euglena Co., Ltd.
Confirmed research results showing that consumption of Kalahari watermelon juice suppresses lung inflammation caused by air pollutants such as PM2.5
Euglena Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Mitsuru Izumo) and Kenichiro Tanaka, Lecturer at Musashino University Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Nishi-Tokyo City, Tokyo; President: Teruma Nishimoto) are conducting joint research to promote the intake of Kalahari watermelon juice. We are pleased to announce that we have confirmed research results that show that it suppresses lung inflammation caused by air pollutants such as PM2.5*1. The results of this research were presented at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Oxidative Stress*2 held on May 24-25, 2023. *1 PM2.5: Small particles of 2.5 μm or less (1 μm = 1/1000 of 1 mm) floating in the atmosphere
*2 “The 76th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Oxidative Stress”: https://plaza.umin.ac.jp/sfrrj76/index.html
■ Research background and purpose
In recent years, health hazards caused mainly by air pollution associated with human social activities have become a problem. Studies have shown that the annual number of deaths has exceeded the number of deaths from smoking*3, and it has also been pointed out that air pollution may lead to the onset and aggravation of respiratory diseases such as the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19). *4, It is urgent to find a solution. PM2.5, the cause of health hazards caused by air pollution, is so small that it can easily reach deep into the lungs and cause lung inflammation.
The Kalahari watermelon studied in this study is a type of wild watermelon that grows naturally in the Kalahari Desert in southwestern Africa. Our research has revealed that it has *6,7,8. Based on the anti-oxidant effect and research results of Kalahari watermelon, it is possible that it has an anti-inflammatory effect, but its
effectiveness against lung inflammation caused by air pollution has not been clarified. Therefore, this time, we conducted a verification to confirm the effectiveness of Kalahari watermelon juice on lung inflammation induced by air pollutants.
*3 J. Lelieveld, et al., Eur Heart J. 2019, 40, 20, 1590-1596. *4 S. Maheswari, et al., Environ Anal Health Toxicol. 2020, 35, 4, e2020020. *5 Antioxidant action: Action to suppress excessive oxidation reaction caused by active oxygen *6 Release dated October 24, 2016 “Confirmed that Kalahari watermelon is effective in inhibiting the proliferation of influenza virus” https://www.euglena.jp/ news/n20161024/
*7 Release dated May 21, 2020 “Confirmed research results showing that the intake of Kalahari watermelon suppresses the symptoms of alcoholic liver injury” https://www.euglena.jp/news/200521-2 /
*8 Release dated February 22, 2022, “Research results suggesting that the inhibitory effect of watermelon on influenza virus infection is due to polyphenols such as 8-prenylnaringenin contained” https://www. .euglena.jp/news/20220222-3/
■ Research content and results
1. It was suggested that consumption of Kalahari watermelon juice inhibited lung inflammation induced by air pollutants in mice. This time, we prepared the following three groups and compared the number of lung inflammatory cells*9 and gene expression levels of inflammatory cytokines*10.
・Healthy mice not given anything (hereinafter referred to as control group) ・Mice given air pollutants one hour after oral intake of saline (hereinafter referred to as air pollutant group)
・Mice administered air pollutants one hour after ingesting watermelon juice (hereinafter referred to as air pollutants + watermelon group) As a result, the number of inflammatory cells in the lungs and gene expression levels of inflammatory cytokines were significantly increased in the air pollutant group compared to the control group, confirming an inflammatory response.
On the other hand, in the air pollutant + kalahari watermelon group, the number of inflammatory cells in the lungs and gene expression levels of inflammatory cytokines were significantly reduced, and the inflammatory response was suppressed compared to the air pollutant group (Fig. 1, 2).
*9 Inflammatory cells: Cells that increase with inflammation. Immune cells such as macrophages and neutrophils
*10 Cytokine: Proteins produced when immune cells respond. TNF gene, IL-6 gene, etc.
[Image 1: https://prtimes.jp/i/36462/457/resize/d36462-457-9b10e573625daa4aac9b-0.jpg&s3=36462-457-755f1a714c324905fc2f01bc001d4652-814×733.jpg] Figure 1: Inflammatory Cells in Mouse Lung
*Inflammatory cells are stained purple.
#p<0.05, ##p<0.01 vs atmospheric dust group, ** p<0.01 vs control group, Dunnett’s test
[Image 2: https://prtimes.jp/i/36462/457/resize/d36462-457-f04daf1bae842071fc65-1.jpg&s3=36462-457-c3a86dab7952aafaa455fe6ce29c7731-847×533.jpg] Figure 2: Mouse Lung Cytokine Gene Expression Levels
*Expression levels are shown relative to controls.
#p<0.05, ## p<0.01 vs atmospheric dust group, ** p<0.01 vs control group, Dunnett’s test
2. It was suggested that the suppression of lung inflammation induced by air pollutants in mice by ingestion of Kalahari watermelon juice is mediated by its antioxidant effect.
In addition, when we analyzed the amount of active oxygen*11 produced in the lungs of mice, we found that the air pollutant group produced a large amount of active oxygen compared to the control group, but the air pollutant + Kalahari watermelon group , the production of reactive oxygen species was significantly suppressed, in other words, an antioxidant effect was confirmed (Fig. 3).
*11 Active oxygen: Part of the oxygen taken into the body by breathing becomes more active than usual. Excessive production of active oxygen causes oxidative stress, which is deeply involved in diseases such as cell damage and inflammation.
[Image 3: https://prtimes.jp/i/36462/457/resize/d36462-457-6261ab8442b541df68cb-2.jpg&s3=36462-457-4dbb0569572b5bd6e9bf6c3b4c7bd0e8-759×739.jpg] Figure 3: Production of active oxygen in mouse lungs
#p<0.05 vs atmospheric dust group, ** p<0.01 vs control group, Dunnett’s test The colored part of the image is the amount of active oxygen produced in the lungs of the mouse.
These verifications suggest that intake of Kalahari watermelon juice suppresses lung inflammation caused by air pollutants through its antioxidant action.
We will continue our research to clarify the functionality of Kalahari watermelon juice.
-About Kalahari Watermelon-
Kalahari watermelon is a wild watermelon that grows naturally in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. In addition to the original characteristics of watermelon, Kalahari watermelon is excellent in its ability to protect its cells from harsh desert environmental stress and its ability to retain water. Therefore, it stores anti-stress ingredients such as citrulline, which is a kind of amino acid, and ingredients related to water retention. In November 2013, euglena made the Plant High Tech Research Institute a wholly owned subsidiary, taking over the research of Kalahari watermelon and working to clarify its functionality with the aim of contributing to the promotion of people’s health.
-About euglena Co., Ltd.-
In 2005, we succeeded in establishing the world’s first edible outdoor mass cultivation technology for microalgae Euglena (Japanese name: Euglena). In addition to developing and selling foods and cosmetics using microalgae such as euglena and chlorella, we provide research and genetic analysis services for biofuel production. In addition, from April 2019, we will expand the target products of the “Euglena GENKI Program”, which has been carried out since 2014 to deliver Euglena cookies with rich nutrients to children in Bangladesh, to all group products including cosmetics. We define “Sustainability First” as our Euglena Philosophy and develop our business. https://euglena.jp
[Image 4: https://prtimes.jp/i/36462/457/resize/d36462-457-8e1d11d5788e6d4685c6-3.jpg&s3=36462-457-e6741499f47b2b7048d5beb446f8668c-410×175.jpg] -About Musashino University-
In 1924, Musashino Women’s Academy was established with the ideal of character education based on the spirit of Buddhism. It used to be Musashino Women’s University and changed its name to Musashino University in 2003. Since becoming co-educational in 2004, the university has been reformed and developed into a comprehensive university with over 13,000 students, including 12 faculties and 20 departments, 13 graduate schools, and a correspondence course. In 2019, it opened the first data science department at a private university in Japan. In 2021, we will open the first Entrepreneurship Faculty in Japan, and start the university-wide common basic course “Musashino INITIAL” with “AI utilization” and “SDGs” as compulsory subjects. Furthermore, in 2023, we will open the first Sustainability Department in Japan, and we are planning to establish the first well-being department in Japan in 2024, the 100th anniversary of our founding. In order to develop creative human resources, we are promoting university reforms.
Musashino University HP: https://www.musashino-u.ac.jp
[Image 5: https://prtimes.jp/i/36462/457/resize/d36462-457-f3eaccc30ebc5819bdfe-4.jpg&s3=36462-457-54c433adda65a0a3aff6fb192f1a1da2-912×682.jpg]
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