Aim: To investigate the anti-inflammatory properties of Lacto-Wolfberry (LWB), both in vitro and using a mouse model of experimental colitis.
Methods: The effects of LWB on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and interleukin (IL)-6 secretion were assessed in a murine macrophage cell line. in vitro assessment also included characterizing the effects of LWB on the activation of NF-E2 related 2 pathway and inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-induced nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation, utilizing reporter cell lines. Following the in vitro assessment, the anti-inflammatory efficacy of an oral intervention with LWB was tested in vivo using a preclinical model of intestinal inflammation. Multiple outcomes including body weight, intestinal histology, colonic cytokine levels and anti-oxidative measures were investigated.
Results: LWB reduced the LPS-mediated induction of ROS production [+LPS vs 1% LWB + LPS, 1590 ± 188.5 relative luminescence units (RLU) vs 389 ± 5.9 RLU, P < 0.001]. LWB was more effective than wolfberry alone in reducing LPS-induced IL-6 secretion in vitro (wolfberry vs 0.5% LWB, 15% ± 7.8% vs 64% ± 5%, P < 0.001). In addition, LWB increased reporter gene expression via the anti-oxidant response element activation (wolfberry vs LWB, 73% ± 6.9% vs 148% ± 28.3%, P < 0.001) and inhibited the TNF-α-induced activation of the NF-κB pathway (milk vs LWB, 10% ± 6.7% vs 35% ± 3.3%, P < 0.05). Furthermore, oral supplementation with LWB resulted in a reduction of macroscopic (-LWB vs +LWB, 5.39 ± 0.61 vs 3.66 ± 0.59, P = 0.0445) and histological scores (-LWB vs +LWB, 5.44 ± 0.32 vs 3.66 ± 0.59, P = 0.0087) in colitic mice. These effects were associated with a significant decrease in levels of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β (-LWB vs +LWB, 570 ± 245 μg/L vs 89 ± 38 μg/L, P = 0.0106), keratinocyte-derived chemokine/growth regulated protein-α (-LWB vs +LWB, 184 ± 49 μg/L vs 75 ± 20 μg/L, P = 0.0244), IL-6 (-LWB vs +LWB, 318 ± 99 μg/L vs 117 ± 18 μg/L, P = 0.0315) and other pro-inflammatory proteins such as cyclooxygenase-2 (-LWB vs +LWB, 0.95 ± 0.12 AU vs 0.36 ± 0.11 AU, P = 0.0036) and phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (-LWB vs +LWB, 0.51 ± 0.15 AU vs 0.1 ± 0.04 AU, P = 0.057). Moreover, antioxidant biomarkers, including expression of gene encoding for the glutathione peroxidase, in the colon and the plasma anti-oxidant capacity were significantly increased by supplementation with LWB (-LWB vs +LWB, 1.2 ± 0.21 mmol/L vs 2.1 ± 0.19 mmol/L, P = 0.0095).
Conclusion: These results demonstrate the anti-inflammatory properties of LWB and suggest that the underlying mechanism is at least in part due to NF-κB inhibition and improved anti-oxidative capacity.
Keywords: Colitis; Crohn’s disease; Inflammation; Inflammatory bowel disease; Lacto-Wolfberry; Nutrition; Wolfberry.