Super Critical Fluid Extracted Fatty Acids from Withania somnifera Seeds Repair Psoriasis-Like Skin Lesions and Attenuate Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6) Release

Biomolecules. 2020 Jan 25;10(2):185. doi: 10.3390/biom10020185.


(1) Background: Withania somnifera Dunal (Ashwagandha) is a widely used medicinal herb in traditional medicinal systems with extensive research on various plant parts. Surprisingly, seeds of W. somnifera have never been investigated for their therapeutic potential. (2) Methods: W. somnifera seeds were extracted for fatty acids (WSSO) using super critical fluid extraction, and was analyzed by gas chromatography. Its therapeutic potential in psoriasis-like skin etiologies was investigated using a 12-O tetradecanoyl phorbol 13-acetate (TPA)-induced psoriatic mouse model. Psoriatic inflammation along with psoriatic lesions and histopathological scores were recorded. WSSO was also tested on murine macrophage (RAW264.7), human epidermoid (A431), and monocytic (THP-1) cells, stimulated with TPA or lipo poly-saccharide (LPS) to induce pro-inflammatory cytokine (IL-6 and TNF-α) release. NFκB promoter activity was also measured by luciferase reporter assay. (3) Results: Topical application of WSSO with concurrent oral doses significantly reduced inflammation-induced edema, and repaired psoriatic lesions and associated histopathological scores. Inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines release was observed in WSSO-treated A431 and THP-1 cells, along with reduced NFκB expression. WSSO also inhibited reactive nitrogen species (RNS) in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. (4) Conclusion: Here we show that the fatty acids from W. somnifera seeds have strong anti-inflammatory properties, along with remarkable therapeutic potential on psoriasis-like skin etiologies.

Keywords: GC-FID; IL-6; NFκB; SCFE; TNF-α; TPA-induced psoriasis; Withania somnifera seeds; cytokines; fatty acids; inflammation; reactive nitrogen species.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Psoriasis / chemically induced
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / genetics
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • RAW 264.7 Cells
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / toxicity
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics*
  • Withania / chemistry*


  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate