Effects of lactose-beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol on ovalbumin-induced lung inflammation in actively sensitized mice

Int Immunopharmacol. 2007 Dec 5;7(12):1517-27. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2007.07.026. Epub 2007 Aug 30.


Asthma is a disease marked by chronic lung inflammation and the number of patients suffering from asthma increases annually. Both beta-sitosterol (BS) and beta-sitosterol glucoside exist in a variety of plants and have anti-tumor, anti-microbial, and immunomodulatory activities. However, the precise role of BS and beta-sitosterol glucoside in asthma has not been well understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the inhibitory effects of BS and lactose-BS (L-BS) on the pathophysiological process in ovalbumin-induced asthmatic mice. The total cells and eosinophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid markedly decreased (p<0.05) after L-BS or BS administration (1 mg/kg; i.p.), and the ROS production also decreased in comparison to the asthma control. Histopathological features were detected by performing histochemistry, including H&E and alcian blue & P.A.S staining. Both L-BS and BS mitigated the inflammation by eosinophil infiltration and mucus hypersecretion by goblet hyperplasia. These effects of L-BS were superior to those of BS. L-BS and BS inhibited the increased mRNA and protein expression of IL-4 and IL-5 in the lung tissue and BAL fluid, respectively. The IgE concentration in the BAL fluid and serum was measured by performing ELISA and the ovalbumin-specific IgE in the BAL fluid was uniquely inhibited by L-BS (p<0.05). The splenocytes were isolated from the normal and asthmatic mice and incubated in the absence and presence of 100 microg/ml ovalbumin, respectively. L-BS blocked the survival rate of the splenocytes of the mice (p<0.01). This finding indicates the possibility of L-BS and BS as potential therapeutic molecules in asthma and may contribute to the need to improve current therapeutic drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Eosinophils / cytology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Glycosides / chemical synthesis
  • Glycosides / pharmacology*
  • Glycosides / therapeutic use
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Interleukin-13 / genetics
  • Interleukin-13 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-5 / genetics
  • Interleukin-5 / metabolism
  • Lactose / chemistry
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Structure
  • Ovalbumin / administration & dosage
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Pneumonia / chemically induced
  • Pneumonia / immunology
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sitosterols / chemistry
  • Sitosterols / pharmacology*
  • Sitosterols / therapeutic use
  • Vaccination


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Glycosides
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-5
  • Sitosterols
  • Interleukin-4
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • gamma-sitosterol
  • Ovalbumin
  • Lactose