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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Jun;290(6):G1131-7. Epub 2006 Jan 19.

Mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory actions of boswellic acid derivatives in experimental colitis.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, 71130, USA.


Recent clinical trials of the gum resin of Boswellia serrata have shown promising results in patients with ulcerative colitis. The objective of this study was to determine whether a semisynthetic form of acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (sAKBA), the most potent anti-inflammatory component of the resin, also confers protection in experimental murine colitis induced by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to compare its effects with those standard medications of ulcerative colitis like steroids and to examine whether leukocyte-endothelial cell adhesion is a major target of action of sAKBA. Clinical measurements of disease activity and histology were used to assess disease progression, and intravital microscopy was employed to monitor the adhesion of leukocytes and platelets in postcapillary venules of the inflamed colon. sAKBA treatment significantly blunted disease activity as assessed both grossly and by histology. Similarly, the recruitment of adherent leukocytes and platelets into inflamed colonic venules was profoundly reduced in mice treated with sAKBA. Because previous studies in the DSS model have shown that P-selectin mediates these blood cell-endothelial cell interactions, the expression of P-selectin in the colonic microcirculation was monitored using the dual-radiolabeled antibody technique. The treatment of established colitis with sAKBA largely prevented the P-selectin upregulation normally associated with DSS colitis. All of the protective responses observed with sAKBA were comparable to that realized in mice treated with a corticosteroid. Our findings demonstrated an anti-inflammatory effect of sAKBA and indicated that P-selectin-mediated recruitment of inflammatory cells is a major site of action for this novel anti-inflammatory agent.

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