Reduction of Inflammation and Colon Injury by a Spearmint Phenolic Extract in Experimental Bowel Disease in Mice

Rosa Direito, João Rocha, Ana Lima, Maria Margarida Boavida Pontes Gonçalves, Maria Paula Amaro de Castilho Duarte, Vanessa Mateus, Catarina Sousa, Adelaide Fernandes, Rui Pinto, Ricardo Boavida Ferreira, Bruno Sepodes, Maria Eduardo Figueira

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Background: Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) encompasses both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, known to be connected to an enlarged risk for developing colorectal cancer (CRC). Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) is a Mediterranean plant used as an aromatic agent, and studies have mainly focused on the essential oil suggesting an anti-inflammatory activity. This work aimed to perform a preliminary screening of the in vivo anti-inflammatory effects of a spearmint phenolic extract in an acute inflammation model, in a chronic inflammation model of colitis, and also study the effects in vitro on a colon cancer model. Methods: Spearmint extract was administered to rats of a paw oedema model (induced by carrageenan) and to mice from a TNBS-induced colitis model in parallel with studies using HT-29 CRC cells. Results: Administration of the extract led to reduced paw inflammation, reduction of colon injury and inflammation, with attenuation of histological markers, and reduction of iNOS expression. It repressed the in vitro movement of HT-29 cells in a wound healing assay. Conclusions: These findings suggest that spearmint extract exhibits acute and chronic anti-inflammatory activity and is able to inhibit migration of cancer cells, suggesting a potential role in the supplementary therapy of IBD patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Issue number2(SI)
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2019


  • spearmint
  • Mentha spicata L.
  • phenolics
  • Inflammation
  • colitis
  • colorectal cancer


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