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J Med Food. 2013 May;16(5):410-20. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.2679. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Chloroform extract of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation by downregulating ERK/NF-κB signaling and cytokine production.

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1
Grassland and Forages Research Center, National Institute of Animal Science, Cheonan, Korea.

Abstract

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is commonly used as a traditional medicine and functional food. This study investigated the anti-inflammatory potential of alfalfa and the mechanisms involved. The chloroform extract of alfalfa aerial parts inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated immune responses more than ether, butanol, or water soluble extracts. Treatment with 1 μg/mL LPS increased nitrite concentrations to 44.3 μM in RAW267.4 macrophages, but it was reduced to 10.6 μM by adding 100 μg/mL chloroform extract. LPS treatment also increased the concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-1β to 41.3, 11.6, and 0.78 ng/mL in culture supernatants of the cells, but these cytokine levels decreased to 12.5, 3.1, and 0.19 ng/mL, respectively, by pretreating with 100 μg/mL of the extract. ICR mice injected with LPS (30 mg/kg body weight) alone showed a 0% survival rate after 48 h of the injection, but 48-h survival of the mice increased to 60% after oral administration of the extract. Subfractions of the chloroform extract markedly suppressed LPS-mediated activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase and nuclear factor kappa-B. Cinnamic acid derivatives and fatty acids were found to be active constituents of the extract. This research demonstrated that alfalfa aerial parts exert anti-inflammatory activity and may be useful as a functional food for the prevention of inflammatory disorders.

PMID:
23631491
DOI:
10.1089/jmf.2012.2679
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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