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Planta Med. 2008 Feb;74(2):105-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1034280. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

The effect of nigellone and thymoquinone on inhibiting trachea contraction and mucociliary clearance.

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Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicinal Chemistry, Münster, Germany.


NIGELLA SATIVA L. has many effects including those on the gastrointestinal tract and trachea and is, therefore, used in the Mediteranean area and in India/Pakistan. Our aim was to investigate the effect of two main constituents, nigellone and thymoquinone, on trachea (antispasmodic effect) and their influence on respiratory clearance. The effects on Ba (2+)-, carbachol- and leukotriene-induced trachea contractions and the transport of the fluorescence dye rhodamin B concerning ciliary action in the tracheal area were investigated using a microdialysis technique. Nigellone and high concentrations of thymoquinone had a concentration-dependent inhibitory effect on the trachea when being contracted by the depolarizing effect of Ba (2+). The trachea contractions induced by leukotriene-d (4) were inhibited by nigellone and by thymoquinone. The cholinergic system (stimulation by carbachol) was hardly involved. The rate of ciliary clearance (mucociliary transport) was slightly modified by a high thymoquinone concentration (153.0 vs. 505.0 sec/12 mm distance, respectively), and was highly increased by nigellone (217.5 vs. 505.0 sec/12 mm distance). In conclusion, this study provides evidence for an antispasmodic effect and an increase in mucociliary clearance for nigellone but not for thymoquinone. Altogether the data indicate that nigellone but not thymoquinone may be useful in treatment of different respiratory diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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