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Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Apr 15;52(8):1325-33. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.01.014. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

β-Caryophyllene ameliorates cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in a cannabinoid 2 receptor-dependent manner.

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Laboratory of Physiologic Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


(E)-β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a natural sesquiterpene found in many essential oils of spice (best known for contributing to the spiciness of black pepper) and food plants with recognized anti-inflammatory properties. Recently it was shown that BCP is a natural agonist of endogenous cannabinoid 2 (CB(2)) receptors, which are expressed in immune cells and mediate anti-inflammatory effects. In this study we aimed to test the effects of BCP in a clinically relevant murine model of nephropathy (induced by the widely used antineoplastic drug cisplatin) in which the tubular injury is largely dependent on inflammation and oxidative/nitrative stress. β-caryophyllene dose-dependently ameliorated cisplatin-induced kidney dysfunction, morphological damage, and renal inflammatory response (chemokines MCP-1 and MIP-2, cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β, adhesion molecule ICAM-1, and neutrophil and macrophage infiltration). It also markedly mitigated oxidative/nitrative stress (NOX-2 and NOX-4 expression, 4-HNE and 3-NT content) and cell death. The protective effects of BCP against biochemical and histological markers of nephropathy were absent in CB(2) knockout mice. Thus, BCP may be an excellent therapeutic agent to prevent cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity through a CB(2) receptor-dependent pathway. Given the excellent safety profile of BCP in humans it has tremendous therapeutic potential in a multitude of diseases associated with inflammation and oxidative stress.

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