Anethole, the major component of the essential oil of star anise, has been reported to have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anesthetic properties. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of anethole in a mouse model of acute lung injury induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS).MAIN METHODS:
BALB/C mice were intraperitoneally administered anethole (62.5, 125, 250, or 500 mg/kg) 1 h before intratracheal treatment with LPS (1.5 mg/kg) and sacrificed after 4 h. The anti-inflammatory effects of anethole were assessed by measuring total protein and cell levels and inflammatory mediator production and by histological evaluation and Western blot analysis.KEY FINDINGS:
LPS significantly increased total protein levels; numbers of total cells, including macrophages and neutrophils; and the production of inflammatory mediators such as matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and nitric oxide (NO) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Anethole (250 mg/kg) decreased total protein concentrations; numbers of inflammatory cells, including neutrophils and macrophages; and the inflammatory mediators MMP-9, TNF-α and NO. In addition, pretreatment with anethole decreased LPS-induced histopathological changes. The anti-inflammatory mechanism of anethole in LPS-induced acute lung injury was assessed by investigating the effects of anethole on NF-κB activation. Anethole suppressed the activation of NF-κB by blocking IκB-α degradation.SIGNIFICANCE:
These results, showing that anethole prevents LPS-induced acute lung inflammation in mice, suggest that anethole may be therapeutically effective in inflammatory conditions in humans.