Protective effect of carvacrol on acetic acid-induced colitis

Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Dec;96:313-319. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.10.017. Epub 2017 Oct 7.


The pharmacological therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases continues to be problematic, and requires new alternative options. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that carvacrol (CAR), a phenolic monoterpene with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, can treat experimental colitis in mice. C57BL/6 mice (n=8/group) were subjected to intrarectal administration of acetic acid (5%) to induce colitis. Mice were pretreated with CAR (25, 50 or 100mg/kg, p.o.) every 12h for three days prior to the induction. Abdominal hyperalgesia, macroscopic and microscopic colon damage, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-1β levels, oxidative stress markers, and antioxidant enzyme activities were evaluated. Pretreatment with all doses of CAR significantly decreased abdominal hyperalgesia and colon MPO activity and TNF-α and IL-1β levels. A reduction in macroscopic and microscopic damage (p<0.05) was observed at doses of 50 and 100mg/kg CAR. Pretreatment with CAR significantly reduced lipid peroxidation (for all doses) and increased sulfhydryl groups (at 100mg/kg). This effect was accompanied by a significant increase in catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase activities. These findings indicate that CAR protected mice from acetic acid-induced colitis by reducing inflammatory, nociceptive, and oxidative damages.

Keywords: Carvacrol; Colitis; Inflammation; Nociception; Oxidative stress; Terpenes.

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Colitis / chemically induced*
  • Colitis / metabolism
  • Colitis / prevention & control*
  • Cymenes
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Monoterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Cymenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • carvacrol
  • Acetic Acid