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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Nov 7;14:437. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-437.

Effect of Nigella sativa on immune response in treadmill exercised rat.

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Neurogenic Inflammation Research Center and Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.



In the present study the effect of Nigella sativa (N. sativa) ethanolic extract on cytokine profile in control, moderate and overtrained heavy exercised rat was examined.


Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into control sedentary (C), moderate trained (MT), (V = 20 m/min, 30 min/day, 6 days a week, for 8 weeks), overtrained (OT) (V = 25 m/min, 60 min/day, 6 days a week, for 11 weeks), control sedentary + N. sativa (NC), moderate trained + N. sativa (NM) and overtrained + N. sativa (NO). Immediately and 24 h after the last bout of exercise blood samples were obtained. The serum concentrations of TNFα, IL-6, IL-10, IL-4 and IFNγ were measured by ELISA method.


Immediately after exercise the following findings were observed; IL-6, IL-10 and TNFα concentration increased in OT and NC groups but Just IL-6 in MT groups compared with control (P< 0.05-P< 0.001). Serum level of IL-4 decreased in MT and NC (P< 0.05-P< 0.001) but IFNγ increased (P< 0.05) just in MT group vs control. In addition, circulatory levels of TNFα, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-4 were higher in OT and NM groups but the IFNγ concentration was lower in the OT group than the MT group (P< 0.05-P< 0.01). The IFN-γ/IL4 ratio was significantly increased in MT and NC (P< 0.05-P< 0.01) while it decreased in OT group. There were not statistical differences in TNFα, IL-6, and IFNγ levels between different time intervals after exercise in all groups.


Chronic administration of N. sativa may change pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines profiles. Also it may act as a balancing factor on Th1/Th2 lymphocytes in different exercise loads and act as an inhibitory factor on Th2 phenotype in control animals.

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