Fermentation is thought to alter the composition and bioavailability of bioactive compounds in rice bran. However, how this process affects the anti-inflammatory effects of rice bran and the bioactive compounds that might participate in this function is yet to be elucidated. This study aimed to isolate bioactive compounds in fermented rice bran that play a key role in its anti-inflammatory function. The fermented rice bran was fractionated using a succession of solvent and solid-phase extractions. The fermented rice bran fractions were then applied to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated murine macrophages to evaluate their anti-inflammatory activity. The hot water fractions (FRBA), 50% ethanol fractions (FRBB), and n-hexane fractions (FRBC) were all shown to be able to suppress the pro-inflammatory cytokine expression from LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Subsequent fractions from the hot water fraction (FRBF and FRBE) were also able to reduce the inflammatory response of these cells to LPS. Further investigation revealed that tryptamine, a bacterial metabolite of tryptophan, was abundantly present in these extracts. These results indicate that tryptamine may play an important role in the anti-inflammatory effects of fermented rice bran. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effects of FRBE and tryptamine may depend on the activity of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor.
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