Research Article: Anti-inflammatory properties of extracts from Chimonanthus nitens Oliv. leaf

Date Published: July 10, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Qi Sun, Jiajin Zhu, Feiwei Cao, Fengjia Chen, Horacio Bach.


Chimonanthus nitens Oliv. (CN) is a species in the family Calycanthaceae. Its leaf is widely used to make traditional herbal tea in southern China and has a wide range of therapeutic effects. The profile of the ethanol extracts from CN leaves was identified by UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS. Forty seven compounds were determined including organic acids, phenolic acids and derivatives, flavonoids, coumarins, fatty acids and other compounds. The effect of the CN extracts on the inflammatory damage in zebrafish and in RAW 264.7 cells was investigated. The extracts demonstrated a strong ability to inhibit the recruitment of neutrophils in LPS-stimulated zebrafish, but macrophage migration was not significantly affected. Pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e., TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β) were also determined by q-PCR. The extracts strongly reduced mRNA expression of TNF-α, IL-6 but not IL-1β in zebrafish model, while significantly inhibited the production of the factors in the RAW 264.7 cells. Therefore, our results suggest that the ethanol extracts of CN leaves may serve as a source of nutraceutical compounds with anti-inflammatory properties.

Partial Text

Inflammation is the response of the organism to tissue injury caused by chemicals, bacteria, trauma, or other harmful agents. Triggered by a range of stimuli including damaged cells, pathogens and cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), granulocytes (such as neutrophils) and monocytes, which can then differentiate into macrophages, are attracted to the damaged tissues through chemotaxis, amplify inflammatory reactions and initiate phagocytosis [1]. Inflammation is characterized by swelling and pain and also an important factor involved in the development of many human chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and even cancer [2–5]. Nowadays, many natural products, such as flavonoid glycosides, steroids, alkaloids and phenolic glycosides, show potential anti-inflammatory ability [6, 7]. For example, suffruticosol A, a phenolic compound from Paeonia lactiflora Pall. Seedcases, may mediate airway inflammation in mice [8]. Additionally, anthocyanin-rich black mulberry extracts significantly reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines in the serum of ear edema mice [9].

Inflammation has been shown to delay healing and lead to increased scar formation. Meanwhile, chronic inflammation also contributes to cancer and other human diseases [48, 49]. Therefore, human body requires suitable regulation of inflammatory responses. However, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that have been used to suppress inflammation may cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. Growing evidence suggests important roles of dietary factors in preserving health and also suggests that natural products can decrease inflammation. In this study, we characterized the profile of ethanol extracts from Chimonanthus nitens Oliv. leaf by UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS and HPLC-DAD and then investigated the protective effects of CN extracts in zebrafish and RAW 264.7 inflammation models.

The present study demonstrated the profiles of the ethanol extracts of Chimonanthus nitens Oliv. leaves and evaluated its anti-inflammatory properties. The presence of many compounds, including coumarins and flavonoids, was reported for the first time in the CN leaves. The total flavonoid contents of the CN leaves and four typical compounds in CN leaves were measured. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory effects of CN leaf extracts were demonstrated both ex vivo and in vivo experiments. The CN extracts showed high activities to inhibit the recruitment of neutrophils and the expressions of TNF-α and IL-6 in LPS-stimulated zebrafish and RAW 264.7 cells. The extracts also inhibit the expression of IL-1β in the cells. Given the complexity of the components in the extract, further work is needed to screen and understand the anti-inflammatory ability of individual components in the CN extracts.




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