Nutr Res. 2019 Nov 16 ;73:27-37. Epub 2019 Nov 16. PMID: 31841745
Pomegranate peel extract reduced colonic damage and bacterial translocation in a mouse model of infectious colitis induced by Citrobacter rodentium.
The pomegranate fruit peel is a rich source of polyphenols including punicalins, punicalagins, and ellagic acids, but is considered an agricultural waste product. Pomegranate derived products have been reported to have a wide variety of health promoting benefits including antibacterial properties in vitro but there is limited evidence of their antibacterial properties in vivo. The purpose of this study was to test the in vivo antibacterial properties of a pomegranate peel extract (PPX) containing punicalin, punicalagin, and ellagic acid. C3H/He mice were orally pre-treated with water or PPX prior to infection with the mouse bacterial pathogen, Citrobacter rodentium (Cr) that mimics many aspects of human enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infections. Fecal excretion of Cr was monitored and mice were euthanized on day 12 post-infection to assess Cr colonization of the colon and spleen, histological changes, and gene expression. PPX-treatment reduced Cr infection induced weight loss and mortality that was observed in water-treated infected mice. However, Cr colonization of the colon and clearance was unaffected by PPX-treatment. Consistent with this, PPX treatment did not alter the potent Th1/Th17 pro-inflammatory response elicited by Cr infection. Significant colonization of the spleen was only seen in water-treated infected mice and was inversely correlated with the dose of PPX administered. PPX treatment decreased the extent of Cr-induced colon damage that correlated with decreased mortality and reduced colonization of the spleen. Thus, a pomegranate peel extract contains bioactive compounds that mitigate the deleterious effects of an in vivo infection with the model enteropathogenic bacteria, Cr.