Diosmetin has therapeutic efficacy in colitis regulating gut microbiota, inflammation, and oxidative stress via the circ- Sirt1/Sirt1 axis

Hai-long Li1,2, Yi-ying Wei1,2, Xiao-he Li1,2, Shan-shan Zhang1,2, Ruo-tong Zhang1,2, Jin-he Li1,2, Bo-wei Ma1,2, Shuai-bo Shao1,2, Zi-wei Lv1,2, Hao Ruan1,2, Hong-gang Zhou1,2, Cheng Yang1,2
1 The State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, College of Pharmacy and Key Laboratory of Molecular Drug Research, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
2 High-throughput Molecular Drug Screening Centre, Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biomedicine, Tianjin 300350, China
Correspondence to: Hong-gang Zhou:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-021-00726-0
Received: 22 February 2021
Accepted: 22 June 2021
Advance online: 14 July 2021


Diosmetin (3',5,7 -trihydroxy-4'-methoxy flavone) is a natural flavonoid compound in the citrus species, it exhibits a variety of pharmacological activities, but little is known of its effects on colitis. In this study we evaluated the therapeutic effects of diosmetin on mouse models of chronic and acute colitis. Chronic colitis was induced in mice by drinking water containing 3% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) from D0 to D8, followed by administration of diosmetin (25, 50 mg · kg−1 · d−1) for another 8 days. Acute colitis was induced by drinking water containing 5% DSS from D0 to D7, the mice concomitantly received diosmetin (25, 50 mg · kg−1 · d−1) from D1 to D7. During the experiments, body weight and disease activity index (DAI) were assessed daily. After the mice were sacrificed, colon tissue and feces samples were collected, and colon length was measured. We showed that in both models, diosmetin administration significantly decreased DAI score and ameliorated microscopic colon tissue damage; increased the expression of tight junction proteins (occludin, claudin-1, and zonula occludens-1), and reduced the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and Cox-2 in colon tissue. We found that diosmetin administration remarkably inhibited colon oxidative damage by adjusting the levels of intracellular and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, GSH-Px, SOD, MDA and GSH in colon tissue. The protection of diosmetin against intestinal epithelial barrier damage and oxidative stress were also observed in LPS-treated Caco-2 and IEC-6 cells in vitro. Furthermore, we demonstrated that diosmetin markedly increased the expression of Nrf2 and HO-1 and reduced the ratio of acetylated NF-κB and NF-κB by activating the circ-Sirt1/Sirt1 axis, which inhibited oxidative stress and inflammation in vivo and in vitro. Diosmetin reversed the effects of si-circSirt1 and si-Sirt1 in LPS-treated Caco-2 and IEC-6 cells. When the gut microbiota was analyzed in the mouse model of colitis, we found that diosmetin administration modulated the abundance of Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria and Firmicutes, which were crucial for inflammatory bowel disease. Our results have linked colitis to the circ-Sirt1/Sirt1 signaling pathway, which is activated by diosmetin. The results imply that diosmetin may be a novel candidate to alleviate DSS-induced colitis and can be a lead compound for future optimization and modification.

Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease; colitis; diosmetin; proinflammatory cytokines; oxidative stress; gut microbiota

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