Flavonoids Found in Corn Reduce Bowel Inflammation in IBD Mouse Model

Flavonoids Found in Corn Reduce Bowel Inflammation in IBD Mouse Model
Scientists have discovered that certain flavonoids — natural compounds in fruits and vegetables that are known for their health benefits — found in corn plants have strong anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce bowel inflammation in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Future studies are needed to explore the therapeutic potential of these compounds in people with different forms of IBD, the investigators said. Their findings were described in the study, “Intestinal Mucosal Barrier Function Restoration in Mice by Maize Diet Containing Enriched Flavan-4-Ols,” published in the journal Nutrients. Flavonoids are compounds occurring naturally in different plants that are known for their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Corn plants contain high levels of these compounds, including flavan-4-ols, a family of flavonoids that are precursors of another class of reddish-brown pigments, called phlobaphenes. “Biochemical analyses have shown that phlobaphenes-containing maize [corn] lines possess higher antioxidant capacity than conventional lines, a promising trait that could be introduced into elite cultivars to increase dietary benefits,” the researchers wrote. These strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also make these compounds promising treatment candidates to lower inflammation in IBD. To investigate the specific health benefits of phlobaphenes in the context of IBD, researchers at Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center and their colleagues created two genetically identical lines of corn plants producing different amounts of flavan-4-ols. The different corns were then fed to a mouse model of IBD. “In this study, we utilized two corn lines­ — one containin
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