Red yeast rice dietary intervention reduces oxidative stress-related inflammation and improves intestinal microbiota†
Inflammation and oxidative stress play key roles in the aging process, while red yeast rice (RYR), a traditional Chinese fermented food, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. To understand the anti-aging function of RYR in vivo, this study established a D-galactose-induced aging mouse model to verify the positive effects of RYR dietary intervention on aging and explore the related underlying mechanism. Eight weeks of RYR dietary intervention was shown to have a significant inhibitory effect on cognitive decline and hippocampal damage. The molecular mechanistic studies showed that the anti-aging effects of RYR were achieved by (i) improving the oxidative stress-related damage (increasing SOD, CAT, and GSH, and reducing MDA), (ii) regulating the NF-κB inflammation pathway induced by oxidative stress (decreasing the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ, iNOs, and IL-1β, increasing the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, and decreasing the expression of the NF-κB protein), (iii) slowing down apoptosis caused by oxidative stress (reducing the expression of P21 and P53), (iv) restoring the abundance of Lactobacillus, Lachnospiraceae and Rikenellaceae downregulated by D-galactose, and (v) reducing the abundance of Akkermansia and Helicobacter enriched by D-galactose. Mass spectrometry revealed orange pigments (rubropunctatin and monascorubrin) as the main antioxidant components in RYR, which might play key roles in aging inhibition. This study provides theoretical support for the wide application of orange pigments as an antioxidant dietary supplement.