The natural compound hydroxytyrosol shows intestinal anti-inflammatory and antioxidants effects in experimental models of ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract and affects the deeper lining of the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. This disease can be debilitating and can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications. Although there is no known cure, treatment can significantly reduce the signs and symptoms of the disease. In the last years, natural compounds have shown a distinguished safe effect through modulating the inflammatory response. Among them, hydroxytyrosol is a phenolic alcohol of the olive leaves extract which has a wide range of biological effects including anticancer, cardioprotective, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, beneficial endocrine, and other effects.
Recently, Hussein A. Abd Elmaksoud and co-workers at the Benha University in Egypt, have investigated the effectiveness of olive leaves extract standardized with 25% hydroxytyrosol in the treatment of induced ulcerative colitis. Three groups of albino rats were divided as follows, group 1 (normal control), group 2 (induced ulcerative colitis and untreated), and group 3 (induced ulcerative colitis and treated with hydroxytyrosol). Their study concluded that hydroxytyrosol reduced the mortality rate and the disease activity index in group 3. In addition, this compound showed intestinal anti-inflammatory and antioxidants effects. Although further clinical and experimental trials are required to clarify the exact molecular mechanism of hydroxytyrosol, their results suggest that this compound could contribute to a long-lasting remission of ulcerative colitis.