Astilbin fromEngelhardtia chrysolepisenhances intestinal barrier functions in Caco-2 cell monolayers

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Astilbin, which is one of polyphenolic compounds isolated from the leaves of Engelhardtia chrysolepis HANCE (Chinese name, huang-qui), is available as the effective component in food and cosmetics because of its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The tight junction (TJ) proteins, which protect the body from foreign substances, are related to adhesion between a cell and a cell. Previously, the enhancement of TJ's functions induced by aglycones of flavonoids has been demonstrated, but the effects of the glycosides such as astilbin have not been observed yet. In this study, we investigated the effects of astilbin on the TJ's functions, and human colon carcinoma Caco-2 cell monolayers were used to evaluate the effects of astilbin on transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) value and the mRNA and proteins expressions of TJ-related molecules. Astilbin increased the TER value, mRNA expression levels of claudin-1 and ZO-2, and protein expression levels of occludin and ZO-2 in Caco-2 cells. Astilbin also increased the TER value in Caco-2 cells co-stimulated with TNF-α plus IFN-γ, and moreover upregulated the protein expression of TJ-related molecules in Caco-2 cells co-treated with TNF-α plus IFN-γ. These results suggest that astilbin can enhance the expressions of TJ-related molecules, leading to upregulation of the barrier functions in the intestinal cells.

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