Anti-inflammatory Effects of Extracts of Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) on a Co-culture of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264.7 Macrophages

J Oleo Sci. 2020 May 2;69(5):487-493. doi: 10.5650/jos.ess19321. Epub 2020 Apr 13.


Obesity, a lifestyle disease resulting from excessive caloric intake and insufficient physical activity, results in a state of chronic inflammation. A food ingredient that suppresses chronic inflammation could help prevent associated diseases. Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is a herb from the Lamiaceae family with some reported anti-inflammatory effects. Via this in vitro study, we aimed to investigate whether sweet basil exerts anti-inflammatory effects in obese patients. Fresh sweet basil leaves were freeze-dried and powered. After that, this was extracted with 80% methanol. After 3T3-L1 adipocytes were cultured with sweet basil extracts at final concentrations of either 5 or 25 μg/mL for 24h, RAW264.7 macrophages were seeded onto this adipocytes and co-cultured for 12h. We determined the effects of sweet basil extracts on inflammatory cytokine expression by real-time PCR or western blotting. Sweet basil extracts reduced the expression of inflammatory cytokine mRNA induced by co-culture, including that of IL-6 (Il6), IL-1β (Il1b), TNF-α (Tnf), and CCL2 (Ccl2). In addition, sweet basil extracts suppressed the mRNA expression of NF-κB (Nfκb1), a transcription factor of inflammatory cytokines. In an investigation of costimulatory CD137 (Tnfrsf9)/CD137L inflammatory signaling, a member of the TNF super-family, sweet basil extracts inhibited Tnfrsf9 expression induced by the co-culture. Therefore, the results of this study indicated that sweet basil extracts have an anti-inflammatory effect against adipocyte-induced inflammation, possibly through suppression of Tnfrsf9 expression.

Keywords: adipocytes; inflammation; macrophages; obesity; sweet basil.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents*
  • Coculture Techniques*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Ocimum / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • RAW 264.7 Cells
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9 / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9 / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tnfrsf9 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9