• phytosteryl ferulates;
  • γ-oryzanol;
  • cycloartenyl ferulate;
  • colitis;
  • pro-inflammatory cytokines;
  • NF-κB;
  • antioxidant

Background and purpose:

We have recently reported that phytosteryl ferulates isolated from rice bran inhibit nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity in macrophages. In the present study, we investigated the effect of γ-oryzanol (γ-ORZ), a mixture of phytosteryl ferulates, cycloartenyl ferulate (CAF), one of the components of γ-ORZ, and ferulic acid (FA), a possible metabolite of γ-ORZ in vivo, on a model of colitis in mice.

Experimental approach:

We induced colitis with dextran sulphate sodium (DSS) in mice and monitored disease activity index (DAI), histopathology score, tissue myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, mRNA expressions of cytokines and COX-2, colon length, antioxidant potency and NF-κB activity in colitis tissue.

Key results:

Both DAI and histopathology score revealed that DSS induced a severe mucosal colitis, with a marked increase in the thickness of the muscle layer, distortion and loss of crypts, depletion of goblet cells and infiltration of macrophages, granulocytes and lymphocytes. MPO activity, pro-inflammatory cytokines and COX-2 levels, NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation and inhibitory protein of nuclear factor-κB-α degradation levels were significantly increased in DSS-induced colitis tissues. γ-ORZ (50 mg kg−1 day−1 p.o.) markedly inhibited these inflammatory reactions and CAF had a similar potency. In vitro assay demonstrated that γ-ORZ and CAF had strong antioxidant effects comparable to those of α-tocopherol.

Conclusions and implications:

Phytosteryl ferulates could be new potential therapeutic and/or preventive agents for gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases. Their anti-inflammatory effect could be mediated by inhibition of NF-κB activity, which was at least partly due to the antioxidant effect of the FA moiety in the structure of phytosteryl ferulates.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2008) 154, 812–824; doi:10.1038/bjp.2008.137; published online 21 April 2008