Assessing the intestinal permeability and anti-inflammatory potential of sesquiterpene lactones from chicory

Melanie S. Matos, José D. Anastácio, J. William Allwood, Diogo Carregosa, Daniela Marques, Julie Sungurtas, Gordon J. McDougall, Regina Menezes, Ana A. Matias, Derek Stewart, Cláudia Nunes Dos Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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Cichorium intybus L. has recently gained major attention due to large quantities of health-promoting compounds in its roots, such as inulin and sesquiterpene lactones (SLs). Chicory is the main dietary source of SLs, which have underexplored bioactive potential. In this study, we assessed the capacity of SLs to permeate the intestinal barrier to become physiologically available, using in silico predictions and in vitro studies with the well-established cell model of the human intestinal mucosa (differentiated Caco-2 cells). The potential of SLs to modulate inflammatory responses through modulation of the nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) pathway was also evaluated, using a yeast reporter system. Lactucopicrin was revealed as the most permeable chicory SL in the intestinal barrier model, but it had low anti-inflammatory potential. The SL with the highest anti-inflammatory potential was 11β,13-dihydrolactucin, which inhibited up to 54% of Calcineurin-responsive zinc finger (Crz1) activation, concomitantly with the impairment of the nuclear accumulation of Crz1, the yeast orthologue of human NFAT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3547
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • 11β,13-dihydrolactucin
  • 11β,13-dihydrolactucopicrin
  • Calcineurin
  • Lactucin
  • Lactucopicrin
  • NFAT


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