Evaluation of anti-allergic properties of caffeic acid phenethyl ester in a murine model of systemic anaphylaxis

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008 Jan 1;226(1):22-9. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2007.08.003. Epub 2007 Aug 17.


Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is an active component of honeybee propolis extracts. It has several positive effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and immunomodulatory effects. In particular, the suppressive effect of NF-kappaB may disrupt a component of allergic induction. The principal objective of this experimental study was to evaluate the effects of CAPE on the active systemic anaphylaxis induced by ovalbumin (OVA) challenge in mice. Mice were intraperitoneally sensitized and intravenously challenged with OVA. Histopathological analysis, nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activation, and the plasma levels of histamine and total IgE after allergen challenge were evaluated. After challenges, all of the sham-treated mice developed anaphylactic symptoms, increased plasma levels of histamine and OVA-specific IgE, marked vascular leakage, NF-kappaB activation, platelet-activating factor (PAF) production, and histological changes including pulmonary edema and hemorrhage in the renal medullae within 20 min. By way of contrast, a reduction in the plasma levels of histamine and OVA-specific IgE and an inhibition of NF-kappaB activation and PAF release were observed in the CAPE-treated mice. In addition, a significant prevention of hemoconcentration and OVA-induced pathological changes were noted. These results indicate that CAPE demonstrates an anti-allergic effect, which may be the result of its protective effects against IgE-mediated allergy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / prevention & control*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Caffeic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Histamine Release / drug effects
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Caffeic Acids
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin
  • caffeic acid phenethyl ester
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol