Preventative and therapeutic effects of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seed extracts against necrotizing enterocolitis

J Food Biochem. 2020 Aug;44(8):e13284. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13284. Epub 2020 Jun 8.


We aimed to understand the efficacy of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare: FV) extract in an experimental necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) model. Forty-two rat pups were divided into three groups as NEC, NEC treated with fennel extract, and control. At the end of the experiment, tissue samples were taken from the proximal colon and ileum for biochemical and immuno-histological studies including hematoxylin-eosin and Caspase-3-8-9 immunohistochemical staining. Bowel damage and apoptosis were found to be less in the NEC + FV group. Oxidant stress, caspase 3, TNF-α, and IL-6 levels were considerably decreased in the NEC + FV group. Antioxidants were significantly higher in the NEC + FV group more than in the NEC group. Moreover, protein, DNA damage, and lipid peroxidation were found to be decreased in the NEC + FV group compared to the NEC group. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Intense inflammation, oxidant stress, apoptosis, and infection are important in the development of NEC. Fennel has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, immunomodulatory effects. Fennel extract might be a novel option in the treatment of NEC through its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and cytoprotective features.

Keywords: Foeniculum vulgare; anti-inflammatory; anti-oxidant; necrotizing enterocolitis; rat.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing* / drug therapy
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing* / prevention & control
  • Foeniculum*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts