Selenium (Se) plays an important role in fine-tuning immune responses. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involves hyperresponsive immunity of the digestive tract, and a low Se level might aggravate IBD progression; however, the beneficial effects of natural Se-enriched diets on IBD remain unknown. Previously, we developed high-yield Se-enriched Spirulina platensis (Se-SP) as an excellent organic nutritional Se source. Here we prepared Se-containing phycocyanin (Se-PC) from Se-SP and observed that Se-PC administration effectively reduced the extent of colitis in mouse induced by dextran sulfate sodium. Supplementation with Se-PC resulted in significant protective effects, including mitigation of body weight loss, bloody diarrhea, and colonic inflammatory damage. The anti-inflammatory effects of Se-PC supplementation were found to involve modulation of cytokines, including IL-6, TNF-α, MCP-1, and IL-10. Mechanistically, Se-PC inhibited the activation of macrophages by suppressing the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, which is involved in the transcription of these pro-inflammatory cytokines. These results together suggest potential benefits of Se-PC as a functional Se supplement to reduce the symptoms of IBD.
Keywords: IBD; NF-κB pathway; Spirulina platensis; phycocyanin; selenium.