Trans-Cinnamaldehyde, An Essential Oil in Cinnamon Powder, Ameliorates Cerebral Ischemia-Induced Brain Injury via Inhibition of Neuroinflammation Through Attenuation of iNOS, COX-2 Expression and NFκ-B Signaling Pathway

Neuromolecular Med. 2016 Sep;18(3):322-33. doi: 10.1007/s12017-016-8395-9. Epub 2016 Apr 18.


Trans-cinnamaldehyde (TCA), an essential oil in cinnamon powder, may have beneficial effects as a treatment for stroke which is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Post-ischemic inflammation induces neuronal cell damage after stroke, and activation of microglia, in particular, has been thought as the main contributor of proinflammatory and neurotoxic factors. The purpose of this study was to investigate the neuroprotective effects of TCA in an animal model of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced brain injury and the neuroprotective mechanism was verified in LPS-induced inflammation of BV-2 microglial cells. Our results showed that TCA (10-30 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly reduced the infarction area, neurological deficit score and decreased iNOS and COX-2 protein expression level in I/R-induced injury brain tissue. It inhibited 0.5 µg/ml LPS-induced NO production in BV-2 microglial cells without affecting cell viability, reduced protein expression of iNOS and COX-2, and attenuated inhibition of p53 protein. TCA also suppressed the effects of LPS-induced nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 and p50 and increased cytosolic IκBα. It also reduced LPS-induced mRNA expression of iNOS, COX-2, and TNFα. We concluded that TCA has a potential neuroprotective effect to against the ischemic stroke, which may be via the inhibition of neuroinflammation through attenuating iNOS, COX-2 expression and NF-κB signaling pathway.

Keywords: BV-2 microglia; Cerebral ischemia; NF-κB signaling pathway; Neuroinflammation; Trans-cinnamaldehyde.

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / analogs & derivatives*
  • Acrolein / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / etiology*
  • Brain Injuries / prevention & control
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum / chemistry
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Microglia / drug effects
  • NF-kappa B / genetics*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / genetics*


  • NF-kappa B
  • Acrolein
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • cinnamic aldehyde