Background and Aim: We previously identified an anti-inflammatory compound, zonarol, a hydroquinone isolated from the brown algae Dictyopteris undulata as a marine natural product. To ascertain the in vivo functions of zonarol, we examined the pharmacological effects of zonarol administration on dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced inflammation in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis (UC). Our goal is to establish a safe and effective cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) using zonarol. Methods and Results: We subjected Slc:ICR mice to the administration of 2% DSS in drinking water for 14 days. At the same time, 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) at a dose of 50 mg/kg (positive control) and zonarol at doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg, were given orally once a day. DSS-treated animals developed symptoms similar to those of human UC, such as severe bloody diarrhea, which were evaluated by the disease activity index (DAI). Treatment with 20 mg/kg of zonarol, as well as 5-ASA, significantly suppressed the DAI score, and also led to a reduced colonic ulcer length and/or mucosal inflammatory infiltration by various immune cells, especially macrophages. Zonarol treatment significantly reduced the expression of proinflammatory signaling molecules, and prevented the apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells. Finally, zonarol protected against in vitro lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced activation in the RAW264.7 mouse macrophage cell line. Conclusions: This is the first report that a marine bioproduct protects against experimental UC via the inhibition of both inflammation and apoptosis, very similar to the standard-of-care sulfasalazine, a well-known prodrug that releases 5-ASA. We believe that the oral administration of zonarol might offer a better treatment for human IBDs than 5-ASA, or may be useful as an alternative/additive therapeutic strategy against UC, without any evidence of side effects.
Yamada, S., Koyama, T., Noguchi, H., Ueda, Y., Kitsuyama, R., Shimizu, H., … Satoh, T. (2014). Marine hydroquinone zonarol prevents inflammation and apoptosis in dextran sulfate sodium-induced mice ulcerative colitis. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113509