Virgin Coconut Oil Supplementation Prevents Airway Hyperreactivity of Guinea Pigs with Chronic Allergic Lung Inflammation by Antioxidant Mechanism

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020 Jan 27;2020:5148503. doi: 10.1155/2020/5148503. eCollection 2020.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by immune cell infiltrates, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and declining lung function. Thus, the possible effects of virgin coconut oil on a chronic allergic lung inflammation model were evaluated. Morphology of lung and airway tissue exhibited peribronchial inflammatory infiltrate, epithelial hyperplasia, and smooth muscle thickening in guinea pigs submitted to ovalbumin sensitization, which were prevented by virgin coconut oil supplementation. Additionally, in animals with lung inflammation, trachea contracted in response to ovalbumin administration, showed a greater contractile response to carbachol (CCh) and histamine, and these responses were prevented by the virgin coconut oil supplementation. Apocynin, a NADPH oxidase inhibitor, did not reduce the potency of CCh, whereas tempol, a superoxide dismutase mimetic, reduced potency only in nonsensitized animals. Catalase reduced the CCh potency in nonsensitized animals and animals sensitized and treated with coconut oil, indicating the participation of superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide in the hypercontractility, which was prevented by virgin coconut oil. In the presence of L-NAME, a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, the CCh curve remained unchanged in nonsensitized animals but had increased efficacy and potency in sensitized animals, indicating an inhibition of endothelial NOS but ineffective in inhibiting inducible NOS. In animals sensitized and treated with coconut oil, the CCh curve was not altered, indicating a reduction in the release of NO by inducible NOS. These data were confirmed by peribronchiolar expression analysis of iNOS. The antioxidant capacity was reduced in the lungs of animals with chronic allergic lung inflammation, which was reversed by the coconut oil, and confirmed by analysis of peribronchiolar 8-iso-PGF2α content. Therefore, the virgin coconut oil supplementation reverses peribronchial inflammatory infiltrate, epithelial hyperplasia, smooth muscle thickening, and hypercontractility through oxidative stress and its interactions with the NO pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Coconut Oil / pharmacology
  • Coconut Oil / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / therapy*


  • Antioxidants
  • Coconut Oil