Lithospermi radix extract inhibits histamine release and production of inflammatory cytokine in mast cells

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Dec;71(12):2886-92. doi: 10.1271/bbb.70208. Epub 2007 Dec 7.


Lithospermi radix (LR, Borraginaceae, the root of Lithospermum erythrorhizon Siebold. et Zuccarinii) is used in herbal medicine to treat such conditions as eczema, skin burns and frostbite. This study investigates the effects of LR on the anti-allergy mechanism. LR inhibited the release of histamine from rat peritoneal mast cells by compound 48/80 in a dose-dependent manner. LR orally administered at 6.59 mg/100 g also inhibited the anti-DNP IgE-induced passive cutaneous anaphylaxis reaction. LR inhibited the PMA plus A23187-induced increase in IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-alpha expression in HMC-1 cells. In addition, LR also inhibited nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) activation and I kappaB-alpha degradation. These results show that LR had an inhibitory effect on the atopic allergic reaction. Furthermore, the in vivo and in vitro anti-allergic effect of LR suggests possible therapeutic applications of this agent for inflammatory allergic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Histamine / biosynthesis
  • Histamine Release / drug effects*
  • I-kappa B Proteins / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Lithospermum / chemistry*
  • Mast Cells / drug effects*
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine / pharmacology


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • I-kappa B Proteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Nfkbia protein, rat
  • Plant Extracts
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine
  • Histamine