Active ingredients in the natural products have been considered to be used for alleviating the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, hence the effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LP) and capsaicin on dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in rats were investigated. Rats were grouped into normal, DSS induced colitis, and colitis treated with 100 mg LP/kg body weight, 12 mg capsaicin/kg body weight, or combined 50 mg LP/kg body weight and 6 mg capsaicin/kg body weight. Treatment with LP or capsaicin was orally fed by gavage for 4 weeks, and 5% DSS was fed via drinking water for 6 days during week 3. Colon tissue and cecum content were collected for analysis. Treatments with LP and/or capsaicin ameliorated disease activity index scores, severity of colon distortion, and shrinkage of colon length. LP and capsaicin decreased colonic pro-inflammatory cytokine (IFN-γ, IL-17A, and IL-22) levels. Cecal microbiota in colitis rats were enriched with the genus Turicibacter and Lachnospira. The relative abundance of genus Ruminiclostridium_9 and Ruminoclostridium_1 was increased by LP and capsaicin treatment, respectively. Pretreatment with LP or capsaicin inhibits the severity of colonic damage in rats with DSS-induced colitis via anti-inflammation and modulation of colonic microbiota.
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