Since ancient times, natural products have been used as remedies to treat human diseases. Lupeol, a phytosterol and triterpene, is widely found in edible fruits, and vegetables. Extensive research over the last three decades has revealed several important pharmacological activities of lupeol. Various in vitro and preclinical animal studies suggest that lupeol has a potential to act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-protozoal, anti-proliferative, anti-invasive, anti-angiogenic and cholesterol lowering agent. Employing various in vitro and in vivo models, lupeol has also been tested for its therapeutic efficiency against conditions including wound healing, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and arthritis. Lupeol has been found to be pharmacologically effective in treating various diseases under preclinical settings (in animal models) irrespective of varying routes of administration viz; topical, oral, intra-peritoneal and intravenous. It is noteworthy that lupeol has been reported to selectively target diseased and unhealthy human cells, while sparing normal and healthy cells. Published studies provide evidence that lupeol modulates the expression or activity of several molecules such as cytokines IL-2, IL4, IL5, ILβ, proteases, α-glucosidase, cFLIP, Bcl-2 and NFκB. This minireview discusses in detail the preclinical studies conducted with lupeol and provides an insight into its mechanisms of action.
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