Apple polyphenols extract (APE) improves colon damage in a rat model of colitis

Giuseppe D'Argenio*, Giovanna Mazzone, Concetta Tuccillo, Maria T. Ribecco, Giulia Graziani, Antonietta G. Gravina, Sergio Caserta, Stefano Guido, Vincenzo Fogliano, Nicola Caporaso, Marco Romano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aim: Searching for alternative therapies that are effective, safe and less expensive of those currently used for ulcerative colitis, we investigated the efficacy of a polyphenol extract from apple in rat colitis. Methods: Rats with trinitrobenzensulphonic acid-induced colitis were treated daily with rectal administration of apple polyphenols 10 -4M for 14 days. COX-2, TNF-α, tissue transglutaminase and calpain in colon mucosa samples were assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blot analyses. To ascertain the role of tissue transglutaminase in mucosal healing, wounded rat fibroblasts were incubated with cystamine (a tissue transglutaminase activity inhibitor). Results: Colitis was associated with increased COX-2, TNF-α, calpain, and tissue transglutaminase mRNA. The protein expression of COX-2, TNF-α and calpain was increased whilst tissue transglutaminase was decreased. Apple extract treatment reduced the severity of colitis (. p<. 0.05) and restored all the considered biomarkers at the baseline level. Apple polyphenols reduced the degradation of tissue transglutaminase protein occurring through calpain action. Apple polyphenols-treated wounded fibroblast recovered within 24. h showing intense immunoreactivity for tissue transglutaminase. Conclusion: The efficacy of apple extract is mediated by its effects on COX-2 and TNF-α. The unbalance between calpain and tissue transglutaminase may play a role in colonic damage and future therapeutic interventions in ulcerative colitis can target this mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-562
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Apple polyphenols
  • Calpain
  • Rat colitis
  • Tissue transglutaminase

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    D'Argenio, G., Mazzone, G., Tuccillo, C., Ribecco, M. T., Graziani, G., Gravina, A. G., Caserta, S., Guido, S., Fogliano, V., Caporaso, N., & Romano, M. (2012). Apple polyphenols extract (APE) improves colon damage in a rat model of colitis. Digestive and Liver Disease, 44(7), 555-562.