus RT Master Mix. 1 1.25μΙ_. was added to each Plus RT sample. All reactions were then incubated at 42°C for lhour, boiled at 95°C for 5 minutes, and brought down to 4°C using a GeneAmp PCR System 9700. The samples were then diluted 1 part RT reaction to 29 Parts TE buffer pH=8.0 (Ambion # 9858) to create a stock of cDNA for experimentation.

[0098] Primers and 5' nuclease assay probes were designed based on selected sequences using Primer ExpressTM v3.0 with standard factory defaults (Applied Biosystems Primer Express® Tutorial for Real Time Quantitative PCR Primer and Probe Design Tutorial). Minor groove Binding probes (ABI Custom Oligo Synthesis Factory) were ordered from ABI. All oligos were reconstituted with DEPC H20 to Ι ΟΟμΜ stock concentration, and then diluted with DEPC H20 to a 5μΜ working stock concentration. TaqMan® Fast Universal PCR Master Mix (2X) (Applied Biosystems # 4352042) was used for quantitative PCR reactions according to the manufacturer's directions. Final Primer concentration was 300μΜ each and final Probe concentration was 200μΜ (determined optimal from earlier experiments). 3.2μ1 of Plus RT and minus RT reactions were used for quantitative PCR reactions in a final volume of 20uL. All positive reactions were done in triplicate, and negative controls were performed singly. Standard qPCR conditions were used as described in the TaqMan® Fast Universal Master Mix (Applied Biosystems, 95.0°C for 20 seconds, and 40-50 cycles of 95°C for 03 seconds then 60°C for 30 seconds) at 20μΙ ^ final volume. Samples were run on an ABI Prism 7500 Fast Real Time PCR System using ABI SDS Software vl.3.

[0099] All samples were run singularly against each primer/probe set to determine what sample should be used for the Standard Curve. Standard curves were generated using serial dilutions of RNA from experimental samples showing the lowest CT (cycle threshold) for the most targets. The low CT sample was re-reverse transcribed and a 1 : 10 serial dilution would be used as the standard curve for all primer/probe sets. Cycle threshold values were then used to calculate an input amount by using the standard curve and mean input amounts. Values were normalized to Cyclophilin A (Peptidylprolyl isomerase A) levels as determined by quantitative PCR. Inductions were calculated from each of the lowest sample's normalized value. The Dunnett's test was performed on the null hypothesis where the mean of each treatment group is equal to the mean of their common control group at the 99% confidence interval (alpha=0.01). Results are shown in Table 3.

Table 3

Gene Expression Values As Determined By Quantitative PCR

Values represent the means ± the standard errors of the means.

** represents a significant difference as compared to control at the 99% confidence interval.

[00100] In the specification, there have been disclosed typical preferred embodiments of the invention. Although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. The scope of the invention is set forth in the claims. Obviously many modifications and variations of the invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.