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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
12-Jun-2008

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Contact: Charlotte Webber
charlotte.webber@biomedcentral.com
44-020-763-19980
BioMed Central
@biomedcentral

Anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate in rabbits: A potential treatment in humans?

Oral ingestion of pomegranate extract reduces the production of chemicals that cause inflammation suggests a study published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Inflammation. The findings indicate that pomegranate extract may provide humans with relief of chronic inflammatory conditions.

The group from the Department of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio, led by Tariq Haqqi, showed that blood samples collected from rabbits fed pomegranate extract inhibited inflammation.

Pomegranate extract is already used as a treatment in alternative medicine for inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Although pomegranate extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in experiments on isolated tissues, it is not known whether ingestion of it can produce the same anti-inflammatory effects in living systems, either because the active compounds are not absorbed from the gut or because the levels of these compounds in the blood are not high enough.

Pomegranate extract, the equivalent of 175mls of pomegranate juice, was given to rabbits orally. The levels of antioxidants were measured in blood samples obtained after drinking the pomegranate extract and compared to blood samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract.

Plasma collected from rabbits following ingestion of pomegranate extract contained significantly higher levels of antioxidants than samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract; the extract also significantly reduced the activity of proteins that cause inflammation, specifically cyclooxygenase-2. It also reduced the production of pro-inflammatory compounds produced by cells isolated from cartilage.

The results of this study indicate the beneficial effects of pomegranate extract when ingested. According to Haqqi "the use of dietary nutrients or drugs based on them as an adjunct in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions may benefit patients". He adds that, "Current treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs can have serious side effects following long-term use. Further research is needed, however, especially on the absorption of orally ingested substances into the blood."

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Notes to Editors

1. Bioavailable Metabolites of Pomegranate (Punica granatum L) Fruit Extract Preferentially Inhibit COX2 Activity ex vivo and IL-1b-induced PGE2 Production in Articular Cartilage Chondrocytes in vitro.
Meenakshi Shukla, Kalpana Gupta, Zafar Rasheed, Khursheed A Khan and Tariq M Haqqi
Journal of Inflammation (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.journal-inflammation.com/imedia/1129606684166058_article.pdf?random=33103

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.journal-inflammation.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. Tariq Haqqi is now with the Department of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology, School of Medicine, at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

3. Journal of Inflammation is an Open Access, peer-reviewed online journal on all aspects of research into inflammation.

4. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.



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