Current epidemiological and experimental studies support a beneficial role of dietary polyphenols in several gastrointestinal diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the effects of a naturally occurring polyphenol, ellagic acid, present in some fruits such as pomegranate, raspberries and nuts among others, in an experimental murine model of Crohn's disease by intra-colonic administration of TNBS in rats. Analysis of the lesions were carried out by macroscopic and histological technics. Inflammation response was assessed by histology and myeloperoxidase activity. iNOS and COX-2 are upregulated by MAPKs and NF-κB nuclear transcription factor in intestinal epithelial cells thus, we determined the expression of iNOS, COX-2 and the involvement of the p38, JNK, ERK1/2 MAPKs and NF-κB signalling in the protective effect of EA by western blotting. Oral administration of EA (10-20 mg/kg) diminished the severity and extension of the intestinal injuries induced by TNBS although there was no observed a significant dose-response. In addition, EA increased mucus production in goblet cells in colon mucosa, decreased neutrophil infiltration and pro-inflammatory proteins COX-2 and iNOS overexpression. Also EA was capable of reducing the activation of p38, JNK and ERK1/2 MAPKs, preventing the inhibitory protein IκB-degradation and inducing an inhibition of the nuclear translocation level of p65 in colonic mucosa. In conclusion, EA reduces the damage in a rat model of Crohn's disease, alleviates the oxidative events and returns pro-inflammatory proteins expression to basal levels probably through MAPKs and NF-κB signalling pathways.
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