Anti-inflammatory medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids are commonly used to treat various diseases. According to a new study, a colored extract obtained from the seeds of the avocado (Persea americana) — an important tropical crop that is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins B and E, and other nutrients — represents a potential source for new anti-inflammatory compounds that can be developed as pharmaceuticals.
“We developed the colored avocado seed extract (CASE) over the last decade as a food colorant and it is not known whether the compounds responsible for the extract’s vibrant orange color play any role in its ability to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators,” said Dr. Joshua Lambert, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University.
To determine the anti-inflammatory properties of CASE, Dr. Lambert and colleagues used cell culture models and enzymes that are important in immune response and inflammatory diseases.
A class of immune cells called macrophages were grown in petri dishes and activated with pro-inflammatory stimuli in the presence or absence of the extract.
The researchers measured the production of important pro-inflammatory mediators and signaling pathways in the cells after treatment with the extract.
“The next step, before we can draw further conclusions about the anti-inflammatory activity of this avocado seed extract, will be to design animal model studies,” Dr. Lambert said.
“For example, we can look at a mouse model of ulcerative colitis where we formulate the avocado seed extract into the mice diet and look at whether it is able to reduce inflammation.”
The study lays the groundwork for more research because it provides evidence that there are bioactive compounds in avocado seeds that have anti-inflammatory activity.
“The level of activity that we see from CASE is very good,” Dr. Lambert said.
“We saw inhibitory activity at concentrations in the low microgram-per-milliliter range, which is an acceptable amount of activity to justify further studies.”
The findings were published in the journal Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences.
D. Dabas et al. 2019. Anti-inflammatory properties of a colored avocado seed extract. Adv Food Technol Nutr Sci Open J 5 (1): 8-12; doi: 10.17140/AFTNSOJ-5-151