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, 126 (3), 345-52

Bromelain Treatment Decreases Secretion of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines and Chemokines by Colon Biopsies in Vitro


Bromelain Treatment Decreases Secretion of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines and Chemokines by Colon Biopsies in Vitro

Jane E Onken et al. Clin Immunol.


Oral bromelain has been anecdotally reported to decrease inflammation in ulcerative colitis (UC). Proteolytically active bromelain is known to decrease expression of mRNAs encoding pro-inflammatory cytokines by human leukocytes in vitro. To assess the effect of bromelain on mucosal secretion of cytokines in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), endoscopic colon biopsies from patients with UC, Crohn's disease (CD), and non-IBD controls were treated in vitro with bromelain or media, then cultured. Secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines was measured. Significant increases in granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), interferon (IFN)-gamma, interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) were detected in the media from actively inflamed areas in UC and CD as compared with non-inflamed IBD tissue and non-IBD controls. In vitro bromelain treatment decreased secretion of G-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), IFN-gamma, CCL4/macrophage inhibitory protein (MIP)-1beta, and TNF by inflamed tissue in IBD. Bromelain may be a novel therapy for IBD.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Effect of bromelain on cytokine and chemokine secretion by human colon tissues
Paired colon biopsies derived from normal patients without IBD (n = 8) and inflamed colon from patients with CD (n = 18) and UC (n = 12) were treated with media alone or 1 mg/ml bromelain in media at 37° for 1 hr, then washed to remove and inactivate bromelain prior to culture. Cytokine levels detected in the media following organ culture for 24 hrs are reported as pg/ml/mg tissue. The box represents the lower through upper quartiles of values obtained. Median values are indicated by horizontal lines within the boxes. The minimum and maximum values obtained are indicated by the endpoints of the vertical lines. Vertical lines that are longer than the 1.5 times the height of the box indicate the observance of outliers. Note that the axes are broken in panels reporting results for IL-1β, MCP-1, and TNF to reflect that wide ranges of values observed for those cytokines. * indicates p ≤0.03 when cytokine levels produced by media-treated and bromelain-treated tissues are compared using the Wilcoxon signed- rank test. Cytokine secretion from non-inflamed biopsies from patients with CD (n = 22) and UC (n = 20) did not differ from that seen with normal tissues, either at baseline (Table 2) or after bromelain treatment. Therefore, these data are not shown in this figure.

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