Piperine, a Pungent Alkaloid from Black Pepper, Inhibits B Lymphocyte Activation and Effector Functions

Phytother Res. 2017 Mar;31(3):466-474. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5772. Epub 2017 Jan 19.


Piperine has several well-documented anti-inflammatory properties; however, little is known regarding its effect on humoral immunity. In this study, we describe the immunosuppressive effect of piperine on B lymphocytes, which are integral to the humoral immune response. Mouse B cells were cultured in the absence or presence of non-cytotoxic concentrations (25, 50, and 100 μM) of piperine during T-dependent or T-independent stimulation. Piperine inhibited B cell proliferation by causing G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest in association with reduced expression of cyclin D2 and D3. The inhibitory effect of piperine was not mediated through transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 ion channel (TRPV1) because piperine also inhibited the proliferation of B cells from TRPV1-deficient mice. Expression of class II major histocompatibility complex molecules and costimulatory CD40 and CD86 on B lymphocytes was reduced in the presence of piperine, as was B cell-mediated antigen presentation to syngeneic T cells. In addition, piperine inhibited B cell synthesis of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-10 cytokines, as well as IgM, IgG2b, and IgG3 immunoglobulins. The inhibitory effect of piperine on B lymphocyte activation and effector function warrants further investigation for possible application in the treatment of pathologies related to inappropriate humoral immune responses. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: B lymphocyte; DNA synthesis; antigen-presentation; cytokine; immunoglobulin; piperine.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / isolation & purification
  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / physiology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Benzodioxoles / isolation & purification
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • G1 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Piper nigrum / chemistry
  • Piperidines / isolation & purification
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / isolation & purification
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Interleukin-10
  • piperine