Hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein of olive oil inhibit mast cell degranulation induced by immune and non-immune pathways

Phytomedicine. 2014 Sep 25;21(11):1400-5. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.05.010. Epub 2014 Jul 6.


The aim of this study was to determine whether hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, the major phenols found in olives and olive oil, inhibit mast cell activation induced by immune and non-immune pathways. Purified peritoneal mast cells were preincubated in the presence of test compounds (hydroxytyrosol or oleuropein), before incubation with concanavalin A, compound 48/80 or calcium ionophore A23187. Dose-response and time-dependence studies were carried out. Comparative studies with sodium cromoglycate, a classical mast cell stabilizer, were also made. After incubation the supernatants and pellets were used to determine the β-hexosaminidase content by colorimetric reaction. The percentage of β-hexosaminidase release in each tube was calculated and taken as a measure of mast cell activation. Other samples of cell pellets were used for cell viability studies by the trypan blue dye exclusion test, or fixed for light and electron microscopy. Biochemical and morphological findings of the present study showed for the first time that hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein inhibit mast cell degranulation induced by both immune and non-immune pathways. These results suggest that olive phenols, particularly hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, may provide insights into the development of useful tools for the prevention and treatment of mast cell-mediated disorders.

Keywords: Degranulation; Hydroxytyrosol; Mast cell; Olea europaea; Oleuropein; β-Hexosaminidase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Degranulation / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / drug effects*
  • Olive Oil
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Rats, Wistar
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / metabolism


  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol
  • oleuropein
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol