Inhibition of the pro-inflammatory NF-κB pathway by a grape seed and grape marc meal extract in intestinal epithelial cells


K. Eder, Institute of Animal Nutrition and Nutrition Physiology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26–32, 35390 Giessen, Germany. Tel.: +49 641 9939231; Fax: +49 641 9939239; E-mail:


In pigs and other monogastric animal, the weaning phase is commonly accompanied by an increased susceptibility to gut disorders such as diarrhoea owing to the induction of an inflammatory process in the intestine during weaning. Given the unfavourable effects of intestinal inflammation on feed consumption, digestive capacity of the intestine and growth of animals, controlling intestinal inflammation is a reasonable approach for the maintenance of performance characteristics of livestock animals. Therefore, this study aimed to study the anti-inflammatory potential of a commercial polyphenol-rich grape seed (GS) and grape marc (GM) meal-based feed additive in a well-established in vitro intestinal epithelium model (polarized Caco-2 cells). The anti-inflammatory potential was evaluated by studying the effect of an ethanolic extract obtained from the GS and GM meal-based feed additive (GSGME) on the pro-inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB, which is considered to play a key role in the induction of weaning-associated intestinal inflammation. The highest non-cytotoxic concentrations of the ethanolic GSGME dose dependently reduced TNFα-induced NF-κB transactivation and decreased TNFα-induced mRNA levels of the NF-κB target genes IL-1β, IL-8, MCP-1 and CXCL1 in Caco-2 intestinal cells (p < 0.05). No effect of the ethanolic GSGME was observed on the cytoprotective Nrf2 pathway in Caco-2 cells as evidenced by an unaltered Nrf2 transactivation and unchanged mRNA levels of Nrf2 target genes, such as GPX-2, NQO1, CYP1A1 and UGT1A1. In conclusion, this study shows that an ethanolic GSGME exerts anti-inflammatory effects in intestinal cells under in vitro conditions. Thus, polyphenol-rich GSGM meal-based feed additives may be useful for the inhibition or prevention of inflammatory processes in the intestine of livestock animals, in particular during states with inappropriate NF-κB activation in the intestinal tissue, such as the weaning phase. Future studies are warranted to prove the in vivo anti-inflammatory potential of GSGM meal-based feed additives.