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J Biomed Sci. 2009 Jul 14;16:64. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-16-64.

Ethyl acetate extracts of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) sprouts inhibit lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, Institute of Microbiology and Biochemistry, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


This study aimed to investigate if food components that exert anti-inflammatory effects may be used for inflammatory disorders by examining alfalfa sprout ethyl acetate extract (ASEA). The cytokine profile and life span of BALB/c mice with acute inflammation after intra-peritoneal (ip) injection of 15 mg/kg BW lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were determined. The results showed that the life span of LPS-induced inflammatory mice were negatively correlated with serum levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-1beta at 9 hr after LPS-injection, which indicated that suppressing these cytokines in the late phase of inflammation may be beneficial for survival. The in vitro experiment then showed that ASEA significantly reduced IL-6 and IL-1beta production and the NF-kappaB trans-activation activity of mitogen-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. To further evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of ASEA in vivo, BALB/c mice were tube-fed with 25 mg ASEA/kg BW/day in 50 microl sunflower oil, while the control and PDTC (pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, an anti-inflammatory agent) groups were tube-fed with 50 microl sunflower oil/day only. After one week of tube-feeding, the PDTC group was injected with 50 mg/kg BW PDTC and one hour later, all of the mice were injected with 15 mg/kg BW LPS. The results showed that the ASEA and PDTC groups had significantly lower serum TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-1beta levels at 9 hr after LPS challenge, and significantly higher survival rates than the control group. This study suggests that ASEA supplementation can suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and alleviate acute inflammatory hazards.

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