Ginger combats certain autoimmune diseases in mice

Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, which makes it a popular herbal supplement to treat inflammatory diseases. Now, according to a Michigan Medicine led study published in JCI Insight, the main bioactive compound of ginger root, 6-gingerol, is therapeutic in countering the mechanism that fuels certain autoimmune diseases in mice.

Researchers specifically looked at lupus, a disease which attacks the body’s own immune system, and its often associated condition antiphospholipid syndrome, which causes blood clots, since both cause widespread inflammation and damage organs overtime.

“Neutrophil extracellular traps, or NETs, come from white blood cells called neutrophils,” says lead author Ramadan Ali, Ph.D. “These sticky spider-web like structures are formed when autoantibodies interact with receptors on the neutrophil’s surface.”

The study question was: “Will the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger extend to neutrophils, and specifically, can this natural medicine stop neutrophils from making NETs that contribute to disease progression?”

“This pre-clinical study in mice offers a surprising and exciting, ‘yes’,” Ali told labblog.uofmhealth.org. 

Ali discovered that after giving 6-gingerol, the mice had lower levels of NETs. Their tendency to make clots was also drastically reduced and 6-gingerol appeared to inhibit neutrophil enzymes called phosphodiesterases, which in turn reduced neutrophil activation.

Photo source: Dreamstime.com


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