Anti-inflammatory activity of fruit fractions in vitro, mediated through toll-like receptor 4 and 2 in the context of inflammatory bowel disease

Nutrients. 2014 Nov 19;6(11):5265-79. doi: 10.3390/nu6115265.


Pattern recognition receptors such as Toll-Like Receptor 2 (TLR2) and 4 (TLR4) are important in detecting and responding to stress and bacterial stimuli. Defect or damage in the TLR2 and TLR4 pathways can lead to sustained inflammation, characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The goal of this study was to identify fruit fractions that can be tested further to develop them as complementary therapies for IBD. In order to do this, we identified fruit fractions that mediate their anti-inflammatory response through the TLR4 and TLR2 pathway. Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK)-hTLR4 and hTLR2 cells were stimulated with their respective ligands to induce inflammation. These cells were treated with one of the 12 fractionated fruits and the inflammatory effect measured. 10 of the fruits came up as anti-inflammatory in the hTLR4 assay and nine in the hTLR2 assays. Many of the fruit fractions mediated their anti-inflammatory actions either mainly in their hydrophobic fractions (such as elderberry) or hydrophilic fractions (such as red raspberry), or both. The strongest anti-inflammatory effects were seen for feijoa and blackberry. This study shows that fruits can have multiple fractions eliciting anti-inflammatory effects in a pathway specific manner. This suggests that the compounds found in fruits can act together to produce health benefits by way of reducing inflammation. Exploiting this property of fruits can help develop complimentary therapies for inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / metabolism*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • TLR2 protein, human
  • TLR4 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4