The unsaponifiable fraction of extra virgin olive oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and exerts preventative effects in murine models of inflammatory bowel disease.
The Academy at the University of Gothenburg study was designed to determine the in vitro effects of unsaponifiable fraction on blood and intestinal T cells from IBD patients and healthy subjects.
The T cell phenotype was investigated by flow cytometry and cytokine secretion was determined by ELISA. The presence of unsaponifiable fraction of olive oil promoted apoptosis and attenuated activation of intestinal and blood T cells isolated from IBD patients, decreasing the frequency of CD69+ and CD25+ T cells and, also, the secretion of IFN-γ. Moreover, UF reduced the expression of the gut homing receptor integrin β7 on blood T cells from IBD patients.
In conclusion, unsaponifiable fraction modulates the activity and the gut homing capacity of T cells, and might therefore be considered as a dietary complement with an anti-inflammatory role in IBD patients.