In the present study, Nigella sativa oil (NSO), nigellone (polythymoquinone) and derived thymoquinone were studied to evaluate their effect on the formation of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) products from polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL).NSO produced a concentration dependent inhibition of 5-LO products and 5-hydroxy-eicosa-tetra-enoic acid (5-HETE) production with half maximal effects (IC(50)) at 25+/-1 micro g/ml, respectively 24+/-1 micro g/ml. Nigellone caused a concentration-related inhibition of 5-HETE production (IC(50): 11.9+/-0.3 micro g/ml). Moreover thymoquinone, the active principle of NSO inhibited the production of 5-LO products (IC(50): 0.26+/-0.02 micro g/ml) and 5-HETE production (IC(50): 0.36+/-0.02 micro g/ml) in a similar way. The effects are probably due to an antioxidative action. The data may in part explain the effect of the oil, its derived thymoquinone and nigellone in ameliorating inflammatory diseases.