Gentile, C., M. Allegra, F. Angileri, A.M. Pintaudi, M.A. Livrea, L. Tesoriere, 2012. Polymeric proanthocyanidins from Sicilian pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) nut extract inhibit lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response in RAW 264.7 cells. Eur J Nutr. 51(3):353-63.
Background: Positive effects of pistachio nut consumption on plasma inflammatory biomarkers have been described; however, little is known about molecular events associated with these effects. Purpose: We studied the anti-inflammatory activity of a hydrophilic extract from Sicilian Pistacia L. (HPE) in a macrophage model and investigated bioactive components relevant to the observed effects. Methods: HPE oligomer/polymer proanthocyanidin fractions were isolated by adsorbance chromatography, and components quantified as anthocyanidins after acidic hydrolysis. Isoflavones were measured by gradient elution HPLC analysis. RAW 264.7 murine macrophages were pre-incubated with either HPE (1- to 20-mg fresh nut equivalents) or its isolated components for 1 h, then washed before stimulating with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 24 h. Cell viability and parameters associated with Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) activation were assayed according to established methods including ELISA, Western blot, or cytofluorimetric analysis. Results: HPE suppressed nitric oxide (NO) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) production and inducible NO-synthase levels dose dependently, whereas inhibited prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) release and decreased cyclooxygenase-2 content, the lower the HPE amount the higher the effect. Cytotoxic effects were not observed. HPE also caused a dose-dependent decrease in intracellular reactive oxygen species and interfered with the NF-κB activation. Polymeric proanthocyanidins, but not isoflavones, at a concentration comparable with their content in HPE, inhibited NO, PGE2, and TNF-α formation, as well as activation of IκB-α. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins showed only minor effects. Conclusions: Our results provide molecular evidence of anti-inflammatory activity of pistachio nut and indicate polymeric proanthocyanidins as the bioactive components. The mechanism may involve the redox-sensitive transcription factor NF-κB. Potential effects associated with pistachio nut consumption are discussed in terms of the proanthocyanidin bioavailability.