This Phase I SBIR project aims to preclinically characterize an innovative and proprietary botanical product targeting chronic inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our objective is to provide experimental support for the hypothesis that anti-inflammatory isothiocyanates (ITCs) naturally produced in the edible leaves of Moringa oleifera Lam. (moringa) after mechanical wounding provide stable, highly efficacious and practical alternatives to instable and volatile ITCs produced by plants of the crucifer family (Brassicaceae), such as broccoli. Moringa leaves are historically used as a nutritious food and traditional medicine throughout South Asia and Africa. They contain high levels of nutrients, vitamins, and beneficial phytoactives. These phytoactives include unique, sugar-modified aromatic glucosinolates that can be converted to bioactive and stable moringa isothiocyanates (MICs) in wounded leaves. We have developed a novel, simple and proprietary aqueous extraction/biotransformation method, which effectively converts moringa glucosinolates into MICs resulting in good-tasting, shelf-stable, food-grade, moringa concentrate (MC) containing at least 3% of MICs. Preliminary studies have shown that MICs equal or exceed the bioactivity of sulforaphane, a well-known ITC from broccoli. Both MC and MICs strongly reduced the expression and levels of inflammatory markers, such as iNOS, IL- 1, and TNF? in in vitro models as well TNF? levels in intestinal tissue and feces of mice fed a high fat diet. The proposed work, carried out in close collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Ilya Raskin of Rutgers University (a leading expert in botanicals and inflammation) and three consultants, experienced in various aspects of natural products and IBD, will assess bioavailability and toxicology of MICs delivered in MC. We will further investigate anti-inflammatory effects of MC and MICs in an in vitro Caco-2 cell model with the goal of elucidating the mechanism of action of MICs and study the effects of MC in the dextran sodium-sulfate (DSS)-induced mouse model of acute and chronic ulcerative colitis. Finally, we will investigate and compare MIC content of various moringa cultivars growing in diverse climatic and geographic regions and define and optimize commercial scale MC manufacturing methods, such as wounding, residue removal and drying.

Public Health Relevance

Isothiocyanates from broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are associated with decreased risk of many chronic diseases. Using Nutrasorb technology and recent discoveries from Rutgers University we will evaluate the use of stable and efficacious isothiocyanates from moringa, delivered in the form of a proprietary, food-grade botanical extract, to prevent and treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Hopp, Craig
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Nutrasorb, LLC
United States
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Kim, Youjin; Jaja-Chimedza, Asha; Merrill, Daniel et al. (2018) A 14-day repeated-dose oral toxicological evaluation of an isothiocyanate-enriched hydro-alcoholic extract from Moringa oleifera Lam. seeds in rats. Toxicol Rep 5:418-426
Kim, Youjin; Wu, Alex G; Jaja-Chimedza, Asha et al. (2017) Isothiocyanate-enriched moringa seed extract alleviates ulcerative colitis symptoms in mice. PLoS One 12:e0184709
Jaja-Chimedza, Asha; Graf, Brittany L; Simmler, Charlotte et al. (2017) Biochemical characterization and anti-inflammatory properties of an isothiocyanate-enriched moringa (Moringa oleifera) seed extract. PLoS One 12:e0182658