Supercritical fluid extraction of oregano (Origanum vulgare) essentials oils: anti-inflammatory properties based on cytokine response on THP-1 macrophages

Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Jun;48(6):1568-75. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2010.03.026. Epub 2010 Mar 21.


Two fractions (S1 and S2) of an oregano (Origanum vulgare) extract obtained by supercritical fluid extraction have been used to test anti-inflammatory effects on activated human THP-1 cells. The main compounds present in the supercritical extract fractions of oregano were trans-sabinene hydrate, thymol and carvacrol. Fractions toxicity was assessed using the mitochondrial-respiration-dependent 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium (MTT) reduction method for several concentrations during 24 and 48 h of incubation. Concentrations higher than 30 microg/mL of both supercritical S1 and S2 oregano fractions caused a reduction in cell viability in a dose-dependent manner. Oxidized-LDLs (oxLDLs) activated THP-1 macrophages were used as cellular model of atherogenesis and the release/secretion of cytokines (TNT-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6 and IL-10) and their respective mRNA expressions were quantified both in presence or absence of supercritical oregano extracts. The results showed a decrease in pro-inflammatory TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-6 cytokines synthesis, as well as an increase in the production of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. These results may suggest an anti-inflammatory effect of oregano extracts and their compounds in a cellular model of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, Supercritical Fluid*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Origanum / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Oils, Volatile