Effect of carvacrol on various cytokines genes expression in splenocytes of asthmatic mice

Document Type: Original Article


1 Neurogenic Inflammation Research Center and Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Inflammation and Inflammatory Diseases Research Center, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Objective(s):With regard to pharmacological effects of carvacrol on the respiratory system, its effect on cytokines genes expression in splenocytes of asthmatic mice was examined in this study.
Materials and Methods:Splenocytes were isolated from non-sensitized (control group), sensitized mice to ovalbumin (OVA) (group S), and S animals treated with dexamethasone, and three concentrations of carvacrol. IL-4, IFN-γ, TGF-β, FOXP3, and IL-17 genes expression were carried out in cultured splenocytes using the real-time PCR method.
Results:Compared to the control group, IFN-γ and FOXP3 genes expression were significantly decreased (P<0.001 for both cases), but IL-4 and IL-17 genes expression were significantly increased in the S group (P<0.001 and P<0.05, respectively). IL-4 gene expression due to treatment of all concentrations of carvacrol, TGF-β gene expression due to its two higher concentrations, and IL-17 gene expression due to its high concentration were significantly decreased compared to group S (P<0.01 to P<0.001). IFN-γ gene expression was significantly increased due to last carvacrol concentration (300 µg/ml, P<0.01), and FOXP3 due to its two last concentrations (150 and 300 µg/ml, P<0.05 and P<0.001, respectively) in treated S splenocytes. Dexamethasone treatment of sensitized splenocytes only showed significant inhibitory effect on IL-4 and TGF-β genes expression (P<0.001 for both cases).
Conclusion: These results showed the immunomodulatory effect of carvacrol indicating increased IFN-γ and FOXP3 but decreased IL-4, TGF-β, and IL-17 genes expression, which was more selective than the effect of dexamethasone in sensitized mice splenocytes, which indicates its possible therapeutic value in allergy, autoimmunity, and infectious diseases.


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