Different studies described the antibacterial properties of Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.) essential oil and its anti-inflammatory effects. Besides, no data exist on its ability to activate human macrophages during the innate response against Staphylococcus aureus. The discovery of promising regulators of macrophage-mediated inflammatory response, without side effects, could be useful for the prevention of, or as therapeutic remedy for, various inflammation-mediated diseases. This study investigated, by transcriptional analysis, how a L. angustifolia essential oil treatment influences the macrophage response to Staphylococcus aureus infection. The results showed that the treatment increases the phagocytic rate and stimulates the containment of intracellular bacterial replication by macrophages. Our data showed that this stimulation is coupled with expression of genes involved in reactive oxygen species production (i.e., CYBB and NCF4). Moreover, the essential oil treatment balanced the inflammatory signaling induced by S. aureus by repressing the principal pro-inflammatory cytokines and their receptors and inducing the heme oxygenase-1 gene transcription. These data showed that the L. angustifolia essential oil can stimulate the human innate macrophage response to a bacterium which is responsible for one of the most important nosocomial infection and might suggest the potential development of this plant extract as an anti-inflammatory and immune regulatory coadjutant drug.
Keywords: Heme oxygenase-1; Lavandula angustifolia mill. essential oil; Staphylococcus aureus; inflammation; macrophage innate immunity; pro-inflammatory cytokines; tollip.