Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties of an enzymatic protein hydrolysate from yellow field pea seeds

Eur J Nutr. 2012 Feb;51(1):29-37. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0186-3. Epub 2011 Mar 27.


Purpose: Enzymatic protein hydrolysates of yellow pea seed have been shown to possess high anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial activities. The aim of this work was to confirm the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating activities of an enzymatic protein hydrolysate of yellow field pea seeds.

Methods: The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of peptides from yellow field pea proteins (Pisum sativum L.) were investigated in LPS/IFN-γ-activated RAW 264.7 NO⁻ macrophages. The immunomodulating potential of pea protein hydrolysate (PPH) was then studied in a murine model.

Results: Pea protein hydrolysate, after a 12 h pre-treatment, showed significant inhibition of NO production by activated macrophages up to 20%. Moreover, PPH significantly inhibited their secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-α- and IL-6, up to 35 and 80%, respectively. Oral administration of PPH in mice enhanced the phagocytic activity of their peritoneal macrophages and stimulated the gut mucosa immune response. The number of IgA+ cells was elevated in the small intestine lamina propria, accompanied by an increase in the number of IL-4+, IL-10+ and IFN-γ+ cells. This was correlated to up-regulation of IL-6 secretion by small intestine epithelial cells (IEC), probably responsible for B-cell terminal differentiation to IgA-secreting cells. Moreover, PPH might have increased IL-6 production in IECs via the stimulation of toll-like receptors (TLRs) family, especially TLR2 and TLR4 since either anti-TLR2 or anti-TLR4 was able to completely abolish PPH-induced IL-6 secretion.

Conclusions: Enzymatic protein degradation confers anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating potentials to pea proteins, and the resulted peptides could be used as an alternative therapy for the prevention of inflammatory-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / metabolism*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Intestine, Small / cytology
  • Intestine, Small / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mucous Membrane / cytology
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pisum sativum / chemistry*
  • Protein Hydrolysates / metabolism*
  • Random Allocation
  • Seed Storage Proteins / metabolism*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Protein Hydrolysates
  • Seed Storage Proteins
  • Toll-Like Receptors