Inflammation related responses of intestinal cells to plum and cabbage digesta with differential carotenoid and polyphenol profiles following simulated gastrointestinal digestion

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 May;60(5):992-1005. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500947. Epub 2016 Apr 14.


Scope: Plums/cabbages represent fruits/vegetables rich in carotenoids and polyphenols, and have been associated with anti-inflammatory properties.

Methods and results: We tested four plum (Italian Plum, Plum 620, Ersinger, and Cherry Plum) and cabbage varieties (Duchy, Kalorama, Kale, Scots Kale) with contrasting carotenoid/polyphenol content for their capability to alter inflammation/oxidative stress following simulated gastrointestinal digestion. Digesta were exposed to Caco-2(TC-7) and to a triple-culture(Caco-2/HT-29-MTX (90:10 v/v) including THP-1 like macrophages), stimulated to induce inflammation (10 μg/mL LPS, 100 ng/mL TNF-α, 25 ng/mL IL-1-β for 24 h, the last 18 h with digesta). Endpoints investigated included IL-6, IL-8, PGE-2, NO (all ELISA), NF-κB, MAPK, IL-6, IL-8, iNOS, Nrf2, COX-2 (real-time-PCR) and Nrf2 (immunostaining). IL-6 secretion was reduced in THP-1 cells by Scots Kale and Kalorama (up to 22%, p<0.05), and IL-8 secretion in the coculture (up to 35% in plums, p<0.05). This was accompanied by decreased NF-kB expressions in THP-1 cells (up to 30%, p<0.05). Nrf2 translocation to the nucleus was partly reduced by plums and cabbages (up to 40% (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Some varieties, especially in the triple-culture, reduced inflammation, though this was unrelated to concentrations of carotenoids/polyphenols. The potential of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables to ameliorate gastrointestinal inflammation should be further investigated.

Keywords: Digestion; Epithelium; Inflammation models; Nuclear receptors and cytokines; Phytochemicals.

MeSH terms

  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Carotenoids / analysis
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Polyphenols / analysis
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Prunus domestica / chemistry*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NF-kappa B
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Polyphenols
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Carotenoids
  • NOS2 protein, human
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human