Antitussive activity of Althaea officinalis L. polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan and its changes in guinea pigs with ovalbumine-induced airways inflammation

Bratisl Lek Listy. 2011;112(12):670-5.


Aim: The presented studies were aimed on experimental confirmation of Althaea officinalis polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan antitussive effect and its changes in conditions of allergic inflammation.

Methods: We have tested whether rhamnogalacturonan inhibits cough reflex and modulates airways reactivity of guinea pigs in vivo. The cough in guinea pigs was induced by 0.3 M citric acid (CA) aerosol for 3 min interval, in which total number of cough efforts (sudden enhancement of expiratory flow accompanied by cough movement and sound) was counted. Specific airway resistance and its changes induced by citric acid aerosol were considered as an indicator of the in vivo reactivity changes.

Results: 1) Althaea officinalis polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan dose- dependently inhibits cough reflex in unsensitized guinea pigs. Simultaneously, plant polysaccharide shortened the duration of antitussive effect when it was been tested in inflammatory conditions. 2) Rhamnogalacturonan did not influence airways reactivity in vivo conditions expressed as specific resistance values neither sensitized nor unsensitized groups of animals. 3) The antitussive activity of codeine (dose 10 b.w. orally) tested under the same condition was comparable to higher dose of rhamnogalacturonan in unsensitized animals. 4) The characteristic cellular pattern of allergic airways inflammation was confirmed by histopathological investigations.

Conclusion: Rhamnogalacturonan isolated from Althaea officinalis mucilage possesses very high cough suppressive effect in guinea pigs test system, which is shortened in conditions of experimentally induced airways allergic inflammation (Tab. 1, Fig. 4, Ref. 25). Full Text in free PDF

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance
  • Althaea*
  • Animals
  • Antitussive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / pathology
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology*
  • Cough / physiopathology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Inflammation
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Trachea / pathology*


  • Antitussive Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polysaccharides
  • Ovalbumin