Chemicals in plants reduce inflammation in the gut

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Chemicals in plants reduce inflammation in the gut

Postby whbio » Apr 25 2017 5:23 pm

Certain chemicals in pepper and cannabis can calm the gut immune system, a discovery that may offer new leads for finding drugs for diabetes and colitis, according to a study led by investigators from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

The chili pepper is the fruit of plants from genus Capsicum. The substances that give chili peppers their intensity are capsaicin and several related chemicals, collectively referred to as capsaicinoids. Chili pepper is commonly used in food products to provide added spice or piquancy. In addition, capsaicin also has other applications. Capsaicin is a type of painkiller, for example.

You may think that the chili pepper is very different from another plant, cannabis (also known as marijuana). But the new study reports similarities between the two plants. The researchers found that both of them interact with the same receptor in our stomachs.

In the study, the investigators fed mice capsaicin and observed that these animals showed less inflammation in their gut. In fact, consuming chili pepper cured mice with type 1 diabetes. Further research demonstrated that the capsaicin binds to a receptor called TRPV1. TRPV1 is expressed in many body tissues, including the peripheral and central nervous system.

The investigators found that capsaicin binds to TRPV1 on certain cells in the gastrointestinal tract, and cause cells to produce anandamide, a neurotransmitter that helps control appetite, energy balance, and pleasure and reward. They discovered that it was anandamide that calmed down the gut immune system. When the investigators fed the mice anandamide, the animals' gut immune system was also calmed down. They also identified the mechanism by which anandamide reacts with TRPV1 and other molecules to modulate immune cells.

Anandamide has the similar chemical properties with the cannabinoids in marijuana. The receptors for anandamide in the brain react with the cannabinoids in marijuana. This is the reason that marijuana gets people high. . The study appears the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Our study unveils a role for the endocannabinoid system in maintaining immune homeostasis in the gut/pancreas and reveals a conversation between the nervous and immune systems using distinct receptors,” the researchers concluded. (Cusabio offers TRPV1 and other products.
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