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Int Immunopharmacol. 2009 Jul;9(7-8):850-8. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2009.03.006. Epub 2009 Mar 19.

Synergistic immunomopharmacological effects of N-alkylamides in Echinacea purpurea herbal extracts.

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ETH Zurich, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, CH-8093 Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


Echinacea purpurea extracts are used in the production of standardized herbal medicines for the prevention and treatment of upper respiratory infections. Unsaturated N-alkylamide lipids, the main constituent of E. purpurea and E. angustifolia preparations capable of activating the cannabinoid receptor type-2 (CB2) have been suggested to play a role as potential anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory principles. Here we show that ethanolic E. purpurea radix and herba extracts produce synergistic pharmacological effects on the endocannabinoid system in vitro. Superadditive action of N-alkylamide combinations was seen at the level of intracellular calcium release as a function of CB2 receptor activation. Likewise, synergism of the radix and herba tinctures was observed in experiments measuring LPS-stimulated cytokine expression from human PBMCs. While the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was significantly superstimulated, the expression of the pro-inflammatory TNF-alpha protein was inhibited more strongly upon combination of the extracts. We show that N-alkylamides act in concert and exert pleiotropic effects modulating the endocannabinoid system by simultaneously targeting the CB2 receptor, endocannabinoid transport and degradation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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