Gandhi GR, Vasconcelos ABS, Haran GH, Calisto VKDS, Jothi G, Quintans JSS, Cuevas LE, Narain N, Júnior LJQ, Cipolotti R, Gurgel RQ
BACKGROUND: Asthma, the main inflammatory chronic condition affecting the respiratory system, is characterized by hyperresponsiveness and reversible airway obstruction, recruitment of inflammatory cells and excessive production of mucus. Cytokines as biochemical messengers of immune cells, play an important role in the regulation of allergic inflammatory and infectious airway processes. Essential oils of plant origin are complex mixtures of volatile and semi volatile organic compounds that determine the specific aroma of plants and are categorized by their biological activities.
PURPOSE: We reviewed whether essential oils and their bioactive compounds of plant origin could modulate cytokines’ immune responses and improve asthma therapy in experimental systems in vitro and in vivo.
METHODS: Electronic and manual search of articles in English available from inception up to November 2018 reporting the immunomodulatory activity of essential oils and their bioactive compounds for the management of asthma. We used PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus and Web of Science. Publications reporting preclinical experiments where cytokines were examined to evaluate the consequence of anti-asthmatic therapy were included.
RESULTS: 914 publications were identified and 13 were included in the systematic review. Four articles described the role of essential oils and their bioactive compounds on bronchial asthma using cell lines; nine in vivo studies evaluated the anti-inflammatory efficacy and immunomodulating effects of essential oil and their secondary metabolites on cytokines production and inflammatory responses. The most important immunopharmacological mechanisms reported were the regulation of cytokine production, inhibition of reactive oxygen species accumulation, inactivation of eosinophil migration and remodeling of the airways and lung tissue, modulation of FOXP3 gene expression, regulation of inflammatory cells in the airways and decreasing inflammatory mediator expression levels.
CONCLUSION: Plant derived essential oils and related active compounds have potential therapeutic activity for the treatment of asthma by modulating the release of pro-inflammatory (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-8), Th17 (IL-17), anti-inflammatory (IL-10), Th1 (IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12) and Th2 (IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-13) cytokines and the suppression of inflammatory cell accumulation.
Gandhi GR, Vasconcelos ABS, Haran GH, et al. Essential oils and its bioactive compounds modulating cytokines: A systematic review on anti-asthmatic and immunomodulatory properties. Phytomedicine. 2019;:152854.