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J Surg Res. 2007 Apr;138(2):209-13. Epub 2007 Feb 8.

Effect of 6-gingerol on pro-inflammatory cytokine production and costimulatory molecule expression in murine peritoneal macrophages.

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Department of Surgery, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.



Pro-inflammatory cytokines produced primarily by macrophages are key elements in many surgical conditions including sepsis, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and transplant rejection. Herbal products are being used as alternative treatments in such inflammatory conditions. Ginger is known for its ethno-botanical applications as an anti-inflammatory agent. 6-gingerol is one of the active ingredients of ginger that imparts ginger with its anti-inflammatory properties. We hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory effect of 6-gingerol is because of inhibition of macrophage activation, more specifically by an inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines and antigen presentation by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activated macrophages.


To study the effect of 6-gingerol on pro-inflammatory cytokines, we measured the liberation of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-12 by murine peritoneal macrophages exposed to several doses of 6-gingerol in the presence of LPS stimulation. We also studied the effect of 6-gingerol on the cell surface expression of B7.1, B7.2, and MHC II. Finally, we examined the APC function of the 6-gingerol treated macrophages by a primary mixed lymphocyte reaction.


6-gingerol inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines from LPS stimulated macrophages but had no effect on the LPS-induced expression of B7.1, B7.2, and MHC II. The APC function of LPS stimulated macrophages was also unaffected by 6-gingerol treatment.


Our data indicate that 6-gingerol selectively inhibits production of pro-inflammatory cytokines from macrophages but does not affect either the APC function or cell surface expression of MHC II and costimulatory molecules. We, thus, provide a mechanistic insight into the anti-inflammatory properties of 6-gingerol that may be useful to treat inflammation without interfering with the antigen presenting function of macrophages.

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