Background: Borneol, a widely used food and cosmetics additive, has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and penetration enhancing effects. We try to use it as a penetration enhancer for a formula which we have used to treat oral submucous fibrosis (OSF). To assess its safety, we investigate its effects on primary mice oral fibroblasts.
Methods: Primary mice oral fibroblasts were cultured, the effects of borneol on fibroblasts proliferation, cytotoxicity, collagen production, matrix metalloproteinases-2,9 (MMP-2,9) activities and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1) production were tested by methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay, lactic dehydrogenase activity assay, chloramine T method, gelatin zymography and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively.
Results: Borneol, from 18.75 to 300 microg/ml, could significantly (P < 0.05) decrease the growth of fibroblasts and very significantly (P < 0.01) inhibit collagen production in a concentration dependant manner. From 18.75 to 150 microg/ml, borneol had no cytotoxicity on mice oral fibroblasts. Moreover borneol could significantly (P < 0.05) decrease MMP-2 activity, and very significantly (P < 0.01) inhibit TIMP-1 production.
Conclusions: This study indicates that borneol has anti-fibrosis activity and the mechanism may partly be relevant to its inhibiting effects on fibroblasts mitosis, collagen and TIMP-1 production. It can be safely used as a penetration enhancer for our formula to treat OSF.