8th FIAAP ANIMAL NUTRITION CONFERENCE, Cologne, Germany 14 June 2017

Vetagro attended the conference with a talk entitled “Thymol promotes the intestinal barrier function of Caco-2 cells”, where some of the latest results from our R&D unit were presented.

The 8th edition of the FIAAP Animal Nutrition conference took place on 14 June 2017 in Cologne, Germany, and was co-located with five additional conferences as part of FVG Select 2017, organized by Victam. http://www.wattglobalmedia.com/fiaap/).This one-day educational conference highlighted the latest innovations and research in animal feed ingredients and additives, with a specific emphasis on world compound production and antibiotic elimination.

Vetagro attended the conference with a talk entitled “Thymol promotes the intestinal barrier function of Caco-2 cells”, where some of the latest results from our R&D unit were presented.

ABSTRACT

Thymol promotes the intestinal barrier function of Caco-2 cells

Ester Grilli1*, Barbara Rossi2, Benedetta Tugnoli2

1 DIMEVET, University of Bologna, Ozzano Emilia 40064, Bologna, Italy

2 Vetagro, Reggio Emilia 42124, Italy


Thymol has been traditionally used as a feed additive mainly as a flavorant and for its anti-microbial properties, although some new anti-inflammatory mechanism of action has been repeatedly reported; there are also data connecting thymol to a more general concept of intestinal health. Aim of this study was to screen and describe some novel properties of thymol more specifically related to barrier function and gut chemosensing in an in vitro model.

Caco-2 cells were seeded on transwell inserts and allowed to grow until stable. Then cells were cultured with or without (control) thymol at 11.5 uM, 23 uM, or 34.5 uM in DMEM. Trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TER) was measured every other day and at d15 cells were harvested to assess mRNA expression of tight junctions (TJ) and chemosensing markers by qPCR.

Compared to control, thymol at 34.5 uM significantly improved the TER starting at 7 days since the beginning of the experiment (+11%, P<0.01) and the increase remained significant throughout the study (on average +15%, P<0.001); thymol at 23 uM improved TER only at d9 (+15%, P<0.001), whereas 11.5 uM was not different from control throughout the experiment. Further support for the barrier-improving effect of thymol was seen with gene expression: while occludin was not affected, zonula occludens-1 tended to be increased in a dose-dependent manner (P=0.19). Moreover, all doses of thymol tested were able to modulate some chemosensing markers by increasing the olfactory receptor 1G1 (P=0.19) and reducing vanilloid receptors TRPV1 and TRPV3 expression (P=0.03 and P=0.10, respectively).

In conclusion:

- thymol was shown to improve the intestinal barrier function by increasing TER and improving TJ expression;

- thymol is involved in the intestinal sensory perception and it reduces the expression of receptors generally upregulated during intestinal inflammatory status like TRPV1;

- these data could support the “intestinal health-enhancer” mode of action of thymol-based products in animal nutrition.