Immunomodulatory/anti-inflammatory effects of a propolis-containing mouthwash on human monocytes

Pathog Dis. 2016 Nov;74(8):ftw081. doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftw081. Epub 2016 Aug 26.


Propolis is a bee product used in folk medicine to improve health and prevent inflammatory diseases. It has attracted the attention of researchers from the odontological field lately, reducing inflammation resulting from surgical procedures and as an antimicrobial agent in the control of bacterial plaque. Thus far, no side-effects that might compromise oral health have been observed. Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial agent widely used as an antiseptic, but side-effects restrict its use. This work investigated the effects of an odontological product containing propolis in combination with chlorhexidine in lower concentrations on human monocytes. Cell marker expression, the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway, the production of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and the bactericidal activity of these cells against Streptococcus mutans were evaluated. Data showed that the combination of propolis and chlorhexidine may favor the recognition of antigens by monocytes, slightly activates the NF-κB signaling pathway, and increases the bactericidal activity of human monocytes against S. mutans Also, the combination played a role in anti-inflammatory cytokine production, which can be beneficial in the treatment of periodontal diseases. These results may have implications for the development of odontological products with immunomodulatory/anti-inflammatory action, and may have further-reaching implications for the pharmaceutical industry.

Keywords: chlorhexidine; cytokine; monocytes; odontological product; propolis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / physiology*
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology*
  • NF-kappa B
  • Phenotype
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Mouthwashes
  • NF-kappa B
  • Propolis