Background: In the present study the effect of Nigella sativa (N. sativa) ethanolic extract on cytokine profile in control, moderate and overtrained heavy exercised rat was examined.
Methods: Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into control sedentary (C), moderate trained (MT), (V = 20 m/min, 30 min/day, 6 days a week, for 8 weeks), overtrained (OT) (V = 25 m/min, 60 min/day, 6 days a week, for 11 weeks), control sedentary + N. sativa (NC), moderate trained + N. sativa (NM) and overtrained + N. sativa (NO). Immediately and 24 h after the last bout of exercise blood samples were obtained. The serum concentrations of TNFα, IL-6, IL-10, IL-4 and IFNγ were measured by ELISA method.
Results: Immediately after exercise the following findings were observed; IL-6, IL-10 and TNFα concentration increased in OT and NC groups but Just IL-6 in MT groups compared with control (P< 0.05-P< 0.001). Serum level of IL-4 decreased in MT and NC (P< 0.05-P< 0.001) but IFNγ increased (P< 0.05) just in MT group vs control. In addition, circulatory levels of TNFα, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-4 were higher in OT and NM groups but the IFNγ concentration was lower in the OT group than the MT group (P< 0.05-P< 0.01). The IFN-γ/IL4 ratio was significantly increased in MT and NC (P< 0.05-P< 0.01) while it decreased in OT group. There were not statistical differences in TNFα, IL-6, and IFNγ levels between different time intervals after exercise in all groups.
Conclusions: Chronic administration of N. sativa may change pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines profiles. Also it may act as a balancing factor on Th1/Th2 lymphocytes in different exercise loads and act as an inhibitory factor on Th2 phenotype in control animals.