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Phytomedicine. 2007 Feb;14(2-3):123-8. Epub 2006 May 18.

The effect of extracts from ginger rhizome on inflammatory mediator production.

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 245044, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.


Compounds from rhizomes of Zingiber officinale, commonly called ginger, have been purported to have anti-inflammatory actions. We have used an in vitro test system to test the anti-inflammatory activity of compounds isolated from ginger rhizome. U937 cells were differentiated and exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Escherichia coli (1 microg/ml) in the presence or absence of organic extracts or standard compounds found in ginger (6-, 8-, 10-gingerol or 6-shogaol) for 24 h. Supernatants were collected and analyzed for the production of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) by standard ELISA assays. Predominant compounds in the organic extracts were identified as 6-, 8- 10-gingerols and 6-, 8-, 10-shogaols. Organic extracts or standards containing gingerols were not cytotoxic, while extracts or standards containing predominantly shogaols were cytotoxic at concentrations above 20 microg/ml. Crude organic extracts of ginger were capable of inhibiting LPS induced PGE(2) (IC(50)<0.1 microg/ml) production. However, extracts were not nearly as effective at inhibiting TNF-alpha (IC(50)>30 microg/ml). Thirty three fractions and subfractions, prepared by column chromatography, were analyzed for bioactivity. Extracts containing either predominantly gingerols or shogaols (identified by HPLC) were both highly active at inhibiting LPS-induced PGE(2) production (IC(50)<0.1 microg/ml), while extracts that contained unknown compounds were less effective (IC(50)<3.2 microg/ml). Extracts or standards containing predominantly gingerols were capable of inhibiting LPS-induced COX-2 expression while shogaol containing extracts had no effect on COX-2 expression. These data demonstrate that compounds found in ginger are capable of inhibiting PGE(2) production and that the compounds may act at several sites.

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