Palmatine ameliorated murine colitis by suppressing tryptophan metabolism and regulating gut microbiota

Xiao Jun Zhang, Zhong Wen Yuan, Chang Qu, Xiu Ting Yu, Tao Huang, Ping Vicky Chen, Zi Ren Su, Yao Xing Dou, Jia Zhen Wu, Hui Fang Zeng*, Ying Xie, Jian Nan Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), majorly include Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), is chronic and relapsing inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, which treatment options remain limited. Here we examined the therapeutic effects of an isoquinoline alkaloid, Palmatine (Pal), on mice experimental colitis induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) and explored underlying mechanisms. Colitis was induced in BALB/c mice by administering 3% DSS in drinking water for 7 days. Pal (50 and 100 mg kg −1 ) and the positive drug Sulfasalazine (SASP, 200 mg kg −1 ) were orally administered for 7 days. Disease activity index (DAI) was evaluated on day 8, and colonic tissues were collected for biochemistry analysis. The fecal microbiota was characterized by high-throughput Illumina MiSeq sequencing. And plasma metabolic changes were detected by UPLC-MS. Our results showed that Pal treatment significantly reduced DAI scores and ameliorated colonic injury in mice with DSS-induced colitis. Mucosal integrity was improved and cell apoptosis was inhibited. Moreover, gut microbiota analysis showed that mice received Pal-treatment have higher relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, but reduced amount of Proteobacteria. Moreover, Pal not only suppressed tryptophan catabolism in plasma, but also decreased the protein expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO-1, the rate-limiting enzyme of tryptophan catabolism) in colon tissue. This is consolidated by molecular docking, which suggested that Pal is a potent IDO-1 inhibitor. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that Pal ameliorated DSS-induced colitis by mitigating colonic injury, preventing gut microbiota dysbiosis, and regulating tryptophan catabolism, which indicated that Pal has great therapeutic potential for colitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacological Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Gut microbiota
  • Palmatine
  • Tryptophan metabolism
  • Ulcerative colitis


Dive into the research topics of 'Palmatine ameliorated murine colitis by suppressing tryptophan metabolism and regulating gut microbiota'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this