Influence of borneol on primary mice oral fibroblasts: a penetration enhancer may be used in oral submucous fibrosis

J Oral Pathol Med. 2009 Mar;38(3):276-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0714.2008.00738.x.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camphanes / toxicity*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Drug Carriers / toxicity*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology
  • Mouth Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Mouth Mucosa / enzymology
  • Oral Submucous Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Perfume / toxicity*
  • Permeability / drug effects
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1 / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Camphanes
  • Drug Carriers
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Perfume
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1
  • Collagen
  • isoborneol