Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of mastic administration on the clinical course and plasma inflammatory mediators of patients with active Crohn's disease (CD).
Methods: This pilot study was conducted in patients with established mild to moderately active CD, attending the outpatient clinics of the hospital, and in healthy controls. Ten patients and 8 controls were recruited for a 4-wk treatment with mastic caps (6 caps/d, 0.37 g/cap). All patients successfully completed the protocol. CD Activity Index (CDAI), Nutritional Risk Index (NRI), C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), and total antioxidant potential (TAP) were evaluated in the plasma at baseline and at the end of the treatment period. Results were expressed as mean values +/- SE and P < 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance.
Results: Patients exhibited significant reduction of CDAI (222.9 +/- 18.7 vs 136.3 +/- 12.3, P = 0.05) as compared to pretreament values. Plasma IL-6 was significantly decreased (21.2 +/- 9.3 pg/mL vs 7.2 +/- 2.8 pg/ mL, P = 0.027), and so did CRP (40.3 +/- 13.1 mg/mL vs 19.7 +/- 5.5, P = 0.028). TAP was significantly increased (0.15 +/- 0.09 vs 0.57 +/- 0.15 mmol/L uric acid, P = 0.036). No patient or control exhibited any kind of side effects.
Conclusion: The results suggest that mastic significantly decreased the activity index and the plasma levels of IL-6 and CRP in patients with mildly to moderately active CD. Further double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in a larger number of patients are required to clarify the role of this natural product in the treatment of patients with CD.