Topical application of an ethanol extract prepared from Illicium verum suppresses atopic dermatitis in NC/Nga mice

Yoon-Young Sung, Won-Kyung Yang, A Yeong Lee, Dong-Seon Kim, Kyoung Jin Nho, Young Sang Kim, Ho Kyoung Kim
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2012 October 31, 144 (1): 151-9

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Illicium verum is a traditional herbal medicine with anti-inflammatory properties used in Asia. However, its usefulness in the treatment of allergic diseases remains unclear. This study evaluated the anti-inflammatory and antiallergic effects of I. verum extract (IVE) in a mouse model of atopic dermatitis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated the effects of IVE on compound 48/80-induced histamine release, and phorbol 12-myristate13-acetate and calcium ionophore A23187-stimulated cytokines secretion in MC/9 mast cells. Atopic dermatitis was induced in NC/Nga mice by exposure to extract of house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae). After a topical application of IVE on ear and skin lesions, we evaluated the severity of skin symptoms, ear thickness, inflammatory cell infiltration, and serum levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), histamine, interleukin (IL)-6, and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1. In addition, we determined the expression of IL-4, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interferon (IFN)-γ thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), ICAM-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 in ear tissues.

RESULTS: IVE inhibited secretion of histamine, IL-4, IL-6, and TNF-α from mast cells in a dose-dependent manner. Topical application of IVE significantly reduced dermatitis scores, ear thickness, and serum levels of IgE, histamine, IL-6, and ICAM-1. Histopathological analysis demonstrated decreased epidermal thickening and dermal infiltration by inflammatory cells. In the ear lesions, IVE treatment reduced expression of IL-4, IL-6, TNF-α, TARC, RANTES, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1, but not IFN-γ.

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that IVE inhibits atopic dermatitis-like skin lesions by suppressing the expression of cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules. These results suggest that IVE may be a potential therapeutic candidate for atopic dermatitis.

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