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A Novel Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease with Nutraceuticals

Technology Number: 


Principal Investigator



Biological Regulation

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is known for causing a dramatic reduction in patients' quality of life. Apart from symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting, IBD can lead to more serious complications such as higher risk of colon cancer, bowel obstructions, and other possible debilitating and life-threatening conditions. Presently there is no optimal treatment for IBD, with most treatments presenting different limitations and concerns. Anti-inflammatory drugs, immune-suppressing agents, and antibiotics can relieve some symptoms connected to IBD, but are not treating the primary cause of the disease and include serious side effects. For severe cases, the last resort can be surgical removal or widening of the intestine.

The present technology from the group of Prof. Ayelet Erez offers a novel and effective method for alleviating IBD, based on a deep understanding of the mechanism of action of the pathology. Treatment involves the use of commonly available nutraceuticals, Citrulline and Fisetin, which help to utilize specific metabolic pathways to ameliorate the symptoms connected to IBD. Consequently, this technology represents a data-driven, innovative, and readily available method of treating inflammatory bowel disease.


·         Novel treatment for IBD – the technology explicitly works by activating metabolic pathways that reduce intestinal inflammation.

·         Commonly available and Low safety risk – Citrulline and Fisetin are already available and used by the general public as nutraceuticals.



Technology's Essence

The Erez lab studied nitric oxide (NO), an important signaling molecule that participates in various physiological and pathological conditions. Arginine, the substrate for NO production, is uniquely synthesized by Argininosuccinate lyase (ASL). The team performed cell-specific knockouts of ASL in different cells of varying colitis mouse models to discover the contribution of NO production in relation to disease progression. These experiments revealed that in the context of colitis, NO is a double-edged sword; NO production by enterocytes alleviates colitis while NO production by immune cells increases colitis severity. Induction of NO synthesis in enterocytes by upregulating ASL or Fisetin, as well as adding supplements which support NO production, such as Citrulline, ameliorated colitis and inflammation-related colon cancer.  


Further details can be found in the manuscript Stettner et al., 2018, Cell Reports.

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