Frankincense and myrrh suppress inflammation via regulation of the metabolic profiling and the MAPK signaling pathway

Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 2;5:13668. doi: 10.1038/srep13668.


Frankincense and myrrh are highly effective in treatment of inflammatory diseases, but lacking of thetherapy mechanisms. We undertook this study to evaluate the effects on Adjuvant-induced Arthritis(AIA) rats and to explore the underlying mechanisms by analyzing the metabolic profiling and signalingpathway evaluated by expression of inflammatory cytokines, c-jun and c-fos and corresponding phosphorylationlevels. [corrected]. The results stated the elevated expression levels of TNFα, PGE2, IL-2, NO, and MDA in serum and swelling paw of AIA rats were significantly decreased after treatment, which exerted more remarkable inhibitive effects of combined therapy. The metbolic profiling of plasma and urine were clearly improved and twenty-one potential biomarkers were identified. Moreover, the inhibited effects of five bioactive components on cytokine transcription in PHA stimulated-PBMC showed the MAPK pathway might account for this phenomenon with considerable reduction in phosphorylated forms of all the three MAPK (ERK1/2, p38 and JNK) and down regulation of c-jun and c-fos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / blood
  • Arthritis, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Experimental / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Commiphora / chemistry*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Frankincense / chemistry
  • Frankincense / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / enzymology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System* / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Metabolomics*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun
  • Frankincense