Red clover (Trifolium pratense) possesses various dietary compounds that improve human health. However, the functions of anthocyanins in red clover remain unclear. Here we examined anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of red clover extract (RC) and red clover anthocyanins fraction (RCA) using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated RAW 264.7 macrophages and identified dietary compounds. RC and RCA suppressed LPS-induced expression of genes such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, interleukin (IL)1β, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)1, and cyclooxygenase (COX)2. LPS-stimulated intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production also was prevented by both RC and RCA. NADPH oxidase 1 (NOX1) gene and phosphorylation of p47phox of NOX1 that were increased by LPS were inhibited in the cells treated with RCA. LPS-stimulated nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) gene expression and nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) subunit p65 were suppressed together with reduced iNOS and COX2 proteins by RCA. Additionally, 27 polyphenols and 7 anthocyanins from RC were identified and quantified. In conclusion, RC, especially RCA, exerted anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activities in vitro by regulating NF-κB and NRF2 signaling pathways, suggesting that anthocyanins in red clover are the potential candidates to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Keywords: anthocyanins; anti-inflammation; antioxidation; red clover.