Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly. Ulcerative colitis can be crippling for your wellbeing and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications. The chronic disease effects more than 200,000 cases per year in the US alone. While it has no known cure there is treatment that can greatly reduce signs and symptoms of the disease and even bring about long-term remission. However typically the treatment medications like corticosteroids that have numerous side effects .
Therefore finding better forms of treatment remains an area of research. Based on this premise a team of the CSIR-Indian Institute’s Chemical Technology and Cellular and Molecular Biology department in India researched the effects of fisetin in an animal model that resembles human inflammatory bowel disease. Mice were fed dextran sulphate sodium which leads to so called (DSS)-induced murine colitis. This was followed by oral administration of fisetin. The team created 5 groups of mice for control and evaluations.
Colitis severity scores (Disease Activity Index – DAI) comprising changes in body weight, stool consistency and the presence of blood in the stools were assessed to evaluate the disease severity. The researchers found that fisetin treatments reduced the DAI score when compared with the disease control group. Fisetin treatment also had a dose dependent protective effect on body weight loss. Compared with their starting weight, disease free control mice gained slightly, while mice in the disease control group lost on average 23 % of their body weight. The group of mice treated with fisetin at the higher dose of 10 mg/kg lost on average 11% of body weight.
At the end of study, all colon tissues were collected and measured to determine whether fisetin had an effect on the decrease in colon length which is associated with colon inflammation. Compared with the healthy control group of mice, the colon tissues of the disease control group shortened in length by 32.5%, while the colon tissues of mice treated with fisetin decreased only by 11.3%.
The researchers also found that mice receiving fisetin treatment at 10 mg/kg had largely intact colon histology with reduced signs of inflammation into the colonic tissue, preserved epithelial layer and crypt structure with goblet cells when compared to the disease control group of mice
More detailed analyses showed that fisetin administration inhibited infiltration of inflammatory cells, the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 and the expression of iNOS and COX-2. In addition, the researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of fisetin were associated with the inhibition of upstream kinases, PI3K dependent Akt phosphorylation and, consequently, p38 MAPK and NF-κB activation in the colon tissues.
Overall the study suggests that oral fisetin supplementation may be beneficial for prevention and possibly addressing the characteristics of inflammatory bowel disease.
You can find the study here.