Planta Med 2008; 74: p. 65

Planta Med 2008; 74: p. 65

Chios mastic gum neutral extract and isolated tirucallol exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in human aortic endothelial cells


Loizou S1, Paraschos S2, Mitakou S2, Chrousos GP3, Lekakis I4, Moutsatsou P1

1 Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, University of Athens, Greece;

2 Department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Products Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Athens, Greece;

3 First Department of Pediatrics and Unit on Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, University of Athens, Greece;

4 Second Department of Cardiology, University General Hospital, -Attikon- Athens, Greece


Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia of the Anacardiaceae family is grown almost exclusively in the southern part of Chios island, a Greek island in the Aegean. Chios mastic gum (CMG) and essential oil are natural antimi-crobial and antioxidant agents that have found extensive uses in Medi-terranean and Middle Eastern countries,  both as a dietary supplement and as a herbal remedy since ancient years. The CMG’s cardioprotective effect, via its antioxidant capacity is known, however data on its anti-inflammatory effect on endothelium are scarce. The neutral fraction of CMG(CMGNF) consists of several triterpenic compounds, among which the phytosterol tirucallol. In this study, we examined the hypothesis that CMGNF and tirucallol exert anti-inflammatory effects and could inhibit the expression of adhesion molecules (VCAM-1 and ICAM-1) in Human Aortic Endothelial cells(HAECs). CMGNF(25-200 mg/ml) and tirucallol

(1-100mM) were incubated with HAECs for 18 h and then the cells were stimulated for 6 further hours with TNF-a (1 ng/ml). a-Tocopherol was used as positive control. After incubation the cells were fixed and finally the expression of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 was quantified using a micro-plate ELISA reader. CMGNF (100, 200 mg/ml) caused a significant de-crease in VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 expression (p<0.001,p<0.01), compared

to TNF-a-treated HAECs. Tirucallol (10, 100mM), also inhibited signi-fιcantly VCAM-1 & ICAM-1 expression (p<0.001,p<0.01). Concluding, CMGNF has a noticeable anti-inflammatory potential that can be attrib-uted, at least in part, to tirucallol. Our data extend existing data regard-ing the cardioprotective effect of CMG and provide a further molecular mechanism underlying the beneficial effect of CMG on endothelial func-tion.

This paper is part of the 03ED375 research project, implemented within the framework of the -Reinforcement Programme of Human Research Manpower-(PENED) and co-financed by National and Community Funds (25% from the Greek Ministry of Development-General Secretariat of Research and Technology and 75% from E.U.-European Social Fund).