Ulcerative colitis is a subtype of inflammatory bowel disease, characterized by relapsing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract with limited treatment options. Previous studies suggested that the natural compound tricin, a flavone isolated from rice bran, could suppress chemically-induced colitis in mice, while our recent study also demonstrated the anti-metastatic effect of tricin in colon tumor-bearing mice.
Here we further investigated the underlying mechanism of the inhibitory effects of tricin on lipopolysaccharides-activated macrophage RAW264.7 cells and explored the efficacy of tricin in acute colitis mouse model induced by 4.5% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) for 7 days.
Tricin (75, 100, and 150 mg/kg) or the positive control drug sulfasalazine (200 mg/kg) were orally administered to mice for 7 days. Stool consistency scores, stool blood scores, and body weight were recorded daily. Disease activity index (DAI) was examined on day 7, and colon tissues were collected for biochemical analyses. The fecal microbiome of colitis mice after tricin treatment was characterized for the first time in this study using 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing.
Results showed that tricin (50 µM) remarkably reduced nitric oxide production in lipopolysaccharides-activated RAW264.7 cells and the anti-inflammatory activity of tricin was shown to act through the NF-κB pathway. Besides, tricin treatment at 150 mg/kg significantly reversed colon length reduction, reduced myeloperoxidase activities and DAI scores, as well as restored the elevated myeloid-derived suppressive cells population in acute colitis mice. The influence from DSS on gut microbiota, such as the increased population of Proteobacteria phylum and Ruminococcaceae family, was shown to be relieved after tricin treatment.
Our present study firstly demonstrated that tricin ameliorated acute colitis by improving colonic inflammation and modulating gut microbiota profile, which supports the potential therapeutic use of tricin for colitis treatment.

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