[Anti-inflammatory activity of high and low methoxylated apple pectins, in vivo and in vitro]

Vopr Pitan. 2021;90(6):92-100. doi: 10.33029/0042-8833-2021-90-6-92-100. Epub 2021 Oct 26.
[Article in Russian]


One of the possible mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory action of pectins is associated with the inhibition of excessive pro-inflammatory activity of macrophages - the cells that regulate inflammation intensity and reparative regeneration. It has been found that pectins with a low degree of methyl esterification of the carboxyl groups of the galacturonan core of the macromolecule exhibit this effect. In addition to leukocytes, intestinal epithelial cells are also involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases. However, to date, there have been insufficient studies of the effect of pectin methyl esterification on the inflammatory response of enterocytes. The aim of the research was to evaluate the effect of the degree of pectin methyl esterification on inflammation of the colon in mice after oral administration and on the inflammatory response of human colon epithelium cells of the Caco-2 line in vitro. Material and methods. In a prospective study, 40 male BALB/c mice weighing 20-25 g were used, 10 animals in each group. Solutions of apple pectins (200 mg/0.2 ml) were orally administered to mice through a plastic catheter 24 h before the induction of colitis. The control mice received water, and prednisone administration at a dose of 5 mg/kg of body weight was used as a positive control. Colon inflammation in mice was induced by a single rectal administration of 5% acetic acid (0.1 ml). A day later, the degree and area of the lesion was assessed using a light microscope, the activity of myeloperoxidase in the wall of the colon was determined by spectrophotometry. The effect of pectins on metabolic activity, intercellular permeability, Tumor Necrosis Factor α generation and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in Caco-2 cells was assessed. Results. It was found that low-methyl esterified pectin AU701, which contains more than 70% of free carboxyl groups, inhibited colon inflammation in mice. High methyletherified pectin AU201, in which more than 70% of the carboxyl groups are replaced by methyl ester, didn't affect inflammation. It was revealed that pretreatment of Caco-2 cells with AU701 and AU201 pectins prevented lipopolysaccharide-induced increase in intercellular permeability and reduced the pro-inflammatory response of Caco-2 cells to LPS. After incubation of Caco-2 cells with AU701 pectin, the rate of hydrolysis of p-nitrophenyl phosphate (an alkaline phosphate substrate) increased by 40%. Pectin AU201 had no effect on the alkaline phosphatase activity of enterocytes. Conclusion. Thus, it was found that low-methyl esterified pectin AU701 inhibits inflammation both in vivo and in vitro. High-methyl esterified pectin AU201 suppresses pro-inflammatory reactions only in vitro. The ability of pectins to inhibit intestinal inflammation has a multifactorial nature, and is due, inter alia, to their ability to stimulate the expression of alkaline phosphatase by enterocytes.

Keywords: Caco-2; alkaline phosphatase; colon; inflammation; intercellular permeability; lipopolysaccharide; methyl esterification; pectin; tumor necrose factor-alpha.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malus* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Pectins / chemistry
  • Prospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Pectins