Foeniculum vulgare essential oil ameliorates acetic acid-induced colitis in rats through the inhibition of NF-kB pathway

Inflammopharmacology. 2018 Jun;26(3):851-859. doi: 10.1007/s10787-017-0409-1. Epub 2017 Oct 24.


Aim: The aim of the present study is to investigate the protective effects of Foeniculum vulgare essential oil on intestinal inflammation through the inhibition of NF-kB pathway in acetic acid-induced rat colitis.

Methods: Acute colitis was induced by intra-rectal administration of 2 mL of diluted acetic acid (4%) solution. Two hours after the induction of colitis, 0.2% tween 80 in normal saline, dexamethasone (2 mg/kg) and F. vulgare essential oil (100, 200, 400 mg/kg) were administered to the animals by oral gavage and continued for 5 consecutive days. Assessment of macroscopic and microscopic lesions was done. MPO activity was evaluated by biochemical method. Furthermore, TNF-α activity was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and the expression level of p-NF-kB p65 protein was measured by western blot analysis.

Results: Dexamethasone and F. vulgare essential oil (200, 400 mg/kg) reduced the macroscopic and microscopic lesions compared to the acetic acid group (p < 0.01, p < 0.001). In addition, these agents decreased the activity of MPO (p < 0.01, p < 0.001) and the expression of TNF-α positive cells (p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001) in the colon tissue compared to acetic acid group. Furthermore, they inhibited acetic acid-induced expression of p-NF-kB p65 protein (p < 0.05, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: It is proposed that the anti-inflammatory activity of F. vulgare essential oil on acetic acid-induced colitis in rats may involve the inhibition of NF-kB pathway.

Keywords: Acetic acid; F. vulgare essential oil; NF-kB; Ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / drug therapy*
  • Colitis / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Foeniculum*
  • Male
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Oils / isolation & purification
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • NF-kappa B
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Acetic Acid