Ferns possess unique anti-inflammatory properties, according to a study that found the plants produce bioactive molecules that could lead to the development of drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases. When inflammation becomes chronic, it can cause arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. The study found ferns’ compounds with anti-inflammatory properties blocked the activation of several pathways involved in promoting inflammation. The researchers isolated two such molecules, ‘filicinic acid’ and ‘3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride’, from the fern ‘Dryopteris crassirhizoma’.
Ferns Found to Have Unique Anti-Inflammatory Properties, Study Finds
Ferns have been a part of our natural environment since the earliest times. From them, we have derived many valuable compounds that have helped us in medicine, food, and even art. However, a new study has revealed that ferns have unique anti-inflammatory properties not found in any other plant. The study has highlighted that the fern’s ability to produce bioactive molecules, known as fernlike compounds, can be harnessed to develop new drugs and treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural response of our body to fight infections and heal damaged tissues. It is characterized by redness, swelling, heat, and pain in the affected area. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to several diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some cancers.
The Role of Ferns in Inflammation
The study has revealed that ferns produce unique compounds that can inhibit the inflammatory response. These molecules, known as fernlike compounds, are found only in ferns, making them a unique source of anti-inflammatory molecules. The researchers isolated two such compounds – ‘filicinic acid’ and ‘3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride’ – from the fern ‘Dryopteris crassirhizoma.’
The Mechanism of Action of Fernlike Compounds
The researchers found that these fernlike compounds can inhibit the activation of several inflammatory signaling pathways. The pathways involved in the expression of cytokines (proteins that promote inflammation), such as interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were effectively blocked by these compounds. Additionally, the compounds suppressed the activation of Nuclear Factor Kappa-Light-Chain-Enhancer of Activated B Cells (NF-kB) and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases (MAPKs), two central mediators of the inflammatory response.
Significance of the Recent Study
This study has highlighted the potential of fernlike compounds as a source of new drugs and treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases. Chronic inflammation is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with the global prevalence of several chronic inflammatory diseases constantly rising. The current drugs used to treat chronic inflammatory diseases often have several side effects, limiting their therapeutic potential. The discovery of new molecules that can inhibit inflammation without causing adverse effects, like fernlike compounds, is highly significant.
The Future of Anti-Inflammatory Therapy
The unique anti-inflammatory properties of ferns provide a new avenue for the development of anti-inflammatory drugs. However, the current study is preliminary, and further studies are needed to determine the exact mechanism of action and safety profile of these molecules. Nevertheless, the findings of the study have proven the potential of fernlike compounds as a source of new drugs and treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases.
What are fernlike compounds?
Fernlike compounds are bioactive molecules found only in ferns that have unique anti-inflammatory properties.
What are the central mediators of the inflammatory response?
The central mediators of the inflammatory response are Nuclear Factor Kappa-Light-Chain-Enhancer of Activated B Cells (NF-kB) and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases (MAPKs).
How can fernlike compounds be used in therapy?
Fernlike compounds can be used as a source of new drugs and treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases. These compounds inhibit the activation of several inflammatory signaling pathways, making them a unique source of anti-inflammatory molecules.
Are there any side effects of using fernlike compounds?
The safety profile of fernlike compounds is yet to be determined, and further studies are needed to assess their long-term effects. However, preliminary studies have shown that these molecules have a low toxicity profile when used in vitro.