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Antiasthmatic effects of onions: inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase in vitro by thiosulfinates and "Cepaenes".

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians University, M√ľnchen, FRG.


Nine thiosulfinates (TS) and four "Cepaenes" (CS) isolated from onions and/or synthetized by us showed dose dependent (0.25 to 100 microM) marked inhibitory effects on both cyclooxygenase (CA, tested on sheep seminal vesicle microsomes) and 5-lipoxygenase activity (LO, tested on porcine leukocytes). The following rank order of activity was observed: saturated aliphatic TS less than aromatic TS approximately alpha, beta-unsaturated TS less than CS. CS inhibited both CA and LO by more than 75% at 10 and 1 microM concentrations respectively. Most likely, these in vitro effects are responsible for antiinflammatory and antiasthmatic properties of onion extracts observed in vivo, at least in part.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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