Identification of β-Sitosterol as in Vitro Anti-Inflammatory Constituent in Moringa oleifera

J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Oct 17;66(41):10748-10759. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b04555. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


β-Sitosterol is a well known phytosterol in plants, but owing to its poor solubility in typical media, determining its cellular mechanisms has been proven to be difficult. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory activity of β-sitosterol (BSS) isolated from Moringa oleifera in two cell lines. Over a dose range of 7.5 to 30 μM, BSS dispersed well in the medium as nanoparticles with diameters of 50 ± 5 nm and suppressed the secretion of inflammatory factors from keratinocytes and macrophages induced by PGN, TNF-α, or LPS, such as TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and ROS, separately. In addition, BSS significantly reduced the expression of NLRP3, a key component of NLRP3 inflammasomes, and inhibited the activation of caspase-1. There was partial inhibition of NF-κB in macrophages. This is the first study to report an increase in the solubility of nearly water-insoluble phytosterols via the formation of nanoparticles and to delineate the formulation's capacity to inhibit the signal transduction pathways of inflammation in macrophages.

Keywords: NLRP3; anti-inflammation; keratinocytes; macrophages; β-sitosterol.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Caspase 1 / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Drug Compounding
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Moringa oleifera / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Sitosterols / chemistry*
  • Sitosterols / isolation & purification
  • Sitosterols / therapeutic use
  • Solubility
  • Surface Properties


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Sitosterols
  • gamma-sitosterol
  • Caspase 1