|A team of researchers has revealed strong evidence that various proteolytic enzymes – specifically trypsin, chymotrypsin and serratiopeptidase (serrapeptase) – can significantly reduce various states of inflammation. Investigators looked both at the activity when enzymes are taken alone, as well as in low doses with aspirin.
To conduct their study, the team used rat models with experimentally produced acute and sub-acute inflammation. Acute inflammation was induced by injecting carrageenan, a gelatinous extract from seaweed, in the right hind paw of the animal to simulate edema. Sub-acute inflammation was produced by implanting cotton pellets subcutaneously, or just under the skin, forming a granuloma.
Animals were treated with aspirin, proteolytic enzymes alone in three different doses, an enzyme-aspirin combination, or with saline as the control. Treatment was administered 30 minutes prior to inducing inflammation and was repeated once daily for 10 days.
Researchers assessed the level of edema produced by the injection by measuring the change in volume of the paw. Serrapeptase showed greater anti-inflammatory activity on acute inflammation than trypsin, chymotrypsin and aspirin.
The cotton pellet was removed after 10 days and dry weight was taken to measure the amount that had been broken down. Serrapeptase was found to be more effective at reducing mass size than trypsin, chymotrypsin and aspirin in the sub-acute model of inflammation.
While the lowest dose of all three proteolytic enzymes failed to be effective, they possessed a synergistic effect when taken in low doses with low doses of aspirin in both acute and sub-acute models of inflammation.
The stomach was also inspected and measured for ulcers. The serrapeptase, chymotrypsin and trypsin treated animals showed a significant reduction in damage to the stomach as compared to the control. Enzyme-aspirin combinations showed a significant reduction when compared with aspirin treated animals.
The findings of this study can be a breakthrough for those who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat chronic inflammation and are at high risk of developing ulcers with long-term use. The research team stills need to confirm the results in clinical trials on people, but the findings offer support for treatment options including systemic enzymes like serrapeptase that may change how inflammation is treated and possibly prevented.
SOURCE: Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2008; 70(1):114-117.