Article Text

Reparative properties of a commercial fish protein hydrolysate preparation
  1. A J Fitzgerald1,
  2. P S Rai1,
  3. T Marchbank1,
  4. G W Taylor2,
  5. S Ghosh1,
  6. B W Ritz3,
  7. R J Playford1
  1. 1Department of Gastroenterology, Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, London, UK
  2. 2Proteomics Department, Imperial College, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor R J Playford
    Department of Gastroenterology, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Ducane Rd, London W12 0NN, UK; r.playford{at}


Background: A partially hydrolysed and dried product of pacific whiting fish is currently marketed as a health food supplement to support “intestinal health”. However, there has been only limited scientific study regarding its true biological activity.

Aims: We therefore tested its efficacy in a variety of models of epithelial injury and repair.

Methods: Effects on proliferation were determined using [3H] thymidine incorporation into epithelial rat intestinal RIE-1 and human colonic HT29 cells. Effects on restitution (cell migration) were analysed using wounded HT29 monolayers and its ability to influence gastric injury analysed using a rat indomethacin restraint model. Partial characterisation of bioactive agents was performed using mass spectroscopy, high pressure liquid chromatography, and gas chromatography.

Results: Both cell proliferation and cell migration were increased by about threefold when added at 1 mg/ml (p<0.01). Gastric injury was reduced by 59% when gavaged at 25 mg/ml (p<0.05), results similar to using the potent cytoprotective agent epidermal growth factor at 12.5 μg/ml. The vast majority of biological activity was soluble in ethanol, with glutamine in its single, di-, and tripeptide forms probably accounting for approximately 40% of the total bioactivity seen. Fatty acid constituents may also have contributed to cell migratory activity.

Conclusions: Fish protein hydrolysate possesses biological activity when analysed in a variety of models of injury and repair and could provide a novel inexpensive approach for the prevention and treatment of the injurious effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other ulcerative conditions of the bowel. Further studies appear justified.

  • DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium
  • EGF, epidermal growth factor
  • HPLC, high pressure liquid chromatography
  • PBS, phosphate buffer solution
  • BSA, bovine serum albumin
  • repair
  • gut growth
  • cell migration
  • injury
  • nutriceutical

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Supplementary materials

  • BWR acts a consultant for the Proper Nutrition Company. Prior to undertaking these studies, contractual agreement was reached such that the company did not have the right to deny publication of results, whatever the outcome, and were not involved with the data analyses.


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