A new study has revealed that the oxidized form of vitamin A may be a beneficial treatment for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and other irritable bowel diseases.
Published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, the study has specifically found that retinoic acid helps suppress out-of-control inflammation, a hallmark of active ulcerative colitis.
"Pharmaceutical strategies based on this research may offer a promising alternative to our current approaches of managing immune diseases including, IBD, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and so on," Aiping Bai, a researcher involved in the work from Nanchang University in Nanchang City, China.
As part of their research, the researchers conducted in vitro studies with human tissue, and in vivo studies in mice.
In both studies, they found that treatment with retinoic acid reduced the inflammation in the colon by increasing the xpression of FOXP3, a gene involved with immune system responses, as well as decreasing the expression of IL-17, a cytokine believed to cause inflammation.
Given that IL-17 is know to directly relate to the uncontrolled inflammation seen in ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease, the finding that retinoic acid reduces its ability to cause inflammation is expected to accelerate the development of treatments for these chronic diseases.
"Runaway inflammation is serious problem, no matter where it occurs in the body, but in many instances, the root cause is a ystery. This research helps scientists better understand what causes and controls inflammation in the colon, which in turn, elps lay the groundwork for new classes of drugs to treat this devastating condition," said Dr. John Wherry, Deputy Editor of he Journal of Leukocyte Biology.