Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) consists of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Both are the result of dysregulation of the immune system leading to intestinal inflammation and microbial dysbiosis.

     Ellagic acid, present in pomegranates interacts with the INIA strain of Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatem in the gut to release a metabolite UroA. A synthetic analog, UAS03 has the same or more potent therapeutic effects in the treatment of IBD.

     Recent research published in Nature Communications has elucidated the mechanisms of action for both compounds. UroA and UAS03 enhance the barrier function by inducing up regulation of tight junction proteins. This is done by activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf2) dependent pathways.

     Additionally UroA and UAS03 demonstrate potent anti inflammatory properties. In vitro both compounds significantly decreased LPS induced IL-6 and TNF-a in mouse bone marrow derived macrophages. In vivo the two compounds inhibited LPS induced peritonitis mouse model. It is amazing that two compounds as simple as these can be so efficacious in the up regulation of tight junction proteins and in the inhibition of inflammation.