Bioactivity of polyphenols: Preventive and adjuvant strategies toward reducing inflammatory bowel diseases –Promises, perspectives, and pitfalls.
- Public Health Research
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are characterized by autoimmune and inflammation-related complications of the large intestine (ulcerative colitis) and additional parts of the digestive tract (Crohn's disease). Complications include pain, diarrhoea, chronic inflammation, and cancer. IBD prevalence has increased during the past decades, especially in Westernized countries, being as high as 1%. As prognosis is poor and medication often ineffective or causing side effects, additional preventive/adjuvant strategies are sought. A possible approach is via diets rich in protective constituents. Polyphenols, the most abundant phytochemicals, have been associated with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and apoptotic properties. Locally reducing oxidative stress, they can further act on cellular targets, altering gene expression related to inflammation, including NF-kappaB, Nrf-2, Jak/STAT, and MAPKs, suppressing downstream cytokine formation (e.g., IL-8, IL-1beta, and TNF-alpha), and boosting the bodies' own antioxidant status (HO-1, SOD, and GPx). Moreover, they may promote, as prebiotics, healthy microbiota (e.g., Bifidobacteria, Akkermansia), short-chain fatty acid formation, and reduced gut permeability/improved tight junction stability. However, potential adverse effects such as acting as prooxidants, or perturbations of efflux transporters and phase I/II metabolizing enzymes, with increased uptake of undesired xenobiotics, should also be considered. In this review, we summarize current knowledge around preventive and arbitrary actions of polyphenols targeting IBD.