Anti-inflammatory effects of limonene from yuzu (Citrus junos Tanaka) essential oil on eosinophils

J Food Sci. 2010 Apr;75(3):H87-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01541.x.


Yuzu (Citrus junos Tanaka) has been used as a traditional medicine in Japan. We investigated in vitro anti-inflammatory effects of limonene from yuzu peel on human eosinophilic leukemia HL-60 clone 15 cells. To examine anti-inflammatory effects of limonene on the cells, we measured the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), nuclear factor (NF) kappa B, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). We found that low concentration of limonene (7.34 mmol/L) inhibited the production of ROS for eotaxin-stimulated HL-60 clone 15 cells. 14.68 mmol/L concentration of limonene diminished MCP-1 production via NF-kappa B activation comparable to the addition of the proteasomal inhibitor MG132. In addition, it inhibited cell chemotaxis in a p38 MAPK dependent manner similar to the adding of SB203580. These results suggest that limonene may have potential anti-inflammatory efficacy for the treatment of bronchial asthma by inhibiting cytokines, ROS production, and inactivating eosinophil migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Cyclohexenes / pharmacology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eosinophils / drug effects*
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Eosinophils / metabolism
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Limonene
  • Medicine, East Asian Traditional
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Terpenes / pharmacology*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • CCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Cyclohexenes
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Terpenes
  • Limonene
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases