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Open AccessArticle

AphaMax®, an Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Aqueous Extract, Exerts Intestinal Protective Effects in Experimental Colitis in Rats

1
Department of Biological, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies (STEBICEF), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 90128 Palermo, Italy
2
ATeN (Advanced Technologies Network) Center, Viale delle Scienze, University of Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy
3
Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology “Alberto Monroy” (IBIM), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), 90146 Palermo, Italy
4
Nutritherapy Research Center, 61029 Urbino, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(12), 3635; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123635
Received: 21 October 2020 / Revised: 13 November 2020 / Accepted: 24 November 2020 / Published: 26 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research in Dietary Supplements and Healthy Foods)
Background: Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) is a unicellular cyanobacterium considered to be a “superfood” for its complete nutritional profile and beneficial properties. We investigated possible beneficial effects of an AFA extract, commercialized as AphaMax®, containing concentrated amount of phycocyanins and phytochrome, in 2,4 dinitrobenzensulfonic acid(DNBS)-induced colitis in rats. Methods: Effects of preventive oral treatment of AphaMax® (20, 50 or 100 mg/kg/day) in colitic rats were assessed and then macroscopic and microscopic analyses were performed to evaluate the inflammation degree. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and NF-κB, pro-inflammatory citockines, cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2), and inducible NOS (iNOS) levels of expression were determined, as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and nitrite levels. Results: AphaMax® treatment attenuated the severity of colitis ameliorating clinical signs. AphaMax® reduced the histological colonic damage and decreased MPO activity, NF-κB activation, as well as iNOS and COX-2 expression. AphaMax® treatment improved the altered immune response associated with colonic inflammation reducing IL-1β, IL-6 expression. Lastly, AphaMax® reduced oxidative stress, decreasing ROS and nitrite levels. Conclusions: Preventive treatment with AphaMax® attenuates the severity of the inflammation in DNBS colitis rats involving decrease of the NF-kB activation, reduction of iNOS and COX-2 expression, and inhibition of oxidative stress. Due its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant proprieties AphaMax® could be a good candidate as a complementary drug in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: inflammation; Aphanizomenon flos-aquae; blue-green algae; inflammatory bowel disease inflammation; Aphanizomenon flos-aquae; blue-green algae; inflammatory bowel disease
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zizzo, M.G.; Caldara, G.; Bellanca, A.; Nuzzo, D.; Di Carlo, M.; Scoglio, S.; Serio, R. AphaMax®, an Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Aqueous Extract, Exerts Intestinal Protective Effects in Experimental Colitis in Rats. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3635. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123635

AMA Style

Zizzo MG, Caldara G, Bellanca A, Nuzzo D, Di Carlo M, Scoglio S, Serio R. AphaMax®, an Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Aqueous Extract, Exerts Intestinal Protective Effects in Experimental Colitis in Rats. Nutrients. 2020; 12(12):3635. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123635

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zizzo, Maria G.; Caldara, Gaetano; Bellanca, Annalisa; Nuzzo, Domenico; Di Carlo, Marta; Scoglio, Stefano; Serio, Rosa. 2020. "AphaMax®, an Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Aqueous Extract, Exerts Intestinal Protective Effects in Experimental Colitis in Rats" Nutrients 12, no. 12: 3635. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123635

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