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Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Apr;42(4):579-84.

1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), a monoterpene oxide attenuates the colonic damage in rats on acute TNBS-colitis.

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Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Dental and Nursery, Federal University of Ceará, CP 3157, 60430-270 Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil.


The monoterpene oxide, 1,8-cineole (cineole, eucalyptol) was examined for its possible influence on the acute phase of trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis in rats. The test compound, 1,8-cineole (200 and 400 mg/kg) or vehicle (1 ml, 2% Tween 80) was instilled rectally, 24, and 2 h before (pre-treatment) or 2 and 24 h after (post-treatment) the induction of colitis by intracolonic administration of TNBS (0.25 ml of 25 mg of TNBS in 50% ethanol). Rats were killed 48 h after colitis induction and colonic segments were analysed for gross damage scores, changes in wet weights, myeloperoxidase activity, an indicator of neutrophilic infiltration and glutathione level, a major cellular antioxidant. TNBS induced an extensive inflammation and ulceration in the colon. Colonic damage was associated with an increase in myeloperoxidase activity and by a decrease in glutathione. When compared to vehicle-treated TNBS controls, a marked reduction in gross damage scores and wet weights (mg/cm) of colonic segments were evident in animals pre-treated but not post-treated with 1,8-cineole. Cineole also significantly reduced the myeloperoxidase activity, and caused repletion of glutathione. These results confirm the anti-inflammatory action of 1,8-cineole and suggest its potential value as a dietary flavoring agent in the prevention of gastrointestinal inflammation and ulceration.

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