Caffeic acid phenethyl ester attenuates allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in murine model of ovalbumin-induced asthma

Life Sci. 2008 Mar 26;82(13-14):797-805. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2008.01.014. Epub 2008 Feb 5.


Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is a biologically active ingredient of propolis, which has several interesting biological properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; however, its anti-allergic effects are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to determine whether treatment with CAPE results in significant inhibition of asthmatic reactions in a mouse model. Mice sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) had the following typical asthmatic reactions: an increase in the number of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid; a marked influx of inflammatory cells into the lung around blood vessels and airways, and airway luminal narrowing; the development of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR); the presence of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and Th2 cytokines, including IL-4 and IL-5, in the BAL fluid; and the presence of allergen-specific IgE in the serum. Five successive intraperitoneal administrations of CAPE before the last airway OVA challenge resulted in significant inhibition of characteristic asthmatic reactions. We determined that increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by inhalation of OVA was diminished via the administration of CAPE in BAL fluid, as well as nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) DNA binding activity. These findings indicate that oxidative stress may have a crucial function in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma, and that CAPE may be useful as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of bronchial asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma* / immunology
  • Asthma* / pathology
  • Asthma* / prevention & control
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Caffeic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Caffeic Acids / pharmacology
  • Caffeic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Count
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eosinophils / drug effects
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Eosinophils / metabolism
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Lung* / drug effects
  • Lung* / immunology
  • Lung* / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Peroxides / metabolism
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / administration & dosage
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / pathology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / prevention & control


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Caffeic Acids
  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Peroxides
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin
  • caffeic acid phenethyl ester
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol