Boswellia carterii extract inhibits TH1 cytokines and promotes TH2 cytokines in vitro

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 May;12(5):575-80. doi: 10.1128/CDLI.12.5.575-580.2005.

Abstract

Traditional herbal formulas used to treat inflammatory arthritis in China and India include Boswellia carterii or Boswellia serrata. They both contain boswellic acids (BAs) which have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic properties. This study tests the hypothesis that mixtures of BAs derived from B. carterii have immunomodulatory properties. B. carterii plant resin obtained from China was prepared as an ethanol extract, and the presence of seven BAs was confirmed by column chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, and UV laser desorption/ionization tandem mass spectroscopy. The extract was then tested for its ability to alter in vitro production of TH1 cytokines (interleukin-2 [IL-2] and gamma interferon) and TH2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) by murine splenocytes. Delivery of the resin extract using ethanol as a solvent resulted in significant cellular toxicity not seen with the addition of ethanol alone. By contrast, delivery of the resin extract using a sesame oil solvent resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of TH1 cytokines coupled with a dose-dependent potentiation of TH2 cytokines. These results indicate that a purified mixture of BAs from B. carterii plant resin exhibits carrier-dependent immunomodulatory properties in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Boswellia / chemistry*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / drug effects*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / isolation & purification
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • Immunologic Factors / isolation & purification
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Triterpenes / isolation & purification

Substances

  • Cytokines
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triterpenes
  • boswellic acid