Pterostilbene A Polyphenolic Phytochemical Identified By Japanese Researchers As A New Therapeutic For Chronic Inflammatory Disorders Like IBD
(PSB) a polyphenolic phytochemical that occurs in plants, particularly small berries and nuts has been identified by Japanese researchers from the Tokyo University of Science as a new therapeutic option for chronic inflammatory disorders.
The study findings are published in the FASEB Journal: (Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1096/fj.202001502R
According to the study team, various plants and their products are known to contain "bioactive" ingredients that can alleviate human diseases. These "phytocompounds" often contain restorative biological properties such as anti-cancerous, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. Thus, understanding how they interact with the body can lead to potential treatment strategies against major immune disorders.
The study team led by Prof Chiharu Nishiyama from the Tokyo University of Science, has been working this direction for the past several years, to identify novel active components in functional foods and understand their effects on the body.
The research do eb them have now led to success by their discovery of a polyphenolic compound called "pterostilbene" (PSB) with strong immunosuppressive properties, making it a potential therapeutic option for chronic inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
This phytochemical is very similar to another phytocompound known to have important medicinal effects, called "resveratrol or RSV.”
Blueberries are a particularly rich source of pterostilbene; although it is found in grapes, pterostilbene (unlike resveratrol) doesn't survive the wine-making process.
Dr Takuya Yashiro, corresponding author of this report, explains the idea that prompted their research to Thailand Medical News, "RSV, a polyphenol, was known to have pronounced immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects on animal models of colitis ulcer. Therefore, we investigated the possibility of other compounds structurally similar to RSV as a new type of treatment for IBD."
It was found that in patients with IBD, the gastrointestinal tract lining contains long-lasting ulcers caused by chronic inflammation due to an elevated immune response in the body. This involves the excessive production of immune system-related molecules called "cytokines."
Alsotwo types of immune cells, "dendritic cells" (DCs) and "T cells," are involved: at the onset of an immune response, DCs produce inflammatory cytokines and activate T cells to initiate a defense response.
Hence, these processes together form a complex pathway that result in a "hyper" immune response.
In order to find an effective compound that can suppress the immune system, it was crucial to test it on this population of immune cells.
The scientists thus studied the effects of a wide range of plant-derived compounds on DC-mediated T cell proliferation. Their research led them to PSB, which showed stronger
immunosuppressive activity than the other candidates.
Upon detailed studies, the team found that PSB treatment prevents T cells from differentiating into Th1 and Th17 (subtypes of T cells that elevate the immune response) while increasing their differentiation into regulatory T cells (another subtype known to inhibit inflammation). They also revealed that PSB treatment inhibits inflammatory cytokine production from DCs by attenuating the DNA-binding activity of a crucial transcription factor PU.1.
The team further tested PSB in mice with IBD and found that oral intake of PSB improved symptoms of IBD. Thus, the study confirmed that PSB is an extremely promising anti-inflammatory agent to fight IBD. Not only this, it is easily absorbed by the body, making it an ideal drug candidate!
From these study findings, the study team has found new possibilities for the treatment of not just IBD but also other inflammatory disorders.
Dr Takuya Yashiro, corresponding author commented, “For disease prevention, it is important to identify the beneficial components in foods and to understand the underlying mechanism by which immune responses and homeostasis are modulated in body. Our study findings showed that pterostilbene possesses a strong immunosuppressive property, paving the way for a new, natural treatment for IBD."
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