Available online 1 July 2016
A decreased antioxidant capacity and excessive inflammation are well-known features in the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis (UC). Recent evidence has suggested a role of honey in reducing colitis-induced inflammatory and oxidative stress markers.
In this study, we examined whether the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of honey have a beneficial effect on the enteric innervation and cellular proliferation of UC in rat. The colitis was induced in rats by dextran sodium sulphate (DSS). The effect of natural honey on induced colitis was assessed by the following parameters in colonic samples: tissue injury, inflammatory infiltration, interleukin-1β and -6, superoxide dismutase and reduced glutathione. In addition, the expression of tumour necrosis factor-α, inducible NO synthase, caspase-3, CD34, Ki67, S100, c-kit, and neuron-specific enolase were examined by immunohistochemistry. Compared to the DSS-induced colitis group, the honey-treated group had significantly improved macroscopic and microscopic scores and exhibited the down-regulation of oxidative, inflammatory, and apoptotic markers. In addition, up-regulation of intrinsic muscular innervation and epithelial cellular proliferation markers was detected.
These results provide new insight into the beneficial role of natural honey in the treatment of DSS-induced colitis via the inhibition of colonic motor dysfunction and the inflammatory-oxidative-apoptotic cascade. In addition, the role of honey in epithelial regeneration was clarified.