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Eur J Nutr. 2012 Feb;51(1):29-37. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0186-3. Epub 2011 Mar 27.

Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties of an enzymatic protein hydrolysate from yellow field pea seeds.

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Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, R2057 Roger Guindon Hall, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON K1H 8M5, Canada.



Enzymatic protein hydrolysates of yellow pea seed have been shown to possess high anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial activities. The aim of this work was to confirm the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating activities of an enzymatic protein hydrolysate of yellow field pea seeds.


The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of peptides from yellow field pea proteins (Pisum sativum L.) were investigated in LPS/IFN-γ-activated RAW 264.7 NO⁻ macrophages. The immunomodulating potential of pea protein hydrolysate (PPH) was then studied in a murine model.


Pea protein hydrolysate, after a 12 h pre-treatment, showed significant inhibition of NO production by activated macrophages up to 20%. Moreover, PPH significantly inhibited their secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-α- and IL-6, up to 35 and 80%, respectively. Oral administration of PPH in mice enhanced the phagocytic activity of their peritoneal macrophages and stimulated the gut mucosa immune response. The number of IgA+ cells was elevated in the small intestine lamina propria, accompanied by an increase in the number of IL-4+, IL-10+ and IFN-γ+ cells. This was correlated to up-regulation of IL-6 secretion by small intestine epithelial cells (IEC), probably responsible for B-cell terminal differentiation to IgA-secreting cells. Moreover, PPH might have increased IL-6 production in IECs via the stimulation of toll-like receptors (TLRs) family, especially TLR2 and TLR4 since either anti-TLR2 or anti-TLR4 was able to completely abolish PPH-induced IL-6 secretion.


Enzymatic protein degradation confers anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating potentials to pea proteins, and the resulted peptides could be used as an alternative therapy for the prevention of inflammatory-related diseases.

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