Pomegranate ellagitannin-gut microbial-derived metabolites, urolithins, inhibit neuroinflammation in vitro

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Objectives: Urolithins, ellagitannin-gut microbial-derived metabolites, have been reported to mediate pomegranate’s neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but there are limited data on their effects against neuroinflammation. Herein, we: (1) evaluated whether urolithins (urolithins A and B and their methylated derivatives) attenuate neuroinflammation in murine BV-2 microglia and human SH-SY5Y neurons, and (2) evaluated hippocampus of transgenic AD (R1.40) mice administered a pomegranate extract (PE; 100 or 200 mg/kg/day for 3 weeks) for inflammatory biomarkers. Methods: Effects of urolithins (10 μM) on inflammatory biomarkers were evaluated in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated BV-2 microglia. In a non-contact co-culture cell model, SH-SY5Y cell viability was assessed after exposure to media collected from LPS-BV-2 cells treated with or without urolithins. Effects of urolithins on apoptosis and caspase 3/7 and 9 release from H 2 O 2 -induced oxidative stress of BV-2 and SH-SY5Y cells were assessed. Hippocampal tissues of vehicle and PE-treated transgenic R1.40 mice were evaluated for gene expression of inflammatory biomarkers by qRT-PCR. Results: Urolithins decreased media levels of nitric oxide, interleukin 6 (IL-6), prostaglandin E 2 , and tumor necrosis factor alpha from LPS-BV-2 microglia. In the co-culture cell model, media from LPS-BV-2 cells treated with urolithins preserved SH-SY5Y cell viability greater than media from cells treated without urolithins. Urolithins mitigated apoptosis and caspase 3/7 and 9 release from H 2 O 2 -induced oxidative stress of BV-2 and SH-SY5Y cells. While not statistically significant, inflammatory biomarkers (TNF-α, COX-2, IL-1, and IL-6) appeared to follow a decreasing trend in the hippocampus of high-dose PE-treated animals compared to controls. Discussion: The attenuation of neuroinflammation by urolithins may contribute, in part, toward pomegranate’s neuroprotective effects against AD.

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Nutritional Neuroscience