Polyphenolic extracts from cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) protect colonic myofibroblasts (CCD18Co cells) from lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation – modulation of microRNA 126
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is a drought tolerant crop with several agronomic advantages over other legumes. This study evaluated varieties from four major cowpea phenotypes (black, red, light brown and white) containing different phenolic profiles for their anti-inflammatory property on non-malignant colonic myofibroblasts (CCD18Co) cells challenged with an endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS). Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) assay on the LPS-stimulated cells revealed antioxidative potential of black and red cowpea varieties. Real-time qRT-PCR analysis in LPS-stimulated cells revealed down-regulation of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-8, TNF-α, VCAM-1), transcription factor NF-κB and modulation of microRNA-126 (specific post-transcriptional regulator of VCAM-1) by cowpea polyphenolics. The ability of cowpea polyphenols to modulate miR-126 signaling and its target gene VCAM-1 were studied in LPS-stimulated endothelial cells transfected with a specific inhibitor of miR-126, and treated with 10 mg GAE/L black cowpea extract where the extract in part reversed the effect of the miR-126 inhibitor. This suggests that cowpea may exert their anti-inflammatory activities at least in part through induction of miR-126 that then down-regulate VCAM-1 mRNA and protein expressions. Overall, Cowpea therefore is promising as an anti-inflammatory dietary component.