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April 12, 2016

Bifidobacterium Strains Reduce TNF-alpha in Children with Celiac Disease

Researchers recently reported that Bifidobacterium breve decreases levels of a proinflammatory cytokine in children with celiac disease (CD). An accumulating amount of evidence indicates that there is both a genetic component to CD and environmental triggers such as gut dysbiosis.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 49 children with CD eating a gluten-free diet (GFD), researchers measured the extent to which Bifidobacterium breve strains BR03 and B632 affected serum production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) and proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). The researchers randomly allocated the 49 children into two groups receiving either 2 × 109 colony forming units (CFU) per day of B. breve or a placebo for three months and compared both groups to 18 healthy control children receiving no treatment. Children with CD consuming a GFD for under a year and children who ate a GFD for more than one year had similar TNF-alpha levels at the study's start. IL-10 levels were below the detection limit in all subjects.

Supplementation with B. breve strains for three months resulted in a significant decline in TNF-alpha levels. A follow-up examination three months after probiotic supplementation ceased revealed a rise in TNF-alpha levels.

The study authors concluded, "Probiotic intervention with B. breve strains has shown a positive effect on decreasing the production of proinflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha in children with CD on GFD."

Klemenak M, et al. Dig Dis Sci. 2015;60:3386-92.


Review Finds Glabridin Possesses Cardioprotective Effects

A recent review of the cardiovascular effects of glabridin found that it can protect against low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and inhibit inflammation. Glabridin is a flavonoid found in licorice root. LDL oxidation is thought to play an etiological role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

The reviewers note that glabridin can inhibit LDL oxidation in vitro, in animal studies, and in humans due to an antioxidant mechanism of action. A human study found that oral supplementation with licorice extract for two weeks suppresses LDL oxidation ex vivo. Another human study observed that healthy subjects supplementing with glycyrrhizin-free licorice root extract containing 60 mg of glabridin for six months experienced a 20% decline in plasma LDL oxidation.

In the review, the researchers also discuss glabridin's anti-inflammatory actions. They present evidence that glabridin can inhibit adhesion molecule expression in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-stimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Glabridin treatment suppresses TNF-alpha-induced gene expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin in endothelial cells, all factors involved in the migration of inflammatory cells to blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis. Furthermore, glabridin inhibits the activation of inflammatory macrophages and dendritic cells.

The reviewers state, "Collectively, it is hoped that glabridin or glabridin derivatives might be used as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases in the future."

Kang MR, et al. Int Immunopharmacol. 2015;29:914-8.



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