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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Proteinase activity and stability of natural bromelain preparations.

Bromelain is a complex mixture of proteinases typically derived from pineapple stem. Similar proteinases are also present in pineapple fruit. Beneficial therapeutic effects of bromelain have been suggested or proven in several human inflammatory diseases and animal models of inflammation, including arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. However, it is not clear how each of the proteinases within bromelain contributes to its anti-inflammatory effects in vivo. Previous in vivo studies using bromelain have been limited by the lack of assays to control for potential differences in the composition and proteolytic activity of this naturally derived proteinase mixture. In this study, we present model substrate assays and assays for cleavage of bromelain-sensitive cell surface molecules can be used to assess the activity of constituent proteinases within bromelain without the need for biochemical separation of individual components. Commercially available chemical and nutraceutical preparations of bromelain contain predominately stem bromelain. In contrast, the proteinase activity of pineapple fruit reflects its composition of fruit bromelain>ananain approximately stem bromelain. Concentrated bromelain solutions (>50 mg/ml) are more resistant to spontaneous inactivation of their proteolytic activity than are dilute solutions, with the proteinase stability in the order of stem bromelain>fruit bromelain approximately ananain. The proteolytic activity of concentrated bromelain solutions remains relatively stable for at least 1 week at room temperature, with minimal inactivation by multiple freeze-thaw cycles or exposure to the digestive enzyme trypsin. The relative stability of concentrated versus dilute bromelain solutions to inactivation under physiologically relevant conditions suggests that delivery of bromelain as a concentrated bolus would be the preferred method to maximize its proteolytic activity in vivo.[1]


  1. Proteinase activity and stability of natural bromelain preparations. Hale, L.P., Greer, P.K., Trinh, C.T., James, C.L. Int. Immunopharmacol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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