In Vitro Anti-Inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Activities of an Extract from the Roots of Bupleurum rotundifolium

Medicines (Basel). 2019 Oct 11;6(4):101. doi: 10.3390/medicines6040101.


Background: Some Bupleurum species, such as the Bupleurum chinense DC. or the Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Willd have been extensively studied (especially their roots) for the treatment of inflammation. In contrast, only compounds extracted from the aerial parts of Bupleurum rotundifolium have been studied and showed anti-inflammatory or antiproliferative activities. This study was conducted to investigate the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects of Bupleurum rotundifolium roots.

Methods: To tackle the various aspects of inflammation, we studied in vitro a methanolic extract from the roots of Bupleurum rotundifolium on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs), and the monocytic cells THP-1. Its antioxidant capacities and iron-chelating activity were assessed. The extract was tested on THP-1 differentiation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by leukocytes, neutrophils chemotaxis, cytokines, PGE2 production, and NF-κB activation in PBMCs.

Results: The extract showed a decreased ROS production in stimulated cells. It increased PBMC chemokine secretion and up-regulated the differentiation of THP-1 monocytes into macrophage-like cells, indicating a potential interest of the extract in the resolution of acute inflammation. In addition, the analysis of cytokine production suggests that Bupleurum rotundifolium has immunomodulatory properties.

Conclusions: Cytokines secretion, especially IL-1β and IL-12p70, provided us with a set of indicators suggesting that the extract might be able to drive the polarization of macrophages and lymphocytes toward a Th2 anti-inflammatory profile in excessive inflammation.

Keywords: Bupleurum rotundifolium; PBMCs; antioxidant; cytokines; inflammation.