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Microcirculation. 2010 Jul;17(5):321-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1549-8719.2010.00032.x.

Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) ameliorates murine spontaneous ileitis by decreasing lymphocyte recruitment to the inflamed intestine.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Defense Medical College, Tokorozawa City, Saitama, Japan.



Aberrant leukocyte migration has been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Lemon grass is a natural herb that contains citral, which suppresses lymphocyte expression of gut homing molecules by inhibiting retinoic acid formation. We therefore hypothesized that lemon grass intake could ameliorate excess migration of leukocytes to the inflamed intestine in chronic ileitis.


Migration of fluorescence-labeled T cells to microvessels in the ileal mucosa of SAMP1/Yit mice was monitored using intravital microscopy. In some mice, lemon grass solution was administered for two weeks. For evaluation of the effects on chronic ileitis, mice were treated with lemon grass for 26 weeks.


Surface expression of beta7 and CCR9 on T lymphocytes was stronger in SAMP1/Yit mice than in AKR/J mice. Lemon grass treatment attenuated the surface expression of beta7-integrin and CCR9. The number of adherent lymphocytes to microvessels in chronic inflamed ileum was significantly few when lymphocytes were isolated from lemon grass treated mice. Long-term lemon grass treatment improved ileitis in SAMP1/Yit mice, which was assessed by body weight, histological changes and the infiltration of beta7-positive cells.


Lemon grass ameliorated ileitis through decreasing lymphocyte migration by inhibiting beta7-expression, suggesting its therapeutic usefulness for IBD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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