Researchers have identified that an extract from avocado seeds exhibited anti-inflammatory properties in a laboratory study.
The team, including Joshua Lambert from Penn State, said that it represents a potential source for novel anti-inflammatory compounds that could be developed as a functional food ingredient or pharmaceuticals.
The researchers developed the extract over the last decade as a food colourant and it is not known whether the compounds responsible for the extract's vibrant orange colour play any role in its ability to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators, said Lambert.
To determine the anti-inflammatory properties of the avocado seed extract, the researchers 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 a pro-inflammatory stimuli in the presence or absence of the avocado seed extract.
The researchers measured the production of important pro-inflammatory mediators and signalling 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," Lambert explained.
"The level of activity that we see from the extract is very good. We saw inhibitory activity at concentrations in the low microgram-per-millilitre range, which is an acceptable amount of activity to justify further studies," Lambert added.
The discovery could be important because cancer, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, colitis and many more serious conditions are associated with chronic inflammation, suggests the study published in the journal Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences.
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