Avocado seed extract exhibits anti-inflammatory properties

An extract from colored avocado seeds shows promise as an anti-inflammatory compound, according to new research from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, which was published earlier this week in the journal Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences.

To determine the anti-inflammatory properties of the avocado seed extract, the researchers used cell culture models and enzymes that are key in immune response and inflammatory diseases. A class of immune cells called macrophages were grown in petri dishes and activated with a pro-inflammatory stimuli in the presence or absence of the avocado seed extract. The researchers measured the production of pro-inflammatory mediators and signaling pathways in the cells after treatment with the extract. 

Researchers, supported by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, developed the extract over the last decade as a food colorant and it is not known whether the compounds responsible for the extract's vibrant orange color play any role in its ability to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators, said Joshua Lambert, PhD, associate professor of food science, in a statement released by the university.

The next step, researchers say, will be to design animal model studies, for example a mouse model of ulcerative colitis, where they will formulate the avocado seed extract into the mice diet and look at whether it is able to reduce inflammation, according to the statement.

This discovery represents a potential source for novel anti-inflammatory compounds that could be developed as a functional food ingredient or pharmaceuticals, according to researchers. As inflammation is the root cause of most, if not all, chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and arthritis, this extract could play a role in treatment and prevention.