Effects of 6-gingerol on autoimmune diseases
Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and even appears to be therapeutically useful against certain autoimmune diseases.
A main bioactive compound in ginger root (6-gingerol) appears to help against various autoimmune diseases, at least in mice, according to a study led by researchers from the University of Michigan. The study was published in the English-language journal “JCI Insight” released.
Ginger helps with inflammatory diseases
Ginger is a popular herbal supplement for treating inflammatory conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. One of the main bioactive compounds in ginger root is 6-gingerol.
6-Gingerol for Lupus and Antiphospholipid Syndrome?
In the current study, the researchers examined the effects of 6-gingerol on autoimmune diseases in mice. Specifically, the effects on lupus, a disease that attacks the body’s immune system, and the often associated antiphospholipid syndrome were analyzed. Both cause widespread inflammation and damage organs over time.
The team found that in mice with either antiphospholipid syndrome or lupus, 6-gingerol prevented the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which are triggered by the autoantibodies that produce these diseases.
What are NETs?
“Neutrophil extracellular traps come from white blood cells called neutrophils. These sticky spider web-like structures are formed when autoantibodies interact with receptors on the surface of the neutrophils, ”explains study author Dr. Ramadan A. Ali in one Press release.
According to Dr. Ali, these networks play an important role in the pathogenesis of lupus and the antiphospholipid syndrome, where they trigger the formation of autoantibodies and contribute to the clotting and damage of blood vessels.
Does 6-Gingerol Prevent the Formation of NETs?
In the study, the research group was particularly concerned with the question of whether the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger also affect the neutrophils and whether 6-gingerol prevents the neutrophils from forming NETs.
Effects of 6-gingerol on NETs
The team found in the study in mice that the animals had lower levels of NETs after the administration of 6-gingerol. Their tendency to form blood clots was also drastically reduced, and 6-gingerol appeared to inhibit neutrophil enzymes called phosphodiesterases, which in turn reduced neutrophil activation.
The most surprising finding of all, however, was that the mice, regardless of whether they had antiphospholipid syndrome or lupus, had fewer autoantibodies. This indicates that the inflammatory cycle – autoantibodies that stimulate NETs, which in turn stimulate further autoantibodies – has been interrupted, the researchers report. Although the study was carried out in mouse models, the team is of the opinion that the pre-clinical data obtained speak in favor of conducting clinical studies.
“As with basically all treatments in our area, one size does not fit all. But I wonder if there is a subset of autoimmune patients with hyperactive neutrophils who could benefit from increased 6-gingerol intake, ”says study author Jason S. Knight. “It will be important to examine the neutrophils before and after treatment so that we can determine the subgroup that is most likely to be of benefit,” adds the expert.
Benefits for people at increased risk
The bioactive compound may not be the primary therapy for someone with active antiphospholipid syndrome or lupus, but the team is interested in finding out if the natural supplement can help people at high risk for developing the disease.
“People who carry autoantibodies but do not have activated disease could benefit from this treatment if 6-gingerol proves to be a protective agent in humans, as it does in mice,” adds Dr. Ali added. (as)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- Ramadan A. Ali, Alex A. Gandhi, Lipeng Dai, Julia K. Weiner, Shanea K. Estes et al.: Anti-neutrophil properties of natural gingerols in models of lupus, in JCI Insight (veröffentlicht 29.12.2020), JCI Insight
- University of Michigan: Ginger Counters Certain Autoimmune Diseases in Mice (veröffentlicht 06.01.2021), University of Michigan
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.