Icariin enhances intestinal barrier function by inhibiting NF-κB signaling pathways and modulating gut microbiota in a piglet model†
This study investigated the effects of icariin on intestinal barrier function and its underlying mechanisms. The icariin diet improved the growth rate and reduced the diarrhea rate in piglets. The icariin diet also reduced the levels of plasma and colonic IL-1β, -6, -8, TNF-α, and MDA but increased the plasma and colonic activity of SOD, GPx, and CAT. Besides, the levels of plasma and colonic endotoxin, DAO, D-lactate, and zonulin were markedly reduced in icariin groups. Meanwhile, dietary intake icariin significantly increased the gene and protein expression of ZO-1, Occludin, and Claudin-1 in the colon. Furthermore, the gene and protein expressions of TLR4, MyD88, and NF-κB were significantly inhibited in the colon of icariin fed piglets. The intestinal microbiota composition and function was changed by the icariin diet. Collectively, these findings increase our understanding of the mechanisms by which ICA enhances the intestinal barrier function and promotes the development of nutritional intervention strategies.