Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenol that exhibits pleiotropic health beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective, and cancer-protective activities. It is recognized as one of the more promising natural molecules in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Ulcerative colitis is an idiopathic, chronic inflammatory disease of the colon associated with a high colon cancer risk. Here, we used a dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) mouse model of colitis, which resembles human ulcerative colitis pathology. Resveratrol mixed in food ameliorates DSS-induced colitis in mice in a dose-dependent manner. Resveratrol significantly improves inflammation score, downregulates the percentage of neutrophils in the mesenteric lymph nodes and lamina propria, and modulates CD3(+) T cells that express tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IFN-gamma. Markers of inflammation and inflammatory stress (p53 and p53-phospho-Ser(15)) are also downregulated by resveratrol. Because chronic colitis drives colon cancer risk, we carried out experiments to determine the chemopreventive properties of resveratrol. Tumor incidence is reduced from 80% in mice treated with azoxymethane (AOM) + DSS to 20% in mice treated with AOM + DSS + resveratrol (300 ppm). Tumor multiplicity also decreased with resveratrol treatment. AOM + DSS-treated mice had 2.4 +/- 0.7 tumors per animal compared with AOM + DSS + 300 ppm resveratrol, which had 0.2 +/- 0.13 tumors per animal. The current study indicates that resveratrol is a useful, nontoxic complementary and alternative strategy to abate colitis and potentially colon cancer associated with colitis.
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