Inhibitory effects of Camellia japonica on cell inflammation and acute rat reflux esophagitis

Chin Med. 2021 Jan 7;16(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s13020-020-00411-0.


Background: Excessive and continuous inflammation may be the main cause of various immune system diseases. Reflux esophagitis (RE) is a common gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Camellia japonica has high medicinal value and has long been used as a traditional herbal hemostatic medicine in China and Korea. The purpose of this study is to explore the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of CJE and its protective effect on RE.

Materials and methods: Buds from C. japonica plants were collected in the mountain area of Jeju, South Korea. Dried C. japonica buds were extracted with 75% ethanol. DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging assay were evaluated according to previous method. The ROS production and anti-inflammatory effects of C. japonica buds ethanol extract (CJE) were evaluated on LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cell inflammation. The protective effects of CJE on RE were conducted in a RE rat model.

Results: CJE eliminated over 50% of DPPH and ABTS radical at concentration of 100 and 200 µg/mL, respectively. CJE alleviated changes in cell morphology, reduced production of ROS, NO and IL-1β. Also, down-regulated expression levels of iNOS, TNF-α, phosphorylated NF-κB, IκBα, and JNK/p38/MAPK. CJE reduced esophageal tissue damage ratio (40.3%) and attenuation of histological changes. In addition, CJE down-regulated the expression levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, COX-2 and phosphorylation levels of NF-κB and IκBα in esophageal tissue.

Conclusions: CJE possesses good anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory activity, and can improve RE in rats caused by gastric acid reflux. Therefore, CJE is a natural material with good anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and has the possibility of being a candidate phytomedicine source for the treatment of RE.

Keywords: Anti-inflammation; Anti-oxidant; Camellia japonica; Cytokines; NF-κB/MAPK signaling pathway; Reflux esophagitis.