Allergic asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease regulated by coordination of T-helper2 (Th2) type cytokines and inflammatory signal molecules. Silibinin is one of the main flavonoids produced by milk thistle, which is reported to inhibit the inflammatory response by suppressing the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway. Because NF-κB activation plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation, we have investigated the effect of silibinin on a mouse ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma model. Airway hyperresponsiveness, cytokines levels, and eosinophilic infiltration were analyzed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung tissue. Pretreatment of silibinin significantly inhibited airway inflammatory cell recruitment and peribronchiolar inflammation and reduced the production of various cytokines in bronchoalveolar fluid. In addition, silibinin prevented the development of airway hyperresponsiveness and attenuated the OVA challenge-induced NF-κB activation. These findings indicate that silibinin protects against OVA-induced airway inflammation, at least in part via downregulation of NF-κB activity. Our data support the utility of silibinin as a potential medicine for the treatment of asthma.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.