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Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 16;8(1):12261. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30526-2.

Rhamnogalacturonan, a chemically-defined polysaccharide, improves intestinal barrier function in DSS-induced colitis in mice and human Caco-2 cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.
Department of Biosciences and Physiopathology, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Maringá, Brazil.
Department of Animal Science, School of Life Sciences, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.
Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Pharmacology, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.
Department of Pharmacology, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.


Natural polysaccharides have emerged as an important class of bioactive compounds due their beneficial biological effects. Here we investigated the protective and healing effects of rhamnogalacturonan (RGal) isolated from Acmella oleracea (L.) R.K. Jansen leaves in an experimental model of intestinal inflammation in mice and in heterogeneous human epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma cells (Caco-2). The findings demonstrated that RGal treatment for 7 days reduced the severity of DSS-induced colitis by protecting mice from weight loss, macroscopic damage and reduction of colon length. When compared to the DSS group, RGal also protected the colon epithelium and promoted the maintenance of mucosal enterocytes and mucus secreting goblet cells, in addition to conserving collagen homeostasis and increasing cell proliferation. In an in vitro barrier function assay, RGal reduced the cellular permeability after exposure to IL-1β, while decreasing IL-8 secretion and claudin-1 expression and preserving the distribution of occludin. Furthermore, we also observed that RGal accelerated the wound healing in Caco-2 epithelial cell line. In conclusion, RGal ameliorates intestinal barrier function in vivo and in vitro and may represent an attractive and promising molecule for the therapeutic management of ulcerative colitis.

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