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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2014 Apr;239(4):454-64. doi: 10.1177/1535370213520111. Epub 2014 Feb 7.

The β-sitosterol attenuates atopic dermatitis-like skin lesions through down-regulation of TSLP.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.


The compound β-sitosterol (BS) is one of the most common forms of phytosterols and has anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the effect of BS on atopic dermatitis (AD) has not been elucidated. Therefore, we investigated whether BS would be an effective treatment against AD. We treated BS on 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB)-induced AD-like skin lesions in NC/Nga mice, anti-CD3/anti-CD28-stimulated splenocytes, and phorbol myristate acetate/calcium ionophore A23187-stimulated human mast cell line (HMC-1) cells. Histological analysis, ELISA, PCR, caspase-1 assay, and Western blot analysis were performed. BS reduced the total clinical severity in DNFB-treated NC/Nga mice. Infiltration of inflammatory cells and number of scratching were clearly reduced in the BS-treated group compared with the DNFB-treated group. BS significantly reduced the levels of inflammation-related mRNA and protein in the AD skin lesions. BS significantly reduced the levels of histamine, IgE, and interleukin-4 in the serum of DNFB-treated NC/Nga mice. The activation of mast cell-derived caspase-1 was decreased by treatment with BS in the AD skin lesions. BS also significantly decreased the production of tumor necrosis factor-α from the stimulated splenocytes. In the stimulated human mast cell line, HMC-1 cells, increased intracellular calcium levels were decreased by treatment with BS. Further, BS inhibited the production and mRNA expression of TSLP through blocking of caspase-1 and nuclear factor-κB signal pathways in the stimulated HMC-1 cells. These results provide additional evidence that BS may be considered an effective therapeutic drug for the treatment of AD.


TSLP; atopic dermatitis; caspase-1; mast cell; β-Sitosterol

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