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. 2017 Dec;55(1):1619-1622.
doi: 10.1080/13880209.2017.1314513.

Anti-inflammatory Activity of Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllata) Essential Oil in Human Dermal Fibroblasts

Free PMC article

Anti-inflammatory Activity of Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllata) Essential Oil in Human Dermal Fibroblasts

Xuesheng Han et al. Pharm Biol. .
Free PMC article


Context: Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata Thunb. [Myrtaceae]) essential oil (CEO) has been shown to possess antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. However, few studies have focused on its topical use.

Objective: We investigated the biological activity of a commercially available CEO in a human skin disease model.

Materials and methods: We evaluated the effect of CEO on 17 protein biomarkers that play critical roles in inflammation and tissue remodelling in a validated human dermal fibroblast system, which was designed to model chronic inflammation and fibrosis. Four concentrations of CEO (0.011, 0.0037, 0.0012, and 0.00041%, v/v) were studied. The effect of 0.011% CEO on genome-wide gene expression was also evaluated.

Results and discussion: CEO at a concentration of 0.011% showed robust antiproliferative effects on human dermal fibroblasts. It significantly inhibited the increased production of several proinflammatory biomarkers such as vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), interferon γ-induced protein 10 (IP-10), interferon-inducible T-cell α chemoattractant (I-TAC), and monokine induced by γ interferon (MIG). CEO also significantly inhibited tissue remodelling protein molecules, namely, collagen-I, collagen-III, macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP-2). Furthermore, it significantly modulated global gene expression and altered signalling pathways critical for inflammation, tissue remodelling, and cancer signalling processes. CEO significantly inhibited VCAM-1 and collagen III at both protein and gene expression levels.

Conclusions: This study provides important evidence of CEO-induced anti-inflammatory and tissue remodelling activity in human dermal fibroblasts. This study also supports the anticancer properties of CEO and its major active component eugenol.

Keywords: Anti-inflammation; cancer signalling; collagen III; eugenol; immune response; interferon γ-induced protein 10; interferon-inducible T-cell α chemoattractant; monokine induced by γ interferon; skin health; vascular cell adhesion molecule-1.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Bioactivity profile of clove essential oil (CEO, 0.011% v/v) in human dermal fibroblast culture HDF3CGF. X-axis denotes protein-based biomarker readouts. Y-axis denotes the relative expression levels of biomarkers compared to vehicle control values, in log10 form. Vehicle control values are shaded in grey, denoting the 95% significance envelope. Error bars represent the standard deviations from triplicate measurements. A * indicates a biomarker designated with ‘key activity,’ i.e., biomarker values were significantly different (p < 0.05) from vehicle controls, outside of the significance envelope, with an effect size of at least 10% (more than 0.05 log ratio units). MCP-1, monocyte chemoattractant protein; VCAM-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1; ICAM-1, intracellular cell adhesion molecule 1; IP-10, interferon γ-induced protein 10; I-TAC, interferon-inducible T-cell α chemoattractant; IL-8, interleukin-8; MIG, monokine induced by γ interferon; EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor; M-CSF, macrophage colony-stimulating factor; MMP-1, matrix metalloproteinase 1; PAI-1, plasminogen activator inhibitor 1; TIMP, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Top 20 canonical pathways matching the bioactivity profile of clove essential oil (CEO, 0.011% v/v) in gene expression in the HDF3CGF system produced using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA, Qiagen, Each p-value was calculated using right-tailed Fisher's exact test. The p-value measures the likelihood that the observed association between a specific pathway and the dataset is due to random chance. The smaller p-value (the bigger - ln [p-value], indicated by the black bars) the pathway has, the more significantly it matches the bioactivity of CEO. A ratio, indicated by each grey bar, was calculated by taking the number of genes from the CEO dataset that participate in a canonical pathway, and dividing it by the total number of genes in that pathway. GADD45: growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible protein 45.

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Grant support

The study was funded by dōTERRA (Pleasant Grove, UT) and conducted at DiscoverX (Fremont, CA).