Inhibitory effects of (-)-α-bisabolol on LPS-induced inflammatory response in RAW264.7 macrophages

Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Oct;49(10):2580-5. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.06.076. Epub 2011 Jul 13.


Although (-)-α-bisabolol, a natural monocyclic sesquiterpene alcohol, is often used as a cosmetic soothing supplement, little is known about its mechanisms of anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate anti-inflammatory effects of (-)-α-bisabolol and its mechanisms of action. In this study, we found that (-)-α-bisabolol inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) in RAW264.7 cells. In addition, expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) genes was reduced, as evidenced by Western blot and luciferase reporter assays for COX-2 and iNOS. To assess the mechanism of the anti-inflammatory property of (-)-α-bisabolol, its effects on the activity of AP-1 and NF-κB promoters were examined. LPS-induced activation of AP-1 and NF-κB promoters was significantly reduced by (-)-α-bisabolol. Consistently, (-)-α-bisabolol reduced LPS-induced phosphorylation of IκBα. In addition, while LPS-induced phosphorylation of ERK and p38 was attenuated by (-)-α-bisabolol, significant changes in the level of phosphorylated JNK were not observed. Our results indicate that (-)-α-bisabolol exerts anti-inflammatory effects by downregulating expression of iNOS and COX-2 genes through inhibition of NF-κB and AP-1 (ERK and p38) signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / enzymology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Monocyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Monocyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • NF-kappa B
  • Nitrites
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • bisabolol
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Dinoprostone