Dietary uptake of Wedelia chinensis extract attenuates dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in mice

Traditional medicinal herbs are increasingly used as alternative therapies in patients with inflammatory diseases. Here we evaluated the effect of Wedelia chinensis, a medicinal herb commonly used in Asia, on the prevention of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced acute colitis in mice. General safety and the effect of different extraction methods on the bioactivity of W. chinensis were also explored.Methods and Results: C57BL/6 mice were administrated hot water extract of fresh W. chinensis (WCHF) orally for one week followed by drinking water containing 2% DSS for nine days. WCHF significantly attenuated the symptoms of colitis including diarrhea, rectal bleeding and loss of body weight; it also reduced the shortening of colon length and histopathological damage caused by colonic inflammation. Among four W. chinensis extracts prepared using different extraction techniques, WCHF showed the highest anti-colitis efficacy. Analyses of specific T-cell regulatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-4, IFN-γ, IL-17, TGF-β, IL-12) revealed that WCHF treatment can suppress the Th1 and Th17, but not Th2, responses in colon tissues and dendritic cells of DSS-induced colitis mice. A 28-day subacute toxicity study showed that daily oral administration of WCHF (100, 500, 1000 mg/kg body weight) was not toxic to mice.Conclusion: Together, our findings suggest that specific extracts of W. chinensis have nutritional potential for future development into nutraceuticals or dietary supplements for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.