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Bromelain is a concentrated mixture of proteolytic enzymes derived from the pineapple plant Ananas comosus. Commercial bromelain is not a chemically homogeneous substance because if the enzyme is highly purified it loses its stability and most of its physiological activity. The main ingredient is a proteolytic enzyme (a glycoprotein), but it also contains small amounts of an acid phosphatase, a peroxidase, several protease inhibitors, and organically bound calcium (Hatano et al 1996; Taussig 1980).
Stem: Pineapple stem cysteine proteinases include bromelain, comosain, and ananain. Bromelain has a structural similarity to comosain but not ananain (Napper et al 1994).
Crude Extract: The crude extract of bromelain is a combination product containing enzymes, proteins, carbohydrates, and seven protease inhibitors that are active against bromelain, papain, and ficin (Cooreman et al 1976).
Other Names: Ananas comosus, bromelins
ACTIONS AND PHARMACOLOGY
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that has anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and digestive properties.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Bromelain selectivity inhibits the biosynthesis of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (Taussig 1980). Bromelain lowers kininogen and bradykinin in serum and tissues and may alter prostaglandin synthesis (Lotz-Winter 1990). The action of bromelain can be compared to endogenous protease plasmin because it acts on fibrinogen to stimulate the biosynthesis of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Bromelain inhibits prostaglandin E(2), which does not block the synthesis of all pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins as in the case of aspirin, but instead results in a partial inhibition of thromboxane synthetase. This partial and dose-dependent inhibition decreases the total amount of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and improves the ratio of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (Taussig 1980).
Antitumor Effects: In vitro studies with bromelain indicate specific retardation of Lewis lung carcinoma, YC-8 lymphoma, and MCA-1 ascitic tumor cells, as well as a human gastric carcinoma cell line (KATO III). Fractionation of bromelain by …