Alpha-Pinene Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Activity Through the Suppression of MAPKs and the NF-κB Pathway in Mouse Peritoneal Macrophages

Am J Chin Med. 2015;43(4):731-42. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X15500457. Epub 2015 Jun 28.


In this study, we found that alpha-pinene (α-pinene) exhibits anti-inflammatory activity through the suppression of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway in mouse peritoneal macrophages. α-Pinene is found in the oils of many coniferous trees and rosemary. We investigated the inhibitory effects of α-Pinene on inflammatory responses induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) using mouse peritoneal macrophages. α-Pinene significantly decreased the LPS-induced production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and nitric oxide (NO). α-Pinene also inhibited inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expressions in LPS-stimulated macrophages. Additionally, the activations of MAPKs and NF-κB were attenuated by means of α-pinene treatment. These results indicate that α-pinene has an anti-inflammatory effect and that it is a potential candidate as a new drug to treat various inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: Inflammation; Macrophage; Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase; Nuclear factor-kappa B; α-Pinene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents*
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Depression, Chemical
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / adverse effects
  • Lipopolysaccharides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology*
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Monoterpenes / therapeutic use
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Monoterpenes
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Ptgs2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • alpha-pinene