Anti-inflammatory effects of Mentha pulegium L. extract on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells are mediated by TLR-4 and NF-κB suppression

Heliyon. 2024 Jan 4;10(1):e24040. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e24040. eCollection 2024 Jan 15.


There is great interest in evaluating the anti-inflammatory properties of new herbal products. Thus, the effects of Mentha pulegium L. extract on gene and protein expressions of pro-inflammatory mediators and transcription factors were determined. The hydro-ethanolic extract of Mentha pulegium L. was obtained and optimal non-cytotoxic concentrations of the extract were determined by MTT assay. Then, three different concentrations of Mentha pulegium L. (10, 30, and 90 μg/mL) were used to pre-treat the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated and non-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of 10 healthy individuals. Finally, the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4), nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) p65, activator protein-1 (AP-1), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) gene expressions and TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, TLR-4, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and COX-2 protein levels were measured. MTT results showed that there is no significant difference in cell viability among 10, 20, 40, and 80 μg/mL concentrations of Mentha pulegium L. extract at 24, 48, and 72 h (P > 0.05). The IC50 values were 236.1, 147.0, and 118.0 μg/mL after 24, 48, and 72 h respectively. TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, TLR-4, iNOS, and NF-κB p65 mRNA levels in the pre-treated LPS-stimulated PBMCs were concentration-dependently reduced (P < 0.01 for TNF-α, TLR-4, and NF-κB p65; P < 0.05 for IL-1β, IL-6, and iNOS). Also, the protein levels of pro-inflammatory mediators decreased and these differences were significant for TNF-α, IL-1β, and TLR-4 (P < 0.001, P < 0.01, and P < 0.001, respectively). Mentha pulegium L. extract decreased the expression and biosynthesis of pro-inflammatory mediators. These effects are mainly mediated by TLR-4 and NF-κB suppression. Thus, Mentha pulegium L. could be useful in treating or ameliorating chronic inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: Anti-Inflammatory effects; Herbal medicine; Inflammation; Mentha pulegium.